Craig residents will have to tuck the flip-flops and sun hats back into the closet for a few days as windy, dry conditions give way to snow and freezing temperatures this week.
Moffat County was under a red flag warning for three days through Monday night due to high winds, low humidity and dry vegetation, said National Weather Service meteorologist Julie Malingowski in Grand Junction.
But fire danger will quickly turn to freezing temperatures as strong winds blow in a cold front from the West coast, beginning with cooler temperatures and scattered showers Tuesday, she said.
The cold front is one of a multi-part series, meaning area residents can expect a short lull in weathery conditions late Tuesday before the mercury drops even more, with rain turning to snow by Wednesday evening.
"Conditions are expected to get windy again on Wednesday as a much stronger cold front moves into the area," Malingowski said.
Temperatures are expected to fall below freezing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, with lows in the upper-20s to around 30 and a high of 47 both Wednesday and Thursday, according to the NWS website.
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For those who have already boldly planted their gardens, "Make sure to protect your plants sensitive to freezing or near freezing temperatures," the website warned.
Snow is not expected to accumulate much in the valleys, but travelers in the high country should expect slushy roads and winter driving conditions, Malingowski said. The region will remain socked in with cloudy, wet conditions through Saturday, when drier air is expected to move in from the Northwest.
"Temperatures start to rebound over the weekend, but with some cloud cover still around," she said. "We'll have a few days of well-below-normal temperatures before hopefully summer returns… The outlook for next week looks promising."
Precipitation for May thus far is less than half the normal value, according to NWS climate data, and 15 percent below normal since March 1. But overall, the Northwest Colorado region has received 22 percent more moisture than normal since Jan. 1, with a total of 6.67 inches in 2017 to date.
Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1795 or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBNews.