Thornton, Colorado, USA
UpdatedMon, 24-Oct-2016 7:15pm MDT 


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Thornton’s mild, dry weather continues Monday

Monday, October 24th, 2016 5:07am MDT

Very little change in store for our overall weather pattern today. In fact, we will be seeing more of the same through the week.

Today we start out with mostly sunny skies. We’ll see some cirrus clouds above of varying thicknesses as the day progresses. Temperatures will be climbing to a high in the mid-70s, well above the average for the date of 62 degrees.

For the balance of the week, mercury readings in the 70s will be the rule and conditions dry other than just a slight chance for showers tomorrow and tomorrow night.

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October 23 to October 29: This Week in Denver Weather History

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016 4:45am MDT
This Week In Denver Weather History

October 23 to October 29: This Week in Denver Weather History

It’s not quite Halloween but leading up to the holiday we see plenty of  ‘scary’ weather in our look back at this week in Denver weather history. High winds are relatively commonplace and so too are major snowstorms. One recent event in 1997 dumped 14 to 31 inches of the white stuff on the metro area.

From the National Weather Service:


In 2003…an extended warm spell resulted in 5 new temperature records. The high temperature of 84 degrees on the 18th equaled the record high for the date. High temperatures of 86 degrees on the 19th…83 degrees on the 21st…and 84 degrees on the 22nd were record highs for the dates. Low temperature of 49 degrees on the 23rd was a record high minimum for the date. Low temperatures during the period were in the 40’s and lower 50’s.


In 1906…heavy snowfall totaled 22.7 inches in the city over the 5 days. Rain changed to snow on the evening of the 19th…and snow continued through the late afternoon of the 23rd. The heaviest amount of snowfall…16.0 inches…fell from 8:00 pm on the 20th to 8:00 pm on the 22nd. The most snow on the ground was 13.3 inches on the evening of the 23rd. This was the first snow of the season and the only snow of the month. Winds during the storm were from the north at sustained speeds of 20 to 30 mph each day. Temperatures during the storm were generally in the 20’s.


In 1914…post-frontal rain changed to snow. Precipitation totaled 2.72 inches…most of which was in the form of moist snow which melted as it fell in the business section of the city. About 3 inches of snow was measured on lawns in the residential areas on the morning of the 24th. Official snowfall totaled only 0.4 inch downtown… But an estimated 8.0 inches of snow melted as it fell. North to northeast winds were sustained to 29 mph with gusts to 30 mph on both days.

In 1975…a vigorous cold front moving across metro Denver followed by strong northeast winds gusting to 52 mph produced billows of blowing dust and plunged the temperature 21 degrees in an hour. The surface visibility was reduced to 1/4 mile in blowing dust at Stapleton International Airport. The temperature cooled from a daily record high of 81 degrees to a low of 38 degrees by day’s end. The first snowfall of the season totaled 2.7 inches on the 23rd. This was the only measurable snow of the month at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1995…heavy snow fell on the Palmer Ridge south of Denver and in the foothills west of Denver where snow amounts ranged from 4 to 8 inches. Sedalia…south of Denver… Received 8 inches of snow. Winds strengthened on the plains and produced blizzard conditions…reducing surface visibilities to less than 1/4 mile. I-70 was closed from just east of Denver at Gun Club Road to the Kansas border. Ten inches of snow fell at Strasburg east of Denver where north winds at sustained speeds of 35 to 45 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph produced 2 to 4 foot drifts. Snowfall totaled only 2.2 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North winds gusted to 51 mph at Denver International Airport.


In 1876…skies were fair…but winds were sustained to 48 mph.

In 1942…a major storm dumped 10.2 inches of snow over downtown Denver. Post-frontal northeast winds were sustained to only 13 mph.

In 1955…the first snowfall of the season and the only measurable snow of the month dumped 4.1 inches of snow on Stapleton Airport. This was the single heaviest October snowfall in 13 years since 1942. The storm also brought the first sub-freezing temperatures of the season when the temperature dipped to a low of 25 degrees.

In 1956…southwest winds gusted to 53 mph and produced some blowing dust at Stapleton Airport.

In 1967…a northwest wind gust to 51 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport. In downtown Boulder… Winds were sustained at 20 mph with gusts in excess of 40 mph.

In 1981…strong winds occurred in the foothills. Wind gusts to 70 mph were reported at Wondervu.


In 1887…the first measurable snowfall of the season totaled 3.1 inches. North winds to 20 mph were recorded on the 23rd. This was the only measurable snow of the month.

