Thornton, Colorado, USA
UpdatedSun, 04-Dec-2016 11:15am MST 


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Fall Colors 2016: Top spots to view the golden foliage near the Front Range

Saturday, September 24th, 2016 5:00am MST
The leaves in the high country are changing and certainly give meaning to the moniker 'Colorful Colorado.' (ThorntonWeather.com)

The leaves in the high country are changing and certainly give meaning to the moniker ‘Colorful Colorado.’ (ThorntonWeather.com)

This time of year many folks start thinking about heading to the hills west of Denver in search of gold – fall foliage gold.

Where to go?  Below are five of ThorntonWeather.com’s favorite ones near Denver – plus a few further out and some bonus ideas.  After that, we will tell you where you can find a great website that provides regular updates on viewing conditions.


I-70 Corridor – If you’re looking for the easiest route, then this one is for you.  Simply head west on I-70 about 110 miles to Avon.  Between Vail and Avon, both sides of I-70 are lined beautifully with aspen.

Rocky Mountain National Park – One of the most popular summer destinations in the state is of course also a prime spot to view aspen in all their glory.  Once in the park head toward Bear Lake.  Glacier Gorge Junction provides a beautiful spot and you of course also get to enjoy all the splendor that Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer.  Extend your viewing by taking Trail Ridge Road all the way through to the west side of the park and the Grand Lake and Granby area.

Peak to Peak Highway – This little road trip can be a dual purpose trip – gambling and fall foliage viewing!  Take U.S. 6 through Clear Creek Canyon and then 119 through Blackhawk and Central City.  You can of course stop there if your wallet is fat enough and donate some money to the casinos.  From there continue on 119 toward Nederland.  Take highway 72 toward Ward and Allenspark.  There you will find more golden aspen than you can imagine, all with the Continental Divide nearby.

Colorado Fall Foliage - Average Date of Peak Aspen Colors. Click for larger view. (ThorntonWeather.com)

Colorado Fall Foliage – Average Date of Peak Aspen Colors. Click for larger view. (ThorntonWeather.com)

Poudre Valley Canyon –  Heading north on I-25 take Colorado 14 west and into Poudre Canyon and Roosevelt National Forest.  As you continue west you will come very near timberline as you come to Cameron Pass.  Amazing views abound!

Guanella Pass – This is a nice, relatively short drive from Denver.  From C470 take 85 through Bailey and Conifer, a nice drive unto itself.  When you come to the town of Grant, take the Guanella Pass Scenic and Historic Byway north to Georgetown.  The air is pretty thin along the way as you climb in excess of 11,500 views through the Pike and Arapahoe National Forests.  Fair warning – about 10 miles of the road is gravel but it is well maintained.

A couple other possibilities further from the Front Range:

Leadville / Aspen – From Denver take I-70 west to Copper Mountain and then Colorado 91 south over Freemont Pass to Leadville. Along the way there are plenty of viewing opportunities and Leadville is a nice little town to make a stop. From here you can take Highway 24 north back through Minturn and Vail. To extend the drive, take Highway 24 south to Colorado 82 and head toward Aspen. You can stop by the Maroon Bells in White River National Forest to view some of the most photographed mountains in Colorado.

Cottonwood Pass – From Denver take Highway 285 to Buena Vista. Head west on Main Street for seven miles then west on County Road 344 / Colorado 82. From there you start the climb up Cottonwood Pass with absolutely stunning views from the top. If you are up for it, you can continue down the west side of the pass into the Taylor Park area. Be forewarned though that the western half of the pass is unpaved and twisty.

Honorable mentions worth considering:

  • Boreas Pass between Breckenridge and Como (County Road 10)
  • Kenosha Pass on Highway 285 between Bailey and Fairplay
  • Independence Pass (Colorado 82 between Aspen and Twin Lakes)
  • Colorado 103 from Evergreen to Echo Lake. Throw in a drive up Mount Evans for a bonus.

