December 1 to December 7: This Week in Denver Weather History
Extreme weather in December is hardly unusual as long-time residents can attest to. The most common major events involve wind, cold or snow and sometimes all three at once was we can see in our look back at this week in Denver weather history.
From the National Weather Service:
In 1929…heavy snow blanketed the city. Snowfall totaled 9.8 inches downtown. North winds were sustained to 32 mph with gusts to 37 mph on the 30th.
In 1970…high winds blasted Boulder and the eastern plains. In Boulder…a wind gust to 112 mph was recorded at the National Center for Atmospheric Research with a gust to 96 mph at the National Bureau of Standards.
In downtown Boulder…wind gusts reached 76 mph. At Stapleton International Airport…winds gusted to 47 mph. The high winds caused widespread light to moderate property damage across most of metro Denver. Roofs…signs…trees…power lines…and other property were damaged. Blowing dust reduced visibility to near zero over most of eastern Colorado. Several mobile homes…campers…and semi- trailers were blown off the highways north of Denver.
In 1985…an intrusion of cold arctic air into metro Denver resulted in setting 3 temperature records. The temperature climbed to only 17 degrees on the 30th…setting a record low maximum for the date. On the 1st…the temperature plunged to 6 degrees below zero…setting a record low for the date… And warmed to only 7 degrees…setting a record low maximum for the date.
In 1975…very strong Chinook winds up to 100 mph caused damage to homes…aircraft…aircraft hangars…mobile homes… Cars…and power lines along the eastern foothills. Strong northwest winds gusted to 39 mph at Stapleton International Airport on both the 30th and the 1st.
In 1899…northwest Chinook winds were sustained to 47 mph with gusts to 60 mph. The strong Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 61 degrees…the warmest of the month. The low temperature dipped to only 39 degrees.
In 1972…strong Chinook winds gusted in excess of 65 mph in Boulder. There were no reports of damage. Northwest winds gusted to 38 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1992…strong winds continued through the early morning hours. Wind gusts to over 70 mph were measured at reporting sites in the foothills west of Denver. In west Boulder…wind gusts reached 71 mph with 77 mph measured at Rollinsville. At Stapleton International Airport northwest winds gusted to 39 mph. The walker ranch…an historic site west of Boulder…burned down overnight during the high wind event. Although the winds did not cause the fire…they did hamper efforts to extinguish the blaze.
In 1996…high winds howled in and near the Front Range foothills. Winds gusted to 105 mph at Wondervu southwest of Boulder and to 70 mph at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield. West winds gusted to only 24 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 1933…apparent post-frontal heavy snowfall totaled 8.0 inches across downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 17 mph with an extreme velocity to 18 mph on the 1st.
In 1981 strong winds gusted to over 70 mph along the foothills. A peak gust to 100 mph was recorded at Wondervu. A gust to 94 mph was recorded just west of Boulder. Roofs on houses were damaged in the Evergreen area…and some mobile homes also were damaged. At Stapleton International Airport…northwest winds gusted 44 mph on the 1st and 37 mph on the 2nd.
In 1913…the 1st marked the start of the heaviest 5-day total snowfall in the city’s history. During this period snowfall totaled 45.7 inches. Starting on the 1st…snow fell intermittently for 3 days and accumulated a little over 8 inches. On the 4th and 5th…an additional 37.4 inches of snow fell. At Georgetown in the foothills west of Denver even more snow fell…86 inches over the 5 days with the most…63 inches…on the 4th. In Colorado…snowfall was heavy along the eastern slopes of the mountains from the Palmer Divide north. High winds during the storm caused heavy drifting…which blocked all transportation. Snow cover of an inch or more from the storm persisted for 60 consecutive days from the 1st through January 29…1914. Additional snowfall in December and January prolonged the number of days. This is the third longest period of snow cover on record in the city.
In 1893…northwest winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts to 46 mph. Snowfall was only 1.4 inches in the city.
In 1895…0.01 inch of melted snow from 0.7 inch of snowfall was the only measurable precipitation of the month in downtown Denver…ranking the month the 3rd driest December on record.
In 1899…post-frontal northeast winds sustained to 44 mph with gusts to 59 mph caused the temperature to plunge from a high of 55 degrees to a low of 15 degrees. Snowfall was only 1.0 inch.
In 1902…apparent post-frontal northwest winds were sustained to 45 mph with gusts to 53 mph. A trace of snow fell.
In 1905…only a trace of snow fell in downtown Denver. This was the only snow and precipitation for the month… Ranking the month the second driest and the second least snowiest December on record.
In 1921…snowfall was 5.5 inches in downtown Denver. Northwest winds were sustained to 24 mph with an extreme velocity of 25 mph.
In 1951…a vigorous pacific cold front produced a northwest wind gust to 51 mph at Stapleton Airport where brief blowing dust was observed.
In 1957…a strong Pacific cold front produced northwest wind gusts to 54 mph at Stapleton Airport where the surface visibility was briefly reduced to 1 1/2 miles in blowing dust.
In 1977…high winds in Boulder lifted a warehouse from its foundation and ripped it apart. Wind gusts from 60 to 103 mph toppled and injured a man while walking. Winds were clocked to 104 mph at Nederland…100 mph at Morrison…and 62 mph at Rocky Flats. Northwest winds gusted to 41 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1996…for the second day in a row high winds ripped the Front Range foothills. Winds gusted to 81 mph in Golden Gate Canyon. West-northwest winds gusted to 37 mph at Denver International Airport.
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