May 19 to May 25: This Week in Denver Weather History
Severe weather takes to the forefront in our look back at this week in Denver weather history. We see many historical flooding events that were commonplace in the late 19th / early 20th century before controls were put in place. Almost everyone will recall the Windsor tornado, an EF3 monster that struck the town five years ago.
From the National Weather Service:
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.
In 1915…3.9 inches of snow fell in the city. The estimated amount of snow that melted as it fell was 6.2 inches which would have totaled an estimated 10.1 inches of snowfall. Precipitation totaled 1.03 inches. North winds were sustained to 32 mph on the 18th. Low temperatures dipped to 25 degrees on both the 18th and 20th…establishing record minimums for both dates.
In 1988…prolonged heavy rainfall drenched metro Denver. The event began when heavy thunderstorms on the 18th caused some street flooding and power outages…followed by steady rain on the 19th and 20th. Rain amounts across metro Denver totaled 3 to 4 inches. Rainfall totaled 3.71 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 39 mph on the 20th. Four to eight inches of snow fell in the foothills above 7 thousand feet.
In 1927…southeast winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 44 mph.
In 1956…a thunderstorm wind gust to 54 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1969…hail stones to 1 inch in diameter were measured in Arvada and Aurora. Some minor damage was reported. Pea to marble size hail fell in Westminster.
In 1972…a tornado was reported by aircraft about 5 to 10 miles east of Parker.
In 1988…lightning started a fire at a house in the Denver suburb of greenwood village…causing 2 thousand dollars in damage.
In 1991…strong thunderstorms over east metro Denver produced wind gusts of 56 to 60 mph. The strong winds downed power lines…trees…and fences at some locations in Aurora. Thunderstorm outflow winds gusted to 60 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1994…severe thunderstorms rumbled across metro Denver. The storms produced wind gusts averaging 65 mph and hail up to dime size. Wind gusts to 77 mph were recorded in Brighton. Numerous trees and power poles were downed by the winds. One power pole fell onto spectators at a high school graduation ceremony in Commerce City…injuring 6 people. In Fort Lupton…trees fell onto 2 parked cars… Knocking out the windshields. Hail to 3/4 inch in diameter was reported in Littleton. A thunderstorm wind gust to 52 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1995…a slow moving tornado…which was mainly discernible by its dust and debris cloud…was spotted 2 miles northeast of Denver International Airport or about 10 miles northwest of Bennett. No damage was reported.
In 2007…lightning struck a 33-ft statue of Jesus at Mother Cabrini Shrine…in the foothills west of Golden. The blast broke off one of the statue’s arms and a hand…and also damaged a foot. It cost an estimated $200000 to repair.
In 2009…lightning struck the roof of a residence in Highlands Ranch. The home was not a total loss…but the fire caused extensive damage.
In 2010…a thunderstorm produced hail up to 7/8 inch in diameter in Thornton.
In 1864…a devastating major flash flood occurred on the normally dry and sandy Cherry Creek in Denver. The flood was caused by heavy thunderstorm rainfall and hail over the palmer ridge to the south of the city in both the Cherry Creek and plum creek basins. Nineteen deaths occurred along the South Platte River and Cherry Creek in Denver. The torrent swept cattle and sheep along with large trees and houses before it washing out several bridges…and moving large structures from their foundations. All city records were destroyed when city hall washed away. The rocky mountain news building…built on stilts in the middle of the creek…was totally destroyed by the raging waters…which were as deep as 5 feet on the morning of the 20th. Once the flood waters receded…much sand and gravel was left behind. Property damage from the flood was estimated at nearly one million dollars. This was the first major flood of record in the city.
» Click here to read the rest of May 19 to May 25: This Week in Denver Weather History