Monsoon back for an encore

South Seventh Street is closed at its intersection with the Riverside Parkway on Monday afternoon after a hard rain fell and swamped the area. This view is looking north from South Seventh Street.

The intersection of South Seventh Street and the Riverside Parkway was closed for a time on Monday after a hard rain dumped more water on the streets than the storm drains could handle.

During heavy rain, runoff water surges to within a few feet of Kayla Strawn’s rented home on the corner of Noland Avenue and Seventh Street in Grand Junction.

Before city crews posted road closure signs in lower downtown after a downpour Monday morning, vehicles cruising through what looked like a small lake sent waves of water through her front door.

“It’s insane,” she said. “Something needs to be done. I was talking to my mom, saying we need renter’s insurance. You never know what Mother Nature is going to do.”

Persistent rainfall Monday that topped a daily local precipitation record also helped place Grand Junction’s year-to-date rainfall in the normal category.

By evening, Monday’s rainfall of 0.81 inches had pushed the year-to-date rainfall amount to 6.85 inches. Average year-to-date rainfall for Sept. 9 is 6.15 inches.

“It’s hard to say how much more will fall,” said Travis Booth, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. “It’s just going to be periods of storms, through the end of the week with the heaviest (Monday) through Wednesday.”

Recent rains may also tamp residents’ complaints of summer’s lingering heat that saw temperatures soar into the 90s through the first week of September. Temperatures are expected to cool through the week, with highs in the low 80s by the week’s end.

Grand Junction street crews were scattered around the city Monday checking on areas prone to flooding like Leach Creek on 24 1/2 Road and Foresight Circle. The area on Seventh Street near Riverside Parkway continues to be the city’s greatest concern for flooding, according to Darren Starr, street systems and solid waste manager.

Coincidentally, just before rain showers Monday, crews were working to clean cattails and debris from the storm drain, Starr said.

The 36-inch pipe should be adequate to move water out of the area, but the system was built before Riverside Parkway was constructed.

The construction of that roadway, with its additional amount of nonporous surface, probably contributes to the large amount of runoff in the area, he said.

“We’re trying to determine if there’s a place to add an additional pipe,” Starr said.

The return of monsoonal weather created a flood advisory for the Grand Valley through Monday night and a flash flood watch for much of eastern Utah and western Colorado until Wednesday. Areas such as Canyonlands National Park and Craig received nearly an inch of rain Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

Another wave of moisture slated to arrive today and Wednesday is the remnants of Tropical Storm Lorena, the Weather Service reported.


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