If you do head out, be sure to send us your pictures for inclusion in our monthly photo slideshows!

For more information:

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Thornton’s weekend starts mild, will end much cooler

Friday, September 23rd, 2016 5:11am MST

The three-day period is going to feature some distinctly varying weather conditions. We will start out quite mild with temps well above normal but close things out with very autumn like weather and much cooler temps.

For Friday we will enjoy mostly sunny skies above as we head toward a high temperature in the low to mid-80s. A low pressure system will be moving across the western part of the state and the strong flow from it will bring gusty winds from late morning into tonight. The low humidity, dry fuels and wind will lead to an increased fire danger and a Red Flag Warning is in effect until 8:00pm so please be careful. The afternoon and evening bring us just a slight chance for thunderstorm activity.

The low pressure system continues tracking to our northwest and north but also brings down a cold front Saturday into Sunday. This will bring much cooler temperatures tomorrow with highs down near 70 degrees. We should see a good bit of sun during the day though and just a bit of breezy winds. Tomorrow evening overnight into Sunday morning there will be a slight chance for some light rain, unfortunately not much of a chance and if any does fall, it isn’t expected to amount to much.

Sunday will bring a definite taste of fall. We’ll see a mix of sun and clouds but most notable will be the temperatures. Look for highs to close out the weekend at only around 60 degrees.

Have a great weekend!

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First day of fall brings above normal temps, slight chance for storms

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 4:04am MST

Hello, autumn! The season arrives with weather conditions similar to what we saw yesterday but with a bit more sun.

We start out the day with partly sunny skies and some areas of patchy fog to watch out for. There will be a bit of an increase in cloud cover later this morning followed by some clearly with mostly to partly sunny skies for the afternoon.

From mid-afternoon into the evening we see just a slight chance for thunderstorms. Temperatures will be topping out in the low to mid-80s with much depending on the amount of cloud cover.

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Temperatures cool a bit for Wednesday, clouds remain

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016 4:59am MST

Not much of a change in Thornton’s weather for today although we will see slightly cooler mercury readings. The clouds will remain and we stand just a slight chance to see some showers.

We start out the day under mostly cloudy skies and while they will ease a bit as the day progresses, we’ll have filtered sun most of the day. This morning a few sprinkles of rain may be seen early on.

Temperatures today will be climbing to the low to mid-80s, an improvement over the upper 80s of recent days. Some thunderstorm and shower activity will be possible this afternoon but most likely will be confined to areas west and south of us.

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Thornton’s Tuesday continues the heat, brings more clouds

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 4:50am MST

There will be no rest for the heat-weary today as we expect another day with unseasonably warm temperatures. We will have a good bit of cloud cover due to Tropical Storm Paine, now churning off the coast of Baja, as it spins upper level moisture our way.

We start out the day with partly sunny skies and will see gradual increases in the coverage leading to mostly cloudy skies by late afternoon. While Paine brings us clouds, we are not expecting any moisture so it will be another dry one. Temperatures today will be similar to yesterday with highs topping out in the upper 80s.

Keep an eye on the thermometer here.

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Lots of sun, very warm temperatures start Thornton’s workweek

Monday, September 19th, 2016 5:00am MST

With high pressure cemented over the region, we are going to see a very warm day today with dry conditions. Similar conditions will be with us for the first half of the week before a trough digs in and a series of cold fronts cool things off for the weekend.

For today we start out the day with clear skies. With dry conditions aloft, expect to see plenty of sun with few clouds throughout the day. Temperatures today will be pushing toward the 90 degree mark. That is well above the average of 77 degrees for the date but also well below the record of 96 degrees.

Get the extended forecast here.

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September 18 to September 24: This week in Denver weather history

Sunday, September 18th, 2016 8:39am MST
This Week In Denver Weather History

September 18 to September 24: This week in Denver weather history

The calendar may still say it is summer for a few more days but our look back at this week in Denver weather history shows that Old Man Winter can still make an appearance.