In 1932…post-frontal snowfall from the late evening of the 23rd continued through the late afternoon of the 24th and totaled 6.2 inches. Southeast winds were sustained to 25 mph with gusts to 26 mph on the 23rd. Temperatures cooled from a high of 68 degrees on the 23rd to a low of 25 degrees on the 24th…the coldest reading of the month that year. Many trees that had not shed their leaves became heavily laden by the wet snow. Many branches were broken… And a few trees toppled under the weight of the snow. The landscape became one of rare beauty.


In 1956…southwest winds gusted to 56 mph and produced some blowing dust at Stapleton Airport. A cold front produced a thunderstorm with 1/8 inch hail. Rain later changed to snow. Precipitation totaled only 0.11 inch and snowfall only 0.3 inch.

In 1973…strong winds raked the eastern foothills…causing damage in Boulder and Jefferson counties. The heaviest damage occurred in the Boulder area where 20 to 25 mobile homes were hit…some power and telephone lines were blown down…and a store was damaged. A wind gust to 76 mph was recorded in Boulder at the National Bureau of Standards. Northwest winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport.


In 1921…rainfall totaled 0.35 inch overnight behind an apparent cold front. North winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 46 mph on the 25th. Temperatures plunged from a high of 73 degrees on the 24th to a low of 39 degrees on the 25th.

In 1923…rain overnight changed to snow during the morning. The heavy snowfall accumulated to 12.0 inches before ending on the morning of the 25th. Post-frontal north winds were sustained to 22 mph with gusts to 23 mph on the 24th.

In 1997…one of the worst and deadliest blizzards of the decade developed over eastern Colorado as deep east to northeast flow associated with a vigorous upper level low pressure system over the Four Corners…combined with a strong arctic air mass over the central great plains. Snowfall totals across metro Denver ranged from 14 to 31 inches. The heaviest snowfall occurred in the foothills west and southwest of Denver where 2 to 4 feet of snow were measured. Sustained winds to 40 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph produced zero visibilities and extremely cold wind chill temperatures from 25 below to 40 below zero. Winds whipped the snow into drifts 4 to 10 feet deep. Several major and interstate highways were closed as travel became impossible. Red Cross shelters were set up for hundreds of travelers who became stranded when they had to abandon their vehicles. Four people died in northeastern Colorado as a result of the blizzard. None of the deaths were in metro Denver. At Denver International Airport…4 thousand travelers were stranded when the airport was forced to shut down. At least 120 cars were abandoned along Pena Blvd….the only arterial leading into and out of dia. The blizzard cost air carriers at least 20 million dollars. Thousands of cattle died in the storm over northeastern Colorado…resulting in losses totaling 1.5 million dollars. Some of the more impressive snowfall totals included: 51 inches at Coal Creek Canyon; 48 inches at Silver Spruce Ranch…near Ward; 42 inches at Intercanyon…in the foothills southwest of Denver; 37 inches at Sedalia; 35 inches at Aspen Springs and Conifer in the foothills west of Denver; 31 inches at Eldorado Springs… Southeast Aurora…and Englewood; and 30 inches on Table Mesa in Boulder. Snowfall totaled 21.9 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport…setting a new 24-hour snowfall record of 19.1 inches for the month. Snowfall totaled only 14 inches at Denver International Airport where north winds gusted to 39 mph on the 24th. High temperature of only 21 degrees on the 25th equaled the record low maximum for the date first set in 1873. Low temperature of only 3 degrees on the 26th set a new record minimum for the date.


In 1925…a vigorous cold front produced north winds sustained to 42 mph with gusts to 52 mph. Post-frontal snowfall was only 0.4 inch during the late afternoon and early evening.

In 1959…northwest winds gusted to 55 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1997…the high temperature warmed to only 21 degrees…the record low maximum for the month. The same temperature also occurred on October 30…1991.

» Click here to read the rest of October 23 to October 29: This Week in Denver Weather History

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NOAA releases 2016 – 2017 winter weather outlook

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016 4:51am MDT

What will this winter have in store for Thornton?  Forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center have released their outlook and for the Front Range, it doesn’t hold much in the way of clues.

The CPC does show odds favor above average temperatures for much of Colorado for the period from December through February.  In terms of precipitation, the agency gives equal chances of near average, well above average, or well below average precipitation for most of the state. The one exception is the southern third of Colorado which they peg at having above average chances of a drier than normal year.

