Officials Say More Flooding Likely Next Week

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According to the National Weather Service, water levels in the Colorado River peaked at about eleven and a half feet Friday morning. Officials say that water levels are now going down, but not necessarily for good.

Meteorologists with the NWS say cooler temperatures Wednesday and Thursday have helped slow down the melting of the snow atop the Grand Mesa, which has helped bring river levels back down. The latest reports show the levels in Colorado River sitting just below 11 feet. But with warm temperatures in the forecast next week, officials say it might not be a good idea to pack up the sand bags just yet.

After being concerned with flooding for much of the week, county officials say they're happy to report the worst seems to be over.

"Early this morning, it appears that our river flow has peaked as expected and they're either starting to plateau or starting to decrease in some areas," said Chadd Searcy, Emergency Management Director for Mesa County.

That is, at least for now.

"Even though we are decreasing right now, we are expecting that they will come back up," said Searcy. "We don't know exactly how high they will get again, but we are expecting some additional peaks in the next two to four weeks."

Searcy says that uncertainty is exactly why he and other emergency management workers aren't planning on hanging up their hats anytime soon.

"We will monitor some of the same areas we have been monitoring," said Searcy.

Officials say those areas include the stretch of Interstate 70 between Grand Junction and Loma. It was an area that had to be shut down Thursday night as water rose dangerously close to roads and bridges.

As water levels remain higher than normal, and it becomes more likely that the Vega Reservoir will spill this week, officials say they continue to become particularly concerned about residents in Collbran and other parts of the Plateau Valley.

"We're trying to do some preventative measures so that we won't have to evacuate any of the residents there," said Searcy. "But that's always something we'll be concerned with."

Officials say should the worst happen, they're more than prepared. But they hope any flooding we see in the near future will be nothing more than what we saw this week.

"We haven't had any damage reports," said Searcy.

One lane in each direction of I-70, between Grand Junction and Loma, has been shut down to allow crews to monitor water levels and clean up debris in the area. The closures will remain in effect through Memorial Day Weekend.