Rain returns at the weekend’s end

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 6:01 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - The week ended beautifully with sunshine, but our Friday was unseasonably cool. Expect slow warming this weekend, but we’ll stay cooler than normal through the next week and likely beyond.

El Niño Likely Returns With La Niña Over

We’ve heard by now that La Niña is weakening, and that the return of El Niño is likely by this summer or fall. La Niña happens when the waters along the equator of the eastern Pacific Ocean are colder than normal. El Niño is the opposite - the equatorial eastern Pacific water is warmer than normal. The ocean abnormalities can influence the atmosphere and change global weather patterns across the country.

What Will El Niño Mean For Us?

The biggest influence from El Niño and La Niña - collectively known as the Southern Oscillation - is in the winters. Summer influence is less certain, but most summers during El Niño periods dry early for us on the Western Slope. Late summer and early fall often comes with an enhanced monsoon season that can bring above-normal rainfall to us.

Our Next 24 Hours

This evening will be clear and chilly. Sunset is at 7:23 PM. We’ll cool from lower 40s around 6 PM to near freezing by 10 PM. The rest of tonight will be mostly clear. Low temperatures by morning will be near 23 degrees around Grand Junction, 20 degrees around Montrose, 21 degrees around Delta, and 17 degrees around Cortez. Saturday will be sunny to start. There will be some sunny periods, but there will be some occasional clouds, too. High temperatures will be near 48 degrees around Grand Junction, 44 degrees around Montrose, 47 degrees around Delta, and 46 degrees around Cortez.

The Rest of the Weekend

The second half of the weekend will be partly cloudy to start. Clouds will begin increasing in the afternoon. Highs will be in the upper 40s to lower 50s. The day will stay dry, but rain and mountain snow will become possible overnight. That sets us up for an on-and-off rainy week next week.

This Weekend in the Mountains

Snow over the mountains this weekend will be limited to the southern San Juans from Wolf Creek to Purgatory. Even these areas aren’t likely to get a lot of snow, and the snow is even more scarce on Sunday. Highs will range from upper 20s and lower 30s on Saturday to low-to-mid 30s on Sunday with otherwise partly to mostly sunny skies across the High Country this weekend.

Rain & Snow Return Sunday Night

Rain and snow increasing Sunday night is a shift in the timing of our next weather maker. This first round of rain and mountain snow will last from late Sunday night through Monday afternoon. We’ll get a break late Monday and Monday night before our next wave of rain and mountain snow arrives on Tuesday. Still another wave of rain and snow will arrive on Wednesday. Some light rain may linger through next Thursday before we finally get a dry day next Friday. Next week is setting up to be an active weather week as the moisture flow cranks up again from the Pacific Ocean.