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Wet weekend forecast for S.W. Colorado

By Ann Butler Herald staff writer

As rain falls across Southwest Colorado, local officials are keeping an eye on potential dangers, especially as flooding consumes the Front Range.

“So far, we haven’t had any heavy, heavy downpours,” said Butch Knowlton, director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness for La Plata County. “As of right now, we haven’t had any major incidents.”

The Animas River has been rising steadily since Tuesday, from about 300 cubic feet per second to 1,640 cfs Friday. That’s still significantly below the maximum cfs, 2,990, reached for the date on Sept. 13, 1971.

“We’re getting reports from hunters going out into the field of how much water is in area streams,” Knowlton said, “especially compared to the last couple of months. Moisture helps, moisture means there’s less fire danger.”

The rains are likely to continue through Sunday night, when a drier weather system will move in, said meteorologist Ellen Heffernan with the Grand Junction Office of the National Weather Service.

The weather service is predicting a 60 percent chance of rain in Durango today, and a 40 percent chance Sunday. Highs both days will be around 70.

“It looks like on Sunday, there will be numerous showers in the mountains with scattered showers in the valleys,” she said. “This soupy air mass that’s been on top of us will finally move out, and we’ll get more of the September weather that we’re used to.”

Knowlton said he’ll be keeping an eye on the storms moving through this weekend.

“We worry more about fall rainstorms than spring melts,” he said Friday evening. “There’s been a lot of rain and the ground’s becoming saturated with water. It warrants watching. I watched the radar all day today, and I’ll be watching it all weekend.”

abutler@durangoherald.com

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