February 22 to February 28: This week in Denver weather history
Our look back at this week in Denver weather history contains much of what you would expect to see this time of year – high winds, snow storms, and cold but also a rare February thunderstorm.
From the National Weather Service:
In 1909…a major storm dumped 12.9 inches of heavy snowfall over the city. North winds were sustained to 37 mph on the 22nd. Temperatures during the storm hovered in the 20’s.
In 1893…northwest winds were sustained to 36 mph with gusts to 50 mph.
In 1900…northwest winds sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 45 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 61 degrees.
In 1910…a cold front caused a remarkably sharp drop in temperature from 43 degrees at 3:00 am to only 3 degrees at 8:30 am. These were the high and low temperatures for the day. Early west winds switched to northeast behind the front.
In 1927…west winds were sustained to 42 mph with a measured maximum velocity to 60 mph.
In 1954…strong and gusty west winds persisted throughout the day. The highest wind gust recorded at Stapleton Airport was 58 mph.
In 1960…snowfall totaled 5.9 inches…producing near-blizzard conditions in snow and blowing snow at Stapleton Airport where northeast wind gusts to 40 mph reduced visibility to 1/2 mile.
In 1986…high winds occurred in the foothills. Wind gusts of 65 to 70 mph were reported at Golden Gate Canyon…and a peak gust of 83 mph was recorded at Echo Lake. Northwest winds gusted to only 29 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1988…a wind gust to 83 mph was recorded in Boulder with 80 mph clocked at Rollinsville. Northwest winds gusted to 45 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1996…wind gusts to 63 mph were reported in western Elbert County. Southwest winds gusted to 45 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 1999…strong post-frontal…bora winds developed over the foothills and spread over the northeast plains. Peak wind gusts included: 87 mph at Golden Gate Canyon; 84 mph at Wondervu; 80 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research mesa lab; 75 mph at the Rocky Flats Environmental Test Facility; 74 mph at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield; 72 mph at the Gamow Tower on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder; and 60 mph at Bennett. West to northwest winds gusted to 44 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 2000…thunder was heard across much of metro Denver. Thunderstorms over southwest metro Denver produced 1/4 to 1/2 inch diameter hail at Pinehurst Country Club. A thunderstorm at Denver International Airport produced wind gusts to 34 mph. This was only the 6th time since 1891 that thunder had been reported in February.
In 1985…a snowstorm struck the eastern foothills with 8 to 15 inches of new snow. Three to 7 inches of new snow fell across metro Denver and parts of I-70 were closed at times. Snowfall totaled only 3.3 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast wind gusts to 29 mph were recorded.
In 1992…a snow storm dumped heavy snow in the Front Range foothills. Conifer received 12 inches of new snow with 7.5 inches at Aspen Springs. Snow only dusted the plains and metro Denver…but winds were strong with a gust to 43 mph from the north at Stapleton International Airport where snowfall totaled only 0.3 inch. This was the only measurable snowfall of the month…equaling the record for the least snowiest February first set in 1970. Rare thunder for February accompanied the snow during the early morning hours of the 23rd.
In 1999…strong Chinook winds developed on a very localized scale overnight in and near the foothills of northern Jefferson and southern Boulder counties. Peak wind reports included: 82 mph at the Rocky Flats Environmental Test Facility…80 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research mesa lab in Boulder…77 mph near Nederland…and 75 mph atop the Gamow Tower on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder.