From NOAA:

U.S. Winter Outlook predicts warmer, drier South and cooler, wetter North
Drought expected to persist in California and expand in the Southeast

Winter 2016 - 2017 temperature outlook. Click for larger view. (NOAA)

Winter 2016 – 2017 temperature outlook. Click for larger view. (NOAA)

October 20, 2016 – Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center issued the U.S. Winter Outlook today, saying that La Nina is expected to influence winter conditions this year. The Climate Prediction Center issued a La Nina watch this month, predicting the climate phenomenon is likely to develop in late fall or early winter. La Nina favors drier, warmer winters in the southern U.S and wetter, cooler conditions in the northern U.S. If La Nina conditions materialize, forecasters say it should be weak and potentially short-lived.

“This climate outlook provides the most likely outcome for the upcoming winter season, but it also provides the public with a good reminder that winter is just up ahead and it’s a good time to prepare for typical winter hazards, such as extreme cold and snowstorms,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Regardless of the outlook, there is always some chance for extreme winter weather, so prepare now for what might come later this winter.”

Other factors that often play a role in the winter weather include theArctic Oscillation, which influences the number of arctic air masses that penetrate into the South and create nor’easters on the East Coast, and the Madden-Julian Oscillation, which can affect the number of heavy rain events in the Pacific Northwest.

The 2016 U.S. Winter Outlook (December through February):

Winter 2016 - 2017 precipitation outlook. Click for larger view. (NOAA)

Winter 2016 – 2017 precipitation outlook. Click for larger view. (NOAA)


  • Wetter than normal conditions are most likely in the northern Rockies, around the Great Lakes, in Hawaii and in western Alaska
  • Drier than normal conditions are most likely across the entire southern U.S. and southern Alaska.


  • Warmer than normal conditions are most likely across the southern U.S., extending northward through the central Rockies, in Hawaii, in western and northern Alaska and in northern New England.
  • Cooler conditions are most likely across the northern tier from Montana to western Michigan.
  • The rest of the country falls into the “equal chance” category, meaning that there is not a strong enough climate signal in these areas to shift the odds, so they have an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and/or precipitation.


  • Drought will likely persist through the winter in many regions currently experiencing drought, including much of California and the Southwest
  • Drought is expected to persist and spread in the southeastern U.S. and develop in the southern Plains.
  • New England will see a mixed bag, with improvement in the western parts and persistence to the east.  
  • Drought improvement is anticipated in northern California, the northern Rockies, the northern Plains and parts of the Ohio Valley.

This seasonal outlook does not project where and when snowstorms may hit or provide total seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are dependent upon the strength and track of winter storms, which are generally not predictable more than a week in advance.  However, La Nina winters tend to favor above average snowfall around the Great Lakes and in the northern Rockies and below average snowfall in the mid-Atlantic.

NOAA produces seasonal outlooks to help communities prepare for what’s likely to come in the next few months and minimize weather’s impacts on lives and livelihoods. Empowering people with actionable forecasts and winter weather tips is key to NOAA’s effort to build aWeather-Ready Nation.

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Winter Weather Preparedness Week recap

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016 4:30am MDT
Winter Weather Preparedness Week concludes. Are you ready for winter?

Winter Weather Preparedness Week concludes. Are you ready for winter?

As we have talked about this week, winter weather can be dangerous and downright deadly.  However, being prepared helps to ensure that you and your family remain safe when the snow starts to fly or other winter weather conditions occur.

It is very easy to ignore the dangers of weather – no matter the season – and find yourself saying, “I wish I would have….” Now is the time to think about how you can prepare for these conditions, before it is too late and you find yourself wishing you had.

In this sixth and final message in a series on Winter Weather Preparedness from the National Weather Service, ThorntonWeather.com reviews the topics we covered this week and directs you to the previous articles and other resources to help you get ready.

600 AM MDT SAT OCT 22 2016

Enjoy the great outdoors in Colorado this winter season, but watch the weather.

The National Weather Service issues a variety of winter weather, outlooks, watches, warnings, and advisories, covered earlier during this Winter Weather Preparedness Week.  Safety tips were also passed along.

» Click here to read the rest of Winter Weather Preparedness Week recap

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Stunning video captures Colorado’s gorgeous fall colors

Friday, October 21st, 2016 6:22am MDT

We happened across this video recently and had to share it. Photographer Jason Hatfield is a transplant to Colorado and has spent recent years filming our fall foliage. The end result? An amazing compilation of the high country in autumn.

From Jason’s description:

For the 8 years I’ve lived in Colorado, I’ve been most enthralled by the short but incredible fall foliage season in the high country. I’ve experienced the magnificent autumn colors of the East Coast and Midwest, but nothing for me has compared to the scenes of massive mountains rising from stunning forests of gold-covered aspens. For the past 5 years of filming, I’ve had this moment in my head, a finished time-lapse piece that turns Colorado’s extraordinary fall landscapes into living art. Some years I only came away with a couple good sequences, others a lot more, and finally after this season I felt I had the work I needed to produce my vision. Please enjoy this short film that embodies everything I love about my state.

