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Thornton, Colorado, USA
UpdatedMon, 25-May-2015 1:15pm MDT 

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Unsettled weather pattern continues through Memorial Day weekend

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 5:18am MDT

No rest for the cloud and rain weary residents of Thornton.  The four day period looks to continue the recent weather pattern with only minor variances.

Friday:  We start out with some rain showers then, believe it or not, we may see a bit of sun toward the middle of the day.  Clouds return after that though and we see a chance for showers and thunderstorms.  Areas to our south and east are expected to be the focal point of the storms but do keep a close watch should these become more widespread.  Temperatures in Thornton top out at around 64 degrees, about 10 degrees below normal.

Saturday:  We should see some sun intermittently through much of the day.  The morning hours will be mostly dry with the afternoon bringing a good chance for shower and thunderstorm activity lasting into the evening.  Look for a high temperature reading tomorrow of around 67 degrees.

Sunday:  Mostly cloudy to cloudy skies will be above.  There may be a few early, light showers followed by better chances in the afternoon and into the evening.  Mercury readings cool down a bit with a high of 63 degrees expected.

Memorial Day:  Right now it looks like Monday will be the most pleasant day of the period, although that may not be saying much.  We should see a good bit of sun although clouds will certainly still be around.  A usual slight chance for PM thunderstorms is in place.  Temperatures will be in the mid to upper 60s.

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May 17 to May 23: This week in Denver weather history

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 10:15am MDT
This Week In Denver Weather History

May 17 to May 23: This week in Denver weather history

As we move further into the severe weather season, we begin to see that transition in our look back at Denver weather history.  There are many more mentions of lightning, wildfires, tornadoes, hail and other season weather conditions.


In 1996…a period of unusually warm weather resulted in 4 record maximum temperatures in 5 days.  The record high temperatures were 87 degrees on the 14th…89 degrees on the 15th…and 93 degrees on both the 16th and 18th.  The temperature climbed to only 81 degrees on the 17th which was not a record.


In 1981…a heavy rain storm dumped 1 to 2 1/2 inches of rain across metro Denver.  Rainfall totaled 1.27 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 38 mph on 17th.

In 1983…a very strong late spring storm dumped heavy snow over the Front Range.  Strong winds with the storm produced blizzard conditions at times.  Sustained winds were 20 to 40 mph with a peak gust to 55 mph at Stapleton International Airport.  The foothills received 1 to 2 feet of snow with 4 to 12 inches along the foothills.  Howling winds whipped the snow into drifts several feet deep…closing schools and highways.  Stapleton International Airport was forced to reduce flight operations…closing 2 of 4 runways and stranding hundreds of travelers.  Most of the damage and inconvenience caused by the storm was in power outages… Which occurred when wind and heavy wet snow caused hundreds of power poles to snap and topple.  About 20 square miles of Denver were blacked out.  Precipitation from the storm totaled 1 to 3 inches.  At Stapleton International Airport… Snowfall totaled 7.1 inches with a maximum snow depth on the ground of only 2 inches due to melting.  The high temperature of 40 degrees on the 17th was a record low maximum for the date.  Due to the heavy moisture content of the storm…widespread street flooding occurred on the 18th when much of the snow melted under the warm May sun and temperatures climbed to a high of 57 degrees.

In 1995…significant moisture and upslope flow caused flooding across metro Denver.  Moderate to heavy rains… Which began on the evening of the 16th…developed in the foothills and spread eastward over metro Denver throughout the night.  The heavy rains brought many creeks and small streams to bankfull or slightly over.  Locations along the foothills received between 3 and 4 inches of rainfall from the storm.  Boulder received 3.60 inches of rainfall for the 24-hour period…causing minor street flooding near small streams.  To the northwest of Boulder…a bridge which crossed Fourmile Creek was washed out.  Numerous rock and mudslides occurred in foothills canyons…closing portions of U.S. Highways 6 and 40 and State Highway 119 for a few hours at a time.  Rocks were piled 6 feet deep on a stretch of State Highway 119 along with Boulders as large as cars on U.S. Highway 6.  A parking lot near a creek in Golden caved in leaving a hole the size of an 18-wheeler.  Rushing water washed out a 50-foot stretch of a road in Westminster. Rainfall totaled 1.75 inches at Denver International Airport…but only 1.42 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.


In 1903…southwest winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts to 45 mph from an apparent microburst which produced only a trace of rain.

In 1960…hail to 3/4 inch diameter was measured in Thornton. Golf ball size hail fell in Arvada.

In 1972…microburst winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1975…hail 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter fell over western metro Denver.

