In 1996, the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Grand Junction began a gradual process of taking over warning and forecast responsibilities for western Colorado and eastern Utah from the NWS offices in Denver and Salt Lake City, respectively. Prior to 1996, the Grand Junction weather office only had warning responsibilities for severe thunderstorms and flash floods in a portion of western Colorado. Currently, the office has weather forecasting and warning responsibility for 22 counties in western Colorado and eastern Utah.
The first group of meteorologists to round out the present staff at the NWS office in Grand Junction arrived in September 1995. The forecasters received intensive training to better understand and operate the new technology, such as the Doppler radar and the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) , in order to provide more timely warnings and short term forecast updates.
An additional group of 5 forecasters joined the staff at Grand Junction in 1998, coinciding with the planned arrival of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) . This computer system replaced the AFOS computers that were designed from technology dating back to the late 1960s. With a full contingent of forecasters and modern forecasting tools, the process to take over all warning and forecast responsibilities for western Colorado and portions of eastern Utah was completed in April 1999.