Colorado – A Living Landscape 4K from Jason Hatfield on Vimeo.

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Thornton’s weekend weather to offer lots of sun, unseasonably warm temps

Friday, October 21st, 2016 4:56am MDT

Following a couple of days of cooler weather, we now return right back to the same mild, dry conditions this month has been known for. Throughout the weekend we’ll enjoy sun above and calm and dry conditions.

For Friday we start out chilly but will be warming up nicely. Look for highs today in the low to mid-70s. Sunny to mostly sunny skies will be above.

Saturday will be the warmest and sunniest day of the three-day period. Nary a cloud should be seen as we head to a high of around the 80 degree mark.

The weekend closes out Sunday with more of the same. Sunny to mostly sunny skies will be above again and conditions dry and calm. Look for highs in the mid-70s.

Have a great weekend!

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Avalanche safety – Be prepared or die

Friday, October 21st, 2016 4:56am MDT
Avalanches claim lives every year in Colorado. Before you head to the mountains, be sure you are prepared! (Wikimedia Commons)

Avalanches claim lives every year in Colorado. Before you head to the mountains, be sure you are prepared! (Wikimedia Commons)

As snow starts to fall, many Coloradoans and out of state visitors will take advantage of it and head to the mountains for a variety of outdoor activities.  Whether skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking, anyone who spends time outdoors in the high country needs to be aware of the danger avalanches present.  On average six people die in Colorado every year from avalanches and being prepared is an essential survival skill.

In this fifth in a series on Winter Weather Preparedness from the National Weather Service, ThorntonWeather.com helps you understand avalanches, where they occur, how to protect yourself and where to go for more information.  If you are headed to the high country, be sure to check out our Avalanche Information & Forecast page.

600 AM MDT FRI OCT 21 2016

Avalanches – Are you prepared?

Thousands of avalanches occur each winter in the mountains of Colorado. With the enormous popularity of winter sports in Colorado, this poses a risk to skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, and people traveling in the backcountry. On average 6 people die in Avalanches in the state of Colorado every year. Anyone who travels into the high country in the winter should be prepared for avalanches And know how to avoid them.

The most important thing to know is how to get information on current avalanche conditions. Check the Colorado Avalanche Information Center Website at http://www.colorado.gov/avalanche for the current avalanche forecast.

Also, check the National Weather Service winter information at www.weather.gov for the current weather forecast. Knowing the current and future conditions will help you make good decisions in the backcountry.

A little information about avalanche safety can go a long way. Most avalanches occur during or just after snowstorms on a slopes between 30 to 45 degrees. A significant snowfall may result in an unstable snowpack. By waiting at least 36 hours after a big snow or wind storm before you go into the mountains the Snow may become more stable and less likely to avalanche. If you stay in valleys away from avalanche chutes, in stands of dense trees, or on gentle slopes you can decrease the risk of being caught in an avalanche.

If you are a skier or snowboarder at a commercial ski area the risk from avalanches is lower than in the backcountry. Ski patrols work to reduce the chance of an avalanche on open slopes. Respect the rules of the ski area, stay on open slopes, and do not stray out of bounds or into closed areas. The avalanche risk is higher outside of the ski area boundaries.

If you want to enjoy the great outdoors in areas prone to avalanches…You can reduce the danger by following a few simple rules:

  • Check the current avalanche forecast to get information on current and forecast avalanche conditions. Also check the latest weather forecast to see if conditions are likely to change while you are in the backcountry.
  • Never travel alone. Always have one or more companions. Even small avalanches can be fatal. If you are alone and get trapped, you may not be found until spring.
  • If crossing a slope that may be prone to avalanches, do it one person at a time. You want to minimize the impact on your party if an avalanche is accidentally released.
  • In avalanche country, all members of your party should carry avalanche rescue equipment including an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe pole. This increases your chances of a successful rescue and finding your friends alive.

Avalanche conditions in Colorado are monitored and forecasted by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, CAIC. You can get more information on avalanches, avalanche forecasts, avalanchesafety and request a safety class from CAIC. Go to their website…Http://www.colorado.gov/avalanche or call the center at 303-499-9650.

Winter Weather Preparedness Week continues through Saturday. Now is the time to get prepared for winter so you can safely enjoy the outdoors and travel safely when the snow flies.

