Flash flood warning downgraded to flash flood watch, I-70 reopens

The Colorado Department of Transportation is keeping an eye on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon after a Flash Flood Warning was downgraded to a Flash Flood Watch on Sunday.

A precautionary closure of the interstate was in effect during the period of the National Weather Service’s Flash Flood Warning, and while the highway has since reopened, CDOT says drivers could still encounter closures if the watch escalates to a flash flood warning.

The National Weather Service, in an alert issued at 8:42 p.m. on Sunday, said heavy rainfall over the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area is still expected.

“Residents near the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area should prepare for potential flooding impacts,” the National Weather Service’s Grand Junction office reported. “Be sure to stay up to date with information from local authorities. Heavy rainfall could trigger flash flooding of low-lying areas, urbanized street flooding, and debris flows in and near recent wildfire burn scars.”

The National Weather Service predicted debris flow including rock, mud, vegetation and other loose materials.

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“At 7:30 p.m., Doppler radar indicated thunderstorms producing heavy rain over the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area,” the National Weather Service reported. “Between 0.5 and 1.2 inches of rain have fallen.”

The Colorado Department of Transportation said like previous safety closures this summer, the eastbound and westbound I-70 was necessary from Glenwood Springs (exit 116) to Dotsero (exit 133).

“The safety closure is part of CDOT’s safety protocol to protect the traveling public from flash floods and mudslides in Glenwood Canyon,” CDOT said in a release issued Sunday night.

Mudslides in July 2021 prompted an extended safety closure on I-70 for approximately two weeks. For spring, summer and fall 2022, the Colorado Department of Transportation continues to have an I-70 Glenwood Canyon safety protocol in place to protect the traveling public.

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