Colorado River fills to flood stage
Areas of the Grand Valley near the Colorado River could reach flood stage as early as this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
Highs in the 90s over the weekend sped snowmelt and swelled the river to 12.9 feet in depth Sunday afternoon in parts of Mesa County. The Colorado River is considered full at 12 feet, and can reach flood stage at 12.5 to 15 feet in Mesa County, depending on the spot in the river.
As of Sunday afternoon, Aldis Strautins, a service hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, had only heard reports of minor flooding in local agricultural areas. The possibility of a peak temperature of 92 today and potential thunderstorms at higher elevations, though, may mean floodwaters could creep near or in homes by the river later today, he said.
The risk of flooding will continue for a few days as snowmelt gradually continues to reach the river, Strautins said, but temperatures dipping slightly into the 80s will help ease that risk over time.
“It won’t stop the melt, but it will slow things some,” Strautins said.
Mesa County has been under a flood advisory for days as cool temperatures increased to 10 or 15 degrees above normal for this time of year. In its advisories, the National Weather Service asked residents to avoid walking near waterways and to never drive through a flooded area.
With the Colorado River preparing to pour over its banks, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department has asked all but the most seasoned water recreation enthusiasts to stay out of the water.
The department has warned that cool water temperatures, debris floating in the river and speedy currents pose a danger.