In 1978…a small tornado touched down in south Aurora damaging 40 homes…6 to a considerable extent.  One garage was demolished and blown across the street.  Parts of roofs were completely blown away.  Several 2×4-inch boards were blown into the sides of houses.  Another small tornado in Parker damaged two airplanes.  Other funnel clouds were sighted over Northglenn and near Golden.

In 1985…a thunderstorm produced a total of 1.50 inches of rain in Brighton where 0.72 inches fell in 40 minutes. Small hail covered the ground…and there was some street and basement flooding.

In 1987…small hail piled up 4 inches deep in southwest Aurora.  There was also widespread street flooding and a few power outages.  Hail as large as 3/4 inch in diameter fell at Castle Rock.

In 2000…high winds occurred along and east of the Front Range foothills…as a deep surface low pressure center formed over the northeast plains of Colorado.  An amusement park in north Boulder received about 25 thousand dollars in property damage.  Peak wind reports included:  88 mph at the national wind technology center…84 mph in Boulder…and 80 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesa Laboratory. A powder keg of severe weather…including tornadoes and thunderstorms producing large hail…damaging winds and heavy rain…occurred over the plains to the northeast of Denver.  The only severe weather reported across metro Denver was 1 inch diameter hail in Littleton.


In 1864…heavy rains combined with melting snow to cause much flooding on north clear creek in Blackhawk.  Many bridges on the road to Denver were washed away by the high water on clear creek.

In 1893…northwest winds were sustained to 56 mph with an extreme velocity to 60 mph.

In 1960…large hail to 1 inch in diameter damaged roofs and cars in metro Denver.  Heavy snow and rain in the foothills caused rock and landslides…which blocked some highways. There was widespread minor damage from lightning. Hail as large as 1 1/8 inch in diameter was measured at Stapleton Airport where winds gusted to 44 mph.

In 1975…a tornado touched down briefly just south of Buckley Field in Aurora.  A few minutes later the same tornado touched down in open country 8 miles northeast of Stapleton International Airport.  No damage was reported.

In 1985…3/4 inch hail fell just southeast of Aurora.

In 1988…lightning started a fire at a home in the foothills west of Boulder…causing 50 thousand dollars in damage.

In 1995…strong thunderstorms rumbled across metro Denver dropping mainly pea to marble size hail.  However…hail stones as large as 1 1/4 inches in diameter fell in Wheat Ridge and downtown Denver.  Hail piled up to 2 inches deep in Wheat Ridge and northwest Denver.

In 1996…the Buffalo Creek Wildfire started and spread rapidly on strong southwest winds at 20 to 30 mph.  Dry weather conditions contributed to the spread of the fire… Which burned nearly 12 thousand acres and destroyed 12 structures including some houses.

In 2001…a 19-year-old man was struck and killed by lightning as he was walking along the shoulder of U.S. Highway 36 in Westminster.

In 2003…hail to 3/4 inch in diameter was measured at Denver International Airport.

In 2010…a small tornado touched down near Firestone but did no damage.


In 2011…a severe thunderstorm in central Adams County produced large hail and heavy rainfall on the 18th. Large hail from 1 inch to 1 3/4 inches in diameter…was reported in Commerce City…2 miles south-southeast of Federal Heights…Northglenn… And 2 miles south of Thornton. In Commerce City…the storm uprooted trees and knocked out power lines. A carport was lifted off the ground and struck the power lines overhead. Heavy rain…from 1.0 to 1.5 inches fell in less than 2 hours in Commerce City and near Brighton. The combination of hail and strong winds broke windows in Northglenn. In the foothills…moderate to heavy snow showers developed overnight. Storm totals included: 10.5 inches at gold hill…9.5 inches… 3 miles west of Jamestown; 9 inches at Lake Eldora; with 6 inches… 11 miles southwest of Gilpin and 4 miles east-northeast of Nederland. At Denver International Airport…total rainfall over the 2-day period totaled 1.71 inches. In addition…a peak wind gust to 37 mph was recorded on the 18th.

» Click here to read the rest of May 17 to May 23: This week in Denver weather history

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May 2015 top shots: Monthly photo slideshow

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 9:15am MDT
Lightning streaks across the skies on May 6, 2015. (David Canfield)

Lightning streaks across the skies on May 6, 2015. (David Canfield)

Colorado’s famously highly variable weather seems to showcase itself during the month of May when a variety of weather conditions can be seen.  This provides a prime opportunity for photos of everything weather to flora to fauna.

