Turning warmer and drier

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 6:18 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - The remainder of this week will turn warmer and drier, and the smoke will gradually, diminish.

Smoke Starts Easing

Smoke is still an issue for us. Luckily, it’s mostly well above the ground and in limited concentrations. You’ll notice the hazy sky at times throughout Thursday before it starts thinning out Friday morning. There can be occasions across the Western Slope where smoke settles down closer to the ground on Thursday afternoon. It’s just enough that if you have respiratory issues, you’ll want to limit your time outside between about noon and 6 PM. The smoke will clear, and the air quality will improve overnight Thursday and on Friday.

Our Next 24 Hours

This evening will be partly cloudy to mostly clear. A couple of showers or thunderstorms are possible. Most of the rain will stay over the mountains, and it will be more isolated in the valleys. We’ll cool from mid-to-upper 70s around 6 PM to middle 60s by 10 PM. The rest of tonight will be mostly clear. Low temperatures by morning will be near 56 degrees around Grand Junction, 48 degrees around Montrose, 53 degrees around Delta, and 45 degrees around Cortez. Thursday will be mostly sunny to partly cloudy and warm. High temperatures will be near 88 degrees around Grand Junction, 82 degrees around Montrose, 86 degrees around Delta, and 82 degrees around Cortez.

Looking Ahead

We’ll generally stay warm and dry through at least next Wednesday. High temperatures will range from upper 70s to middle 80s. Morning low temperatures will range from upper 40s to middle 50s.

Flood Alerts

A Flood Advisory is in effect for the Gunnison River from western Delta County to Grand Junction and for the Colorado River from Grand Junction to Moab. A Flood Warning is in effect for the Dolores River from the Colorado River in Utah to near Bedrock, Colorado.

Tracking River Levels & Impact

The Colorado River near the Colorado-Utah state line was at 12.03 feet on Wednesday afternoon. Small ups and downs in the water levels will keep the river near or just above its 12.5-foot action stage. It will be as high as 12.71 feet on on Friday and Saturday, but water levels subside afterward.

  • 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 Wednesday afternoon at 10.36 feet - above its 10-foot action stage where minor flooding starts to occur. The river is slowly subsiding, but daily ups and downs can be as high as about 10.46 feet until the water levels drops below action stage on Sunday.

  • 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 6.20 feet on Wednesday afternoon. Water levels are slowly rising amid daily ups and downs of the water level. It is expected to rise above its 7.0-foot action stage on Friday night. The highest level in the forecast is 8.3 feet on Tuesday night. That crest is a later than previous forecasts had indicated.

  • 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.

Other rivers, including the Dolores River near Bedrock and the Gunnison River at Delta, are running high and fast, but for now they are expected to remain below their action stages and their flood stages. Remember that even rivers that aren’t flooding are dangerous due to their high water levels and fast-flowing water.