Flood warning in effect; I-70 lanes closed west of Fruita
The Colorado River near Cameo in De Beque Canyon is under a flood warning until Friday afternoon, as a spate of hot weather pushes snowmelt into an already swollen river.
The forecast calls for rising water today possibly reaching moderate flood stage by Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. A flood warning means flooding is imminent or occurring.
Officials say the river at Cameo was at 12.2 feet Sunday evening, which is a few inches above flood stage. At 14.5 feet, major flooding is occurring, according to the Weather Service.
The Colorado Department of Transporation this weekend closed the right lane of westbound Interstate 70 near mile marker 17 west of Fruita due to high water under the bridge. Crews expect to close the right eastbound lane this afternoon. The closures will remain in place 24 hours a day until the water recedes.
CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said crews are monitoring the area full-time and have a backhoe ready to remove any debris that should impact the bridge girder on the westbound side. Should water levels rise further, there is a possibility CDOT will close both westbound lanes.
People in low-lying, flood-prone areas should evacuate and move to higher ground. County law-enforcement and emergency-management officials have repeatedly advised property owners with livestock to relocate their animals and warned all but the most experienced water users to stay off local rivers.
By noon, the temperature at Grand Junction Regional Airport had already reached 87 degrees. Today’s high in Grand Junction is expected to top out at 94.
Check back with GJSentinel.com for updates throughout the day today and read the full story in Tuesday’s Daily Sentinel.