Weather Service Issues Both ‘Red Flag’ and ‘Flood’ Warnings for GJ
In the grand tradition of Western Colorado, in the last ten hours, the National Weather Service issued both a Red Flag and "localized flooding" warnings for the area.
Welcome to Grand Junction, Colorado, one of the only places in the nation where you're likely to run both your heater and air-conditioner in the same day. With the weekend approaching, it seems we can expect fire dangers combined with flooding dangers.
A statement issued this morning (Thursday, June 4) on the National Weather Service's official Facebook page reads:
Warm and dry today with Red Flag Conditions on Friday, as winds increase and temperatures forecasted to be in the 90s for the valleys, and the mid to upper 70s in the mountains. With the recent trends, agriculture burning is not recommended. Please abide by any No Burning recommendations, and stay safe!
That statement was released at 3:37 this morning. Twenty-one minutes later, at 3:58 this morning, the NWS offered this statement via Facebook:
A system will move into the area on Saturday allowing for widespread showers and thunderstorms to develop. Check the weather forecast before going to any tourist attraction or planning any outdoor activities.
At 1:52 this afternoon, they followed with this statement:
Moisture increases Friday night into Saturday, with cooler conditions and potential for heavy rain and localized flooding.
I am in no way disputing the predictions of the National Weather Service. Just the opposite. I've learned to have tremendous faith in their forecasts. Having spent a little time taking Weather and Climate classes in college, receiving....well, let's just say a passing grade, I of all people respect the work of those in the field.
It seems we're going from fire danger to flood danger in under 24 hours. Welcome to Western Colorado. I hired a couple of guys to come over and help me paint the outside of my house on Saturday. At the time, I was scared we are all going to suffer 3rd-degree sunburns. (NOTE: I looked it up, and there is such a thing as a 3rd-degree sunburn.) Now, I'm wondering if I need to cancel on account of rain. Again, welcome to Western Colorado.
If my yard is any example, the ground in the valley is dry and thirsty. A carelessly discarded cigarette would certainly due to the job when it comes to starting a fire. If, on the other hand, the skies open up, the hard earth is primed and ready to deliver flash flood conditions.
To break it down, the weather could be really funky this weekend in Grand Junction. Normally, summer weather is something of a running joke in this part of the country. Delivering a weather forecast usually goes a little something like this: "Sunny and hot today, while sunny and hot tomorrow. Thursday will be hot and sunny, with a good chance of sunny and hot on Friday."
Mother Nature may throw us a 180 circling around to a full 360 over the next few days. Let's all be alert Western Colorado residents and be ready.