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October 2016 top shots: Monthly photo slideshow

Thursday, October 20th, 2016 6:27am MDT
A stunning sunset starts off October 2016 in fine form. (Mary Lindow)

A stunning sunset starts off October 2016 in fine form. (Mary Lindow)

October in Thornton can bring a wide variety of weather conditions, perfect for the photographer in all of us.

The month brings the changing of the colors at Colorado’s lower elevations and it is also is typically when we see our first freeze and first snow.

Couple those facts with our usual widely varying landscapes and wildlife and we have a month that is sure to bring in plenty of photo opportunities.

  • Slideshow updated October 20, 2016
  • To learn more about how to send your photo to us for inclusion in the slideshow, see below the slideshow.

Showcasing images captured by ThorntonWeather.com 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 ThorntonWeather.com on any of the various social media outlets.  Links are provided below.

So come on, get those camera’s rolling!

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Life threatening winter weather – Wind chill, frostbite and hypothermia

Thursday, October 20th, 2016 4:59am MDT
Wind chill is a life threatening weather danger that is often ignored or underestimated. (AP Photo)

Wind chill is a life threatening weather danger that is often ignored or underestimated.

Winter weather can not only be trying on the mind and soul, it also presents very real dangers to the human body.  Extreme wind chills can be deadly and bring on the outset of frostbite and hypothermia.  Here in Colorado, all residents should be aware of these hazards and be prepared to deal with them.

In this fourth in a series on Winter Weather Preparedness from the National Weather Service, ThorntonWeather.com helps you understand wind chill and how to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia.

600 AM MDT THU OCT 20 2016

Extreme wind chill – Potentially life-threatening and often overlooked

The combination of wind and low temperature in winter can be deadly. The wind chill index helps you determine when dangerous conditions develop that could lead to frostbite or hypothermia.  It takes into account heat loss from the human body to its surroundings during cold and windy weather.  The calculation utilizes wind speed in miles per hour and temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.  For example, a temperature of minus 5 degrees occurring with a 20 mph wind gives a wind chill near minus 30 degrees.  This means that your body will lose heat at the same rate as it would if the air temperature were minus 30 degrees with no wind.  Wind chill values near minus 25 degrees mean that frostbite is possible within 15 minutes.

  • How does the wind affect wind chill?  See the chart below.

Frostbite is the freezing of skin and the body tissue just beneath it. It first affects exposed body tissue where blood circulation may be limited such as your fingers, toes, nose and ears. To minimize frostbite, make sure all body parts are well covered. When frostbite starts, feeling is lost in the affected area and the frozen tissue will take on a white or pale appearance. If you suspect you are experiencing frostbite, hold the frostbitten area closely against warm skin to return blood flow and warmth to the affected area.

Hypothermia is a dangerously low body temperature and is the most common winter weather killer. When you hear of a hiker, climber, hunter or a stranded traveler perishing from cold weather exposure, hypothermia was the cause. Most people are surprised to learn that hypothermia deaths can occur with temperatures between 30 and 50 degrees. If you or your clothing are wet, then hypothermia becomes even more likely.

Warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, slurred speech and drowsiness. Immediate medical attention should be given to victims suspected of suffering from hypothermia. If no help is available, the victim should be warmed slowly with warm liquids along with dry clothing and blankets.

The National Weather Service will issue wind chill advisories and warnings when a deadly combination of wind and cold air threaten. To learn more about wind chill, visit the national weather service internet site using lower case letters:  http://weather.gov/om/windchill.

When cold weather threatens, follow these tips for survival:

Stay dry, wet clothing results in much faster heat loss from your body. Wear waterproof insulated boots.

Stay covered, wear mittens or gloves and wear a hat. At least half of your body heat is lost if your head is not covered.

Dress layered, trapped air between loose fitting clothing helps to insulate.

Stay informed, have a portable NOAA weather radio nearby to keep you up-to-date with the latest forecasts and warnings. Use wind chill temperatures to guide you in dressing properly for the outdoors. On very cold days, minimize your exposure to the outdoors if possible.

Wind Chill Chart

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Following a cold start, Thornton to enjoy a seasonal day Thursday

Thursday, October 20th, 2016 3:59am MDT

Brrr! It is a bit cold out there this morning, eh? In fact, we registered our coldest temperature since May 2. The good news is we will be warming up nicely with temperatures topping out right near average.

We start out the day with clear skies. By late morning / early afternoon we will have a few clouds but remain mostly sunny. Temperatures will be topping out right near 64 degrees, the average high for the date.

Looking ahead, the warming trend is going to continue with highs in the 70s expected tomorrow and continuing into the first part of next week. More details in our extended forecast here.

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