The month of May can bring extremes.  Snow is not entirely uncommon during the month but more common is severe weather, particularly in the latter half of the month.  Thunderstorms become more frequent and their associated hazards – lightning, wind, hail and tornadoes – are usual visitors.  Providing additional subjects for pictures are the emerging spring flowers and our abundant wildlife.

  • Slideshow updated May 18, 2015. To learn more about how to send your photo to us for inclusion in the slideshow, see below the slideshow.

Showcasing images captured by readers as well as some of our own, our monthly slideshow covers the entire gamut of weather-related imagery.

Sunsets, sunrises, wildlife and of course every type of weather condition are vividly depicted in images captured from yours and our cameras.

What is missing in the slideshow above?  Your photo!

Our monthly photo slideshow is going to feature images that we have taken but more importantly images that you have captured.  The photos can be of anything even remotely weather-related.

Landscapes, current conditions, wildlife, pets, kids.  Whimsical, newsy, artsy.  Taken at the zoo, some other area attraction, a local park, a national park or your backyard.  You name it, we want to see and share it!

Images can be taken in Thornton, Denver or anywhere across the extraordinary Centennial State.  We’ll even take some from out of state if we can tie it to Colorado somehow.

We’ll keep the criteria very open to interpretation with just about any image eligible to be shown in our slideshows.

What do you win for having your image in our slideshow?  We are just a ‘mom and pop’ outfit and make no money from our site so we really don’t have the means to provide prizes.  However you will have our undying gratitude and the satisfaction that your images are shared on the most popular website in Thornton.

To share you images with us and get them included in the slideshow just email them to us or share them with on any of the various social media outlets.  Links are provided below.

So come on, get those camera’s rolling!

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Thursday brings warmer temps, chance for showers and thunderstorms

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 5:18am MDT

Are you ready for a break from the cool, unsettled weather?  Well, you are just going to have to keep waiting.

Thursday doesn’t bring any real change to the pattern for Thornton.  We start out with cloudy skies and for the most part, that will continue through the day.  We may see a brief glimpse of the sun for a little while around mid-day.

Temperatures will warm up some today as we head for a high around near the 60 degree mark.  This afternoon brings a chance for showers and thunderstorms with the best opportunity occurring after about 6:00pm and lasting through tonight.

Over the longer term, cooler than normal temps with chances for showers and thunderstorms will be sticking around through the weekend.

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Less wet but continued cool on Wednesday

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 6:45am MDT

On the plus side Thornton will see far less precipitation today.  However the clouds are going to remain stubbornly in place and temperatures will be more than 20 degrees below normal.

We start out the day with a solid layer of clouds and areas of drizzle.  By mid-morning we will dry out for a brief period of time, perhaps see some filtered sunlight.  This afternoon the chance for showers returns although nothing like what we saw yesterday.

Highs today will only be about 50 degrees.  Average for the date is 73 degrees.

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Cool and soggy weather on tap for Thornton’s Tuesday

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 4:56am MDT

Yet another day of wet weather for us today along with temperatures about 25 degrees below normal.  We will see some warming up and drying out in the coming days but an overall unsettled pattern will remain.

For today we are waking to steady rain and that is expected to continue through the morning.  Some easing in shower activity will be seen by about mid-afternoon.  Rainfall totals from today can be expected to be between 1/2 and 1 1/2 inches.

In terms of temperatures,  there mercury is expected to only reach the mid to upper 40s (average for the date is 73 degrees).

As we look ahead, varying chances for showers and thunderstorms will remain for the foreseeable future.  Temperatures will start to warm tomorrow with highs in the mid-50s and then the 60s for the rest of the week.

Visit our main page for all the latest.

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Thornton’s unsettled weather pattern continues Monday, through the week

Monday, May 18th, 2015 5:00am MDT

Are you tired of the cool and damp weather we have experienced most of this month?  If so, you aren’t going to care too much for the weather forecast for this week.

We start out the workweek with mostly cloudy skies throughout the day Monday.  Highs today are going to be about 15 degrees normal as we top out in the upper 50s.  We’ll see some scattered shower activity for much of the morning and again this afternoon.

A series of disturbances will impact us this week as a low pressure system works its way across the Great Basin and toward Colorado.  The first of these arrives tonight bringing even cooler temperatures and widespread rain tomorrow.

The balance of the week is going to be cooler than normal as well with varying chances for showers and thunderstorms each day.  Unfortunately, that same pattern looks like it will remain in place for the holiday weekend.

The image has your weather outlook for today. Get the extended forecast here.

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Typical unsettled spring weather on tap for Thornton’s weekend

Friday, May 15th, 2015 5:18am MDT

Springtime along the Colorado Front Range can bring varying temperatures and of course usually includes chances for thunderstorms.  Such will be the case for the three-day period.