From the National Weather Service:


In 1906…rain on 5 consecutive days totaled 1.61 inches. A thunderstorm occurred on the 17th. High temperatures ranged from 48 degrees on the 16th to 65 degrees on the 15th. Low temperatures were in the lower to mid 40’s.


In 1971…a record breaking early fall snow storm caused extensive damage to trees and utility lines. The heavy wet snow occurred with little wind…but caused record breaking cold temperatures for so early in the season. Snowfall totaled 15.6 inches at Stapleton International Airport with most of the snowfall…12.0 inches…occurring on the 17th. This was the heaviest first snow of the season. The maximum snow depth on the ground was 13 inches. Record low temperatures were set on three consecutive days: 31 degrees on the 17th…23 degrees on the 18th…and 20 degrees on the 19th…which was also a new all-time record minimum for the month at that time. Record low maximum temperatures were set on 4 consecutive days: 48 degrees on the 16th…35 degrees on the 17th…40 degrees on the 18th… And 42 degrees on the 19th.


In 1901…northeast winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts to 50 mph behind an apparent cold front.

In 1948…the low temperature cooled to only 69 degrees…the all-time record high minimum for the month.

In 1988…a strong cold front blasted metro Denver with high winds. Gusts reached 82 mph in Longmont and 81 mph at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield where the winds flipped over and destroyed a small airplane. Wind gusts to 60 mph were recorded in Boulder and Wheat Ridge. West wind gusts to 54 mph were clocked at Stapleton International Airport. The strong winds downed trees and power lines and damaged homes and cars. A Longmont man was slightly injured…when a tree fell on top of his car.

In 1990…a slow moving thunderstorm over southwest metro Denver spawned an ominous looking funnel cloud near the intersection of Sheridan Blvd. and U.S. Highway 285. The funnel cloud nearly touched down a few times before lifting back into the main cloud. No damage was reported. Pea to marble size hail and 3/4 inch of rain fell over central and northeast Denver. Numerous streets and underpasses became flooded on Denver’s south side when the heavy runoff backed up storm sewers. Thunderstorm rainfall totaled 1.02 inches at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1993…a severe thunderstorm rolled through southeast metro Denver. Dime size hail was reported in many areas. Straight-line winds from the thunderstorm…measured by a weather spotter at 70 mph…tore the roof off 6 apartments of an apartment complex in Aurora. Heavy rain which accompanied the winds caused major damage to the apartments as well as the contents. Many trees…fences… And power poles were knocked down by the strong winds. Heavy rain flooded roadways in Denver and Aurora. Thunderstorm rainfall totaled 1.08 inches and north winds gusted to 44 mph at Stapleton International Airport where the visibility was briefly reduced to as low as 1/4 mile in heavy rain.

In 1996…a late summer snowstorm struck the northern mountains and Front Range eastern foothills. Golden Gate Canyon received 6 inches of new snow with 5 inches reported at both Nederland and Blackhawk. Thunderstorms produced heavy rain across metro Denver…which was mixed with snow by late evening. Rainfall totaled 0.83 inch at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport and 1.22 inches at Denver International Airport where northwest winds gusted to 39 mph.


In 1955…heavy rains caused flash flooding across portions of metro Denver. Rainfall totaled 1.71 inches at Stapleton Airport.


In 1955…hail stones to 2 1/2 inches in diameter were reported north of Denver. The large stones broke many automobile windshields.

In 1963…hail to 3/4 inch in diameter fell in Westminster.

In 1983…an unusually strong cold front roared through metro Denver during the afternoon hours. At Stapleton International Airport…the temperature dropped 51 degrees… From a sunny 86 degrees to a snowy 35 degrees…in just 7 hours. Strong winds and a wall of blowing dust followed the front. Northeast winds gusting to 36 mph briefly reduced the surface visibility to 1 mile in blowing dust at Stapleton International Airport where only a trace of snow fell later.

