Mountain rain and river flooding continue

Zack Webster's KJCT First Alert Weather - 5/23
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 11:49 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - No real changes to the overall pattern around the Western Slope. Mountain showers and thunderstorms are possible for the next couple of days, and we’re starting to see some small improvements on the horizon for our river flooding concerns.

Midweek Mountain Rain Continues

The new work week started off like the past couple of weeks before it with scattered showers and thunderstorms developing mostly over the mountains of the region through the afternoon. We’ll continue to see those scattered mountain showers and storms each afternoon through Wednesday. A couple of very quick showers could just barely survive the journey into the valleys, but the chances of that happening are fairly low with how much dry air is lingering in the valleys. If we’re going to see any valley rain, it would likely be in the late afternoon and early evening as temperatures start to drop.

Clearing Out and Warming Up

Once the rain moves out of the region late in the day on Wednesday, much drier air will start settling in all across the Western Slope, even over the mountains. Mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies start taking over through the rest of the week and even into the weekend as temperatures start jumping up to around 5 to 8 degrees above average--particularly around Friday.

River Flooding Updates

The Colorado River near the Colorado-Utah state line was at 12.23 feet late Tuesday morning. It is expected to rise above its 12.5-foot action stage where minor flooding begins by this afternoon. It will gradually rise toward a crest near 13.3 feet on Saturday night or early Sunday morning. River levels should start gradually falling by early next week.

  • 6 feet: Some lowland and meadow flooding is possible near Fruita
  • 10 feet: Water will approach sections of I-70 near Fruita
  • 12 feet: Considerable agricultural flooding is likely between the Redlands and Fruita
  • 14 feet: Flooding is likely in the Redlands

The Gunnison River near Grand Junction - just south of town - was measured Monday afternoon at 10.33 feet - above its 10-foot action stage where minor flooding starts to occur. It is forecast to reach a crest at around 10.83 feet late Friday night. Water levels will slowly subside afterward, and the river will be below action stage by early Monday morning.

  • 7 feet: Water inundates sections of the river walk near Redlands Dam
  • 8.6 feet: Water reaches the top of the left bank of the west side of the Hwy 141 Bridge, and water begins to fill the gravel quarry upstream from the bridge.
  • 9 feet: Lowland flooding near the Redlands Dam is likely, including some low-lying agricultural land.
  • 10 feet: Considerable agricultural flooding is likely between Whitewater and Orchard Mesa and water flows into the quarry downstream of the Hwy 141 Bridge
  • 11 feet: Water nears the bottom of the Hwy 141 Bridge and it reaches the base of the bridge near Redlands Dam.
  • 13 feet: Residential flooding begins near Redlands Dam

The Plateau Creek near Cameo was at 6.39 feet late Tuesday morning. It is expected to rise above its 7.0-foot action stage early Saturday morning. It may briefly fall at times, but the overall trend is for rising water levels - above flood stage by early Tuesday morning, and then crest at around 8.27 feet late Tuesday morning. That would now keep it below the record high water level of 8.73 feet, which happened in 1995.

  • 7.5 feet: Some lowland flooding can be expected along Highway 65 just east of I-70.
  • 8.0 feet: Water approaches homes in the low-lying areas adjacent to Plateau Creek.

JUCO World Series Early-Look

The bracket is now set for the JUCO World Series that begins on Saturday. Now that we have the matchups, we can take a little bit of a closer look at the forecast for each of the opening-day games. Expect sunny skies with a few passing clouds for the first game at 9 AM between Weatherford and Delgado with temperatures in the upper 60s to lower 70s. We’ll warm into the lower 80s by the time Central Florida and Andrew gets going at around noon. Mostly sunny skies continue into the afternoon for Johnson County and Shelton State at 3 PM with temperatures in the lower to middle 80s, then we’ll start gradually cooling with mostly clear skies as the final game of the night gets started at around 7:30 PM between Wabash Valley and Salt Lake. Bring your hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with you to Suplizio Field. You’ll need all three of them!

Next 24 Hours

Same old, same old stuff, folks. Mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies in the valleys with scattered showers and thunderstorms in the mountains with temperatures in the upper 70s and lower 80s in Grand Junction, Delta, Montrose, and Cortez. Rain ends, but some clouds continue overnight tonight with lows in the upper 40s to the south and lower to middle 50s farther north. Expect another round of mountain showers and storms by Wednesday afternoon, but we’ll once again stay mostly dry with mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies with highs in the upper 70s to lower 80s.