The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the Dolores River lasting through Monday.
At 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, the river level at the gauge near Rico was at 4.8 feet, a foot below flood stage.
The river was expected to reach 5.7 feet Friday through Sunday. The river has already caused some flooding, and river banks are eroding and unstable, according to the weather service.
Thunderstorms are forecast for the weekend, mainly in eastern Utah and Western Colorado but also in southern Colorado, said Dan Cuevas with the National Weather Service.
“The main concern remains the melting snow,” Cuevas said. Thunderstorms and accompanying cloud cover might have slowed the melt and river flow, he said.
Cuevas added that a cooler May might have led to less snowmelt than usual, and now that temperatures are rising more rapidly, snowpack in the high country is melting quickly and filling the river.
According to the weather service, the outlook for the river is comparable to a crest of 5.9 feet on June 17, 1995.
Temperatures will remain average this weekend with high temperatures Saturday and Sunday in the upper 70s and lows around 50. Winds could reach 20 mph
Last week, residents along Road 37 reported flooding as the Dolores River crossed over its bank. As of Friday, the flooding has not paused, said resident Jeffrey Jahraus, who added that at least 11 properties have been affected.
Jahraus said his septic tank had filled up, requiring him to pump it out. The surrounding ground is saturated, he said, and any additional water coming over the bank just starts to flood.
“I’m worried that it’s going to stay up for a long time,” Jahraus said.
The Dolores River at the gauge in Dolores was flowing at a rate of 3,520 cubic feet per second as of 12:45 p.m. Friday, according to U.S. Geological Survey data.