Friday looks to be our warmest day with highs reaching the low to mid-70s.  We again will have a good bit of cloud cover above.  The afternoon brings the usual chance for thunderstorms although the greatest threat will be north of our area.  We may see some gusty winds, brief bits of rain though.

A system moves through early Saturday morning and that is going to cool things down quite a bit, unfortunately just in time for the city’s ThorntonFest.  Look for partly sunny skies for most of the day with a high temperature only around 60 degrees or so.  There will be a slight chance for some light sprinkles in the morning followed by a decent chance for showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Look for the winds to be a bit gusty in the late afternoon and early evening.

The tide turns back the other way on Sunday.  We should see a bit less cloud cover and temperatures bounce back to near-normal levels.  The typical chance for showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon of course remains.

Have a great weekend of course be sure to keep an eye on our main page for all the latest as the weekend progresses.

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Warmer temps for Thornton’s Thursday, less chance for storms

Thursday, May 14th, 2015 5:15am MDT

We are set to enjoy a relatively pleasant spring day on Thursday although we once again will have a good bit of cloud cover.  Looking ahead we see seasonal conditions, perhaps a bit cool, with better chances for storms.

For today Thornton starts out with mostly sunny skies but cloud cover will be increasing this morning and by this afternoon we will be left with partly sunny skies.  Temperatures will be warming up nicely though and we expect an afternoon high of around 75 degrees.

We do see just a slight chance for some isolated thunderstorms after 4:00pm however these are expected to be few in number and mild in effect.

Jumping ahead to Friday, the weekend and into early next week, a series of disturbances will impact northern Colorado’s weather.  This will lead to temperatures at or a bit below normal and overall better chances for thunderstorms and showers.  The image has your outlook for today.  See here for the extended forecast.

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May 10 to May 16: This week in Denver weather history

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015 7:41am MDT
This Week In Denver Weather History

May 10 to May 16: This week in Denver weather history

As we move further into spring we begin to less winter-like weather and more spring weather.  In looking at Denver weather history we can see that transition with more mentions of severe rains, flooding, tornadoes and other spring and summer-like severe weather.

From the National Weather Service:


In 1979…4.3 inches of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport where northwest winds gusted to 30 mph on the 8th. Most of the snowfall…2.3 inches…occurred on the 9th. High temperature of only 35 degrees on the 9th equaled the record low maximum for the date.


In 1889…heavy rainfall totaled 2.15 inches in downtown Denver.  The cold rain was mixed with snow at times overnight.  Temperatures on the 10th ranged from a high of 38 degrees to a low of 32 degrees with north winds sustained to 22 mph.

In 2003…a late spring snowstorm hammered the mountains… Eastern foothills…and urban corridor.  The heaviest snowfall occurred north of interstate 70.  The heavy wet snow caused damage to trees throughout metro Denver and downed power lines.  About 40 thousand people along the urban corridor were without power.  Storm total snowfall amounts included:  11.5 inches in Louisville… 8 inches in Boulder and Broomfield; 7 inches in Thornton…Broomfield…at Denver International Airport… And at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport; and 6 inches 4 miles east of Denver.  Snowfall ranged from 4 to 9 inches across extreme southern weld County.  In the foothills…15 inches of snow fell near Jamestown…9 inches at Rollinsville and Rawah…with 8 inches at Chief Hosa and atop Lookout Mountain. The snow was accompanied by thunder on the afternoon of the 9th at Denver International Airport where west winds gusted to 25 mph on the 9th and north winds gusted to 22 mph on the 10th.


In 1875…a windstorm sand-blasted the city from 10:00 am until midnight.  Northwest winds sustained to 60 mph brought clouds of sand…which caused high damage to unfinished buildings.

In 1912…a vigorous cold front produced strong north winds and rain.  North winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph.  Rainfall totaled 1.10 inch.

In 1935…no precipitation occurred…making this one of only two days without precipitation during the entire month.  The other day was the 21st.  Precipitation totaled 4.95 inches for the month.

In 1956…northwest winds gusted to 53 mph at Stapleton Airport where the visibility was briefly reduced to 1/2 mile in blowing dust.

In 1974…strong winds caused 30 thousand dollars in damage to a building under construction in Lakewood.  Microburst winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1988…lightning struck a house in Boulder…setting it afire.  The house…valued at 170 thousand dollars…was a total loss.

