Gusts reach 62 mph in Grand Junction, stir up dust, allergies

A powerline at Eastern Reservoir Service, 2495 Industrial Blvd., blew down Monday afternoon as ferocious wind gusts ripped through the Grand Valley. The only power outage that resulted was at Eastern Reservoir, for about four hours.

The wind that stirred symptoms for allergy sufferers Monday is leaving today on the tail of a cold front.

Wind speeds aren’t likely to get above 25 mph today, but the National Weather Service recorded winds whipping through the Grand Valley at 62 mph at 2 p.m. Monday.

The wind picked up dust from deserts west of Mesa County and local vacant lots, causing the Mesa County Health Department to issue an air quality advisory Monday afternoon. High levels of dust in the air can be harmful to the very young, the very old, people with heart disease and patients with asthma, emphysema and other respiratory conditions, according to Mesa County Air Quality Specialist Ed Brotsky.

Snow and rain possible today may help tone down dust and pollen conditions, Brotsky said.

“Rain scrubs everything out of the atmosphere. Raindrops attach to pollen and dust and bring them down,” he said.

Don’t expect full relief from allergies, though. Tree pollen levels will likely stay high for at least another couple weeks, Brotsky said. Grass pollen season won’t begin for another month at least, he added.

Monday’s wind gusts weren’t just bad for health. The wind also pulled down a transformer pole, limited drivers’ visibility and closed the Mesa County Landfill, consequently delaying trash pick-up in Grand Junction. The combination of blustery conditions and low humidity Monday afternoon prompted the National Weather Service to issue a red flag warning, meaning fires were easy to start and hard to control.

June and early July are the peak months for red flag warnings, according to NWS Meteorologist Paul Frisbie. But the occasional warning in springtime is not uncommon.

“Spring tends to be very windy and there will be other times when red flag warnings will be issued,” Frisbie said.


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