December 7 to December 13: This Week in Denver Weather History
Arctic cold, heavy snow and powerful, damaging winds are the highlights in our look back at this week in Denver weather history.
From the National Weather Service:
In 1939…more than 2 weeks of unseasonably warm weather made the month the 3rd warmest on record. Seven daily temperature records were set…including the all time record high temperature for the month of 79 degrees on the 5th. Daytime highs were balmy with 14 days in the 60’s and 70’s. Low temperatures dipped to freezing or below on only 5 days. The period was dry with only a trace of snow on the 12th.
In 1972…a protracted cold spell held an icy grip on metro Denver when maximum temperatures never reached above freezing for 10 consecutive days from the 3rd through the 12th and minimum temperatures dipped below zero on eleven consecutive days from the 5th through the 15th. Daily low temperature records were set with 15 degrees below zero on the 5th…17 degrees below zero on the 6th… And 18 degrees below zero on the 10th. Daily record low maximum readings were set with 3 degrees on the 6th and 6 degrees on the 9th. The very cold temperatures were caused by 3 to 5 inches of snow cover and a Canadian air mass.
In 1978…a major storm dumped heavy snow across metro Denver. At Stapleton International Airport…snowfall totaled 8.5 inches…northeast winds gusted to 46 mph…and temperatures plunged from a high of 49 degrees on the 5th to a low of only 6 degrees on the 6th. Maximum temperature of 6 degrees on the 7th was a new daily record low maximum reading. Most of the snow…6.7 inches…fell on the 5th.
In 1983…high winds occurred in and near the foothills each day. Wind gusts to 63 mph were registered in Golden Gate Canyon on the evening of the 5th. On the evening of the 6th…winds knocked down trees…snapped power lines…and blew out windows across metro Denver. Gusts were clocked to 102 mph in southwest metro Denver…while wind gusts to 38 mph were recorded at Stapleton International Airport. On the 7th…winds overturned a tractor trailer near Castle Rock. After midnight on the 8th…gusts to 97 mph were reported in southeast Boulder. Wind speeds of 60 to 70 mph were reported in other parts of metro Denver.
In 1953…high winds buffeted the eastern foothills. Wind gusts to 80 mph occurred on Lookout Mountain. In Denver winds gusted to 65 mph. Damage in Boulder totaled 15 hundred dollars.
In 1897…west winds were sustained to 53 mph with gusts to 66 mph. The Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 62 degrees…the warmest day of the month.
In 1957…a vigorous cold front produced a dust storm as it moved south across metro Denver. West-northwest wind gusts to 59 mph were recorded at Stapleton Airport where the surface visibility was briefly reduced to 1/2 mile in blowing dust. Light snowfall of only 0.8 inch followed the passage of a secondary Canadian cold front.
In 1958…the worst wind storm in several years caused 10 thousand dollars damage in Boulder where wind gusts were estimated to 75 mph.
In 1977 winds up to 115 mph were reported in the Boulder area where one house was unroofed and another damaged. One woman was knocked down by the wind and injured. Several families were evacuated from homes in Boulder. Damage to trailers and motor vehicles was widespread. West winds gusted to 54 mph at Stapleton International Airport where the Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 64 degrees.
In 1987…strong winds buffeted the Front Range foothills. A peak gust to 93 mph was recorded at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. Nearby…a metal shed was blown over a fence into a tree two houses away. Wind gusts of 70 to 80 mph were common in Boulder.
In 1988…4 to 8 inches of snow fell across metro Denver and caused traffic gridlock conditions on area highways. The 3.9 inches of snow at Stapleton International Airport caused two-hour flight delays. Northeast winds gusted to 25 mph.
In 2005…a brief cold snap resulted in record breaking temperatures. The low temperature of 13 degrees below zero was a record minimum for the date. The high temperature of only 3 degrees was a record low maximum for the date. The cold temperatures were accompanied by 1.4 inches of light snow that was measured at Denver Stapleton overnight on the 6th and 7th.
In 1919…an apparent arctic cold front brought extreme cold and light snow to the city. Snowfall totaled only 2.5 inches on the 7th and 8th. Temperatures dipped to lows of 14 degrees below zero on the 8th and to 20 degrees below zero on the 9th. Both readings were daily record minimums. High temperatures were only 4 degrees on the 8th and 7 degrees on the 9th.
In 1923…a major storm dumped 13.5 inches of snowfall on downtown Denver. The apparent post-frontal snowfall started during the late afternoon of the 7th and continued through the evening of the 9th. Temperatures dipped from a high of 66 degrees on the 7th with west winds sustained to 35 mph to a low of only 14 degrees on the 9th…with north winds sustained to 25 mph.
In 1880…severe winds buffeted the eastern foothills…causing some damage in Boulder.
In 1987…high winds damaged a chimney and roof of a house near Bergen Park in the foothills west of Denver. Gusts were estimated to 70 mph. Northwest winds gusted to 33 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1943…4.5 inches of snow fell in downtown Denver. This was the only measurable snow of the month. North winds were sustained to 26 mph on the 8th.
In 2003…snowfall totaled 3 to 6 inches across metro Denver. Snowfall was heavier in and near the foothills with 8.0 inches measured in Boulder and 10 miles southwest of Sedalia. Snowfall was 3.9 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. Most of the snow fell on the 8th…as the snow ended shortly after midnight. North winds gusted to 29 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 2008…an upslope snowstorm produced heavy snow in and near the foothills of Boulder…Jefferson and Douglas counties… And along the palmer divide south of Denver. Storm totals in the foothills ranged from 8 to 15 inches. In Boulder and in areas west and south of Denver…storm totals ranged from 6 to 13 inches. The snowfall measurement at Denver International Airport was 3.9 inches.
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