Staying dry and warm as river conditions improve

Zack Webster's KJCT First Alert Weather - 5/26
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 12:06 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Some scattered showers and thunderstorms continue over the eastern portions of the region this afternoon while we stay dry and warm in the valleys. There’s also some more continuing mostly promising news as far as river flooding goes.

Mountain Showers and Storms Return

Friday plays out very similar to Thursday around much of the Western Slope. The valleys continue to stay dry and warm while more scattered showers and a few thunderstorms pop up over the higher elevations of the eastern parts of the region this afternoon. Best rain chances will mostly be over the High Country, the Continental Divide, and the San Juan Mountains, but a couple of quick showers could pop up over the Uncompahgre Plateau and/or the Grand Mesa. Any rain comes to an end pretty quickly this evening, and we’ll see skies clear out again tonight.

Scattered Gusty Winds

We’ve already seen some gusty winds in several locations around the Western Slope, and scattered wind gusts of between 25 and 35 mph will be possible through the rest of the afternoon. Those winds will start to calm down as we head through the evening.

This Afternoon and Tonight

Clouds will continue to increase a bit more through the afternoon over the valleys, but that’s going to be about it. It will be a warm one this afternoon with highs reaching the middle and upper 80s. This could be the warmest day of the year so far for several of us for the second day in a row. Any higher elevation rain ends through the evening, then we’ll see skies clear out once again all across the region tonight and into early Saturday morning with lows in the upper 40s and lower to middle 50s.

JUCO World Series

Temperatures have trended a degree or two cooler, but overall the forecast for the start of the JUCO World Series at Suplizio Field tomorrow has remained unchanged. We’ll start the day off with plenty of sunshine and just a couple of clouds as the 4-seed Weatherford takes on 7-seed Delgado at 9 AM. Temperatures will start in the upper 60s, then quickly warm through the 70s as the game progresses. The noon game between 1-seed Central Florida and 10-seed Andrew will have a few more clouds overhead, but we’re staying dry with temperatures climbing through the middle and upper 70s. We’ll crack the lower 80s with partly cloudy skies for the 3 PM game between 2-seed Johnson County and 9-seed Shelton State. The night-cap starting at 7:30 PM between 3-seed Wabash Valley and 8-seed Salt Lake will start out with partly cloudy skies, but skies will be clearing out as the game progresses with temperatures falling from the lower 70s. We’ll continue to cool through the rest of the game, so a light jacket may not be a terrible idea if you’re not really a big fan of the cooler temperatures.

River Flood Alerts

Some more good news for the river flooding situation around the Western Slope... Many of our flood advisories that had been in effect until further notice for much of this week are now starting to get some expiry times placed on them. The Flood Advisory for the Gunnison River from Grand Junction to near Delta will expire tomorrow morning at 9 AM. The Flood Advisory for the Colorado River from beyond the Utah state line to Grand Junction will expire at noon on Sunday. The Flood Advisory for the north fork of the Gunnison River will expire shortly after at 6 PM. The Colorado River from near Cisco down to Moab will be one of the last ones to expire at 6 PM on Monday. The Flood Advisory for Surface Creek to the confluence with the Gunnison River still continues until further notice. Additional flood advisories and flood warnings continue along the Yampa River well to our north.

A Flood Watch has been issued for Plateau Creek until further notice.

River Updates

The Colorado River near the Colorado-Utah state line was at 12.13 feet on Friday morning. Small ups and downs in the water levels will keep the river just shy of or right at its 12.5-foot action stage where minor flooding starts to occur. At this point, no further flooding is expected through at least next Friday.

The Gunnison River near Grand Junction - just south of town - was measured late Friday morning at 9.77 feet - just below its 10-foot action stage where minor flooding starts to occur. The water level is slowly subsiding. Even with some daily ups and downs in the water level, the river is expected to subside below action stage on Friday night and continue easing through at least next Thursday.

The Plateau Creek near Cameo was up to 7.09 feet on Friday morning. Water levels are slowly rising amid daily ups and downs of the water level. It is expected to oscillate above and below its 7-foot action stage through the weekend. It is forecast to reach a crest near 8.6 feet on late Wednesday or early Thursday of next week. Flooding could continue beyond this time frame, too.

  • 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.

Through river levels are falling across much of the region, these rivers will still be high, fast, and dangerous through the Memorial Day weekend. Recreation in or along these rivers should probably be avoided through the weekend and into much of next week as well.