May 12 to May 18: This Week in Denver Weather History
The snow is gone – almost – but as our look back at this week in Denver weather history shows, it could return. That however is unlikely and more typical spring severe weather is far more common.
From the National Weather Service:
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 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.
In 1907…the temperature warmed to a high of 73 degrees on the 12th…before a cold front produced a thunderstorm… Northeast winds sustained to 40 mph…and rain changing to light snow overnight. Snowfall totaled only 2 inches…but the high temperature on the 13th was only 39 degrees.
In 1961…a storm that covered metro Denver with rain and snow started as thunderstorms on the evening of the 12th. Hail to 1 1/2 inches in diameter was reported 10 miles northwest of Stapleton Airport. Rain continued overnight and changed to snow on the 13th. Snowfall totaled 6.4 inches and precipitation (rain and melted snow) 1.96 inches at Stapleton Airport where north winds gusted to 39 mph. The rain and heavy wet snow caused icing damage to utility lines. Heavy snow occurred in the foothills.
In 1982…a major storm dumped 1.50 to 3.50 inches of rain across northeast Colorado and deposited prodigious amounts of snow in the foothills. Coal Creek Canyon southwest of Boulder was buried under 46 inches of snow with 39 inches at Nederland. The heavy wet snow downed many power lines in the foothills. In Thornton…the roof of a school was damaged by water from the heavy rain. At Stapleton International Airport…1.49 inches of rain were measured over the two day period. The heavy rain ended a severe and prolonged drought.
In 2004…a winter storm produced heavy snow in excess of a foot in the foothills above 6 thousand feet while heavy rain fell across the city. The heaviest snow occurred in the high country of Boulder County. Storm total snowfall was 14.5 inches near Jamestown. Rainfall totaled 0.81 inch at Denver International Airport with 0.94 inch recorded at Denver Stapleton. A trace of snow was recorded at both locations. East winds gusted to 24 mph at Denver International Airport on the 12th.
In 1905…a thunderstorm produced hail during the late afternoon. Precipitation totaled 0.57 inch.
In 1912…heavy snowfall totaled 12.4 inches over the city. Most of the snow…9.9 inches…fell on the 13th…which was the greatest 24 hour snowfall in May at the time. This was the last snowfall of the season. The low temperature dipped to 27 degrees on the morning of the 14th.
In 1989…a spring storm brought heavy rain and snow to the foothills. Metro Denver was soaked with 1 to 2 inches of rain. Rainfall totaled 1.26 inches at Stapleton International Airport.
In the foothills…Echo Lake received 20 inches of snow. A 30-ton Boulder slid onto I-70 east of the Eisenhower Tunnel…closing the freeway for 2 hours.
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