In 2012…a strong upper level jet stream produced high winds along the Front Range. In Boulder…the strong winds snapped power poles and toppled trees. As a result…about 7 thousand Xcel Energy customers were without power for several hours. The high winds overturned a tractor-trailer on foothills highway overpass…north of Valmont road. The driver suffered minor injuries. A parked car was totaled when it was crushed by a fallen tree near the university of Boulder. The strong winds were also responsible for two Boulder County wildfires which consumed a total of 65 acres. Colorado Department of Transportation officials closed U.S. 36 at McCaslin Boulevard in both directions after the wind caused damage to the pedestrian overpass. Metal siding from the overpass fell into highway; fortunately there were no injuries. In total…electrical outages affected 46 thousand customers along the Front Range. Damage to roofs…siding… Garage doors and fences was also reported. Peak wind gusts included: 93 mph near Lyons; 88 mph at NCAR Mesa Lab; 85 mph…2 miles southwest of Rocky Flats; 82 mph…5 miles northwest of Boulder; 81 mph…2 miles north of Longmont…4 miles east-northeast of Nederland…the National Wind Technology Center and near Wondervu; 80 mph at the junction of highways 72 and 93; 79 mph at the Boulder Municipal Airport; 78 mph…6 miles northwest of Boulder; 77 mph at Rocky Mountain Municipal Airport; 76 mph atop Berthoud Pass; 75 mph near Aspen Springs; 70 mph at Longmont Municipal Airport; 64 mph at Erie Municipal Airport. At Denver International Airport…peak wind gusts of 53 mph on the 22nd and 55 mph on the 23rd were observed.
In 1960…heavy snowfall of 6.1 inches at Stapleton Airport on the 22nd and 23rd marked the beginning of a protracted cold spell which lasted until the end of the month. The cloudy… Cold weather was accompanied by occasional light snow or flurries and fog. New record low temperatures for the dates were set on the 24th thru the 29th with the lowest temperature of 11 degrees below zero on the 28th. The seven consecutive days of low temperatures of zero or below had been exceeded in duration only 4 times previously. New low maximum temperatures for the dates were set on the 23rd… 24th…and the 26th thru the 29th with the lowest maximum temperature of 8 degrees recorded on the 26th.
In 1904…west winds sustained to 42 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 63 degrees.
In 1907…a thunderstorm…relatively rare in February…was observed over the city. The chance of occurrence is around once every ten years.
In 1977…while 60 to 100 mph winds produced a huge dust storm over much of eastern Colorado…only an experimental windmill at the Rocky Flats nuclear plant was destroyed in the Denver area. Winds at Rocky Flats were clocked to 90 mph. Northwest winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1986…wind gusts to 79 mph were clocked at Echo Lake in the foothills west of Denver.
In 1992…a rare February thunderstorm occurred. This was only the 5th time since 1891 that thunder has been heard in February.
In 1994…periodic high winds occurred over the higher elevations of the Front Range eastern foothills. The strongest wind gusts reached 87 mph atop Squaw Mountain near Idaho Springs. Southwest winds gusted to only 25 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1996…high winds gusting as high as 76 mph were reported along the Front Range foothills and adjacent urban corridor. Wind gusts to 70 mph were reported atop Table Mesa near Boulder and to 63 mph in Broomfield. West winds gusted to 38 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 2012…bands of moderate to heavy snow…associated with a strong upper level jet…formed over the southern Front Range foothills…Palmer Divide and southern Denver suburbs. Storm totals included: 10 inches…2 miles west-northwest of Highlands Ranch and Kiowa; 9.5 inches near Castle Rock and Littleton; 8 inches at Aspen Springs and Marston Reservoir; 7.5 inches at Evergreen and Louviers; 7 inches…5 miles south-southwest of Arapahoe Park; with 4 to 6 inches elsewhere. Officially…Denver International Airport observed 1.9 inches of snowfall.
In 1935…northwest winds sustained to 37 mph with gusts as high as 47 mph produced considerable blowing dust behind a cold front on the 23rd. The dust was dampened by 7.0 inches of snowfall over downtown Denver from the late evening of the 23rd through the evening of the 24th.
In 1997…heavy snow fell in the foothills. Snowfall totals included 8 inches at sunshine canyon northwest of Boulder… And 6 inches at Morrison. Snowfall totaled only 2.4 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. East winds gusted to only 22 mph at Denver International Airport on the 23rd.
In 1912…a severe winter storm dumped 14.2 inches of snowfall over downtown Denver. Snow fell continuously from 9:40 am on the 23rd until 9:15 pm on the 25th with most of the snow… 9.2 inches…on the 24th. Temperatures were mostly in the 20’s. Northeast winds were sustained to 20 mph on the 24th.
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