In 1989…golf ball size hail fell over southeast Denver near the junction of I-25 and I-225.  Hail to 3/4 inch in diameter fell over southeast Aurora.  Only 3/8 inch hail fell at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1991…high winds up to 63 mph raked the eastern foothills. Winds estimated to 50 mph tore a roof from a home in Lafayette.  A tower at Jefferson County stadium in west metro Denver was blown over by the high winds.  No injuries were reported.  Southeast winds gusting to 48 mph at Stapleton International Airport produced some blowing dust.  The temperature climbed to a high of 86 degrees… Equaling the record maximum for the date.

In 2005…severe thunderstorms produced hail as large as 2 inches in diameter in and near Longmont.


In 1918…post-frontal snowfall totaled 4.7 inches in downtown Denver.  Northwest winds gusted to 19 mph on the 10th.

In 1923…winds were strong and gusty on both days.  Northwest winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 44 mph on the 10th.  North winds were sustained to 39 mph with gusts to 46 mph behind an apparent cold front on the 11th.


In 2011…a spring snowstorm brought heavy snow to the Front Range foothills and palmer divide. Storm totals included: 18 inches…4 miles south-southeast of Pinecliffe; 16 inches in Coal Creek Canyon; 15 inches…4 miles west-southwest of Eldorado Springs; 13 inches at Gold Hill…12 inches… 4 miles west-southwest of Conifer and 4 miles northwest of Elizabeth; 11.5 inches…6 miles southwest of Evergreen and 4 miles east-northeast of Nederland; 11 inches…3 miles east of Jamestown and 10.5 inches…3 miles east of Franktown and 3 miles south of Golden and 10 inches…10 miles north of Elizabeth. At Denver International Airport… 1 inch of snowfall was observed.


In 1879…an apparent cold front during the afternoon produced sustained north winds as high as 60 mph and great clouds of blowing dust.  The dust filled the air until the thunderstorm rain began…which produced 1.46 inches of rainfall.  The rain ended during the evening.

In 1900…southwest winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 46 mph.

In 1958…a microburst caused a brief wind gust to 55 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1963…south-southwest winds gusted to 48 mph at Stapleton Airport.  Winds May have been stronger over west Denver where some buildings were damaged.

In 1998…large hail fell over south metro Denver.  Hail as large as 1 1/4 inches in diameter was measured in Parker with 1 inch hail recorded in Littleton and 4 miles south of Lakewood in Jefferson County.  Hail to 3/4 inch diameter was measured in Douglas County…11 miles west- northwest of Parker.


In 2014…a strong storm system moved from southwest Colorado and produced heavy snow in and near the Front Range foothills and metro Denver. The snow was heaviest in the foothills where up to 2 1/2 feet of snow was observed. In the foothills… Storm totals included: 30 inches near Pinecliffe; 29 inches… 8 miles northeast of Four Corners; 28 inches near Pingree Park; 27 inches near Allenspark; 20.5 inches near Idaho Springs; 19.5 inches at Gold Hill; 19 inches near Genesee; 18 inches near Blackhawk; 17 inches at Aspen Springs; 16.5 inches near Ward; 13.5 inches at bergen park; with 11 inches at Evergreen. Along the urban corridor and Palmer Divide…storm totals included: 10.5 inches at Eldorado Springs; 10 inches at Ken Caryl; 9 inches at Superior; 8 inches near Morrison; 7.5 inches in Broomfield and Highlands Ranch; 7 inches in Denver… Near Franktown…Golden… Lakewood and Highlands Ranch; 6 inches…5 miles northeast of Westminster… 7 miles south of Lyons and near Parker; with 5.5 inches at Aurora. At Denver International Airport…1.1 inches of snowfall was observed… Along with 0.9 inches of water.


In 1875…two forest fires on the eastern slope of the foothills were visible from the city.

In 1904…north winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 48 mph.

In 1950…brilliant and complete primary and secondary rainbows arching across the sky were observed from Stapleton Airport.

In 1951…a wind gust to 51 mph was recorded at Stapleton Airport.

In 1984…winds gusted to 69 mph in Boulder.  Northwest winds gusted to 47 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1987…a small weak tornado touched down for about 2 minutes in southeast Denver.  The twister hit a car dealership…blowing about a dozen windows out of cars and shattering four skylights on the building.  Some tin roofing was blown off a patio a block and a half away.  The tornado also downed a power pole.  Damage at the dealership was estimated at 10 thousand dollars.  A man was slightly injured by lightning in northwest Aurora.

In 1995…several funnel clouds were sighted near Parker. One of the funnels produced a short-lived debris cloud on the ground in an open field.  No damage was reported.

» Click here to read the rest of May 10 to May 16: This week in Denver weather history

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