In 1996…high winds gusting to 84 mph were measured at Golden Gate Canyon in the foothills west of Denver. West winds gusted to only 25 mph at Denver International Airport.

» Click here to read the rest of September 18 to September 24: This week in Denver weather history

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Thornton’s weekend weather starts cool, ends quite warm

Friday, September 16th, 2016 5:42am MST

We are going to see some cool, comfortable temperatures to start the three-day period with just a slight chance for storms. The weekend ends with dry conditions and temperatures well above normal.

For Friday, we start with sunny skies then will see just a few clouds later. Temperatures today will be topping out in the low to mid-70s. The afternoon and evening bring a slight chance for thunderstorms.

Saturday looks to be almost identical to today other than the fact it will be warmer. Look for highs right near normal for this time of year with a slight chance for PM storms.

High pressure builds again Sunday and that will lead to rising mercury. Temperatures will be reaching the mid-80s as we remain dry.

Have a great weekend!

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Thornton residents launch petition to put retail marijuana on the ballot

Thursday, September 15th, 2016 8:17am MST
A majority of Thornton City Council has chosen to allow drugs into our community but a group of citizens is working to reverse that.

A majority of Thornton City Council has chosen to allow drugs into our community but a group of citizens is working to reverse that.

What to do when your elected officials ignore the will of the people?  The people take it into their own hands.

Last month, Thornton City Council voted to allow retail and medical marijuana stores in the city despite overwhelming opposition by citizens.

What they should have done, if not reject it, is at least put it on the ballot so the people could have their say.

Now a group of citizens is trying to do just that – let the people have their say. It will take 6,900 signatures to get the issue on this November’s ballot and the signatures must be turned in by Monday.  It is a tall order but not impossible.

  • Editor’s note: While we wholly support the effort to put this issue on the ballot (and deliver a slap down to city council), Thornton Weather is not involved with the effort.  We are merely getting the word out.

Below are details on where you can go to sign the petition.  With time so short, the community needs you to seek out the petition and get your name on it.  Please visit one of the locations below!

Dear fellow Thornton citizens,

About three weeks ago, in a five to four vote, our City Council passed an ordinance allowing marijuana stores and test facilities within our city. This is a link to the ordinance.

Due to the significance of this issue, we think it should be put to a citywide vote. Therefore, we are sponsoring a petition that, with enough signatures, would enable you, the voters, to have a voice in the matter.

Time is short. If the petition containing at least 6,900 signatures of registered voters living in Thornton is not submitted by September 22nd the ordinance becomes law. If you want the council to reconsider, it is imperative that you EXERCISE YOUR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS AND SIGN THE PETITION ALLOWING THE MATTER TO BE DECIDED BY THOSE MOST AFFECTED – YOU. Make your voice heard.
(See end of message for locations to sign petition.)

Finally, PLEASE email this open letter to anyone you know who might also oppose the idea that the nine members of the city council will have final say over the future of the 100,000 people in Thornton. PLEASE give everyone a chance to exercise their constitutional rights.

You are also welcomed to visit our Facebook page for more information,https://www.facebook.com/ThorntonsVoice.

Thank you,
Arend Visher
Charles Peraino
Thornton, CO

Places to sign petition:

· THURSDAY, 15 September from 9 – 11 AM; WHERE: Carpenter Rec Center (main entrance) on 112th Ave and Colorado Blvd, Thornton, CO
· SATURDAY, 17 September, Pretty much all day; WHERE: Trailwinds Park at 13385 Holly St, Thornton, CO
· SATURDAY, 17 September in the Evening; WHERE: Crossroads Church Northglenn at 10451 Huron St, Northglenn, CO
· SATURDAY, 17 September in the Evening; WHERE: Crossroads Church Thornton at 53 E 128th Ave, Thornton, CO
· SUNDAY, 18 September in the Morning; WHERE: Crossroads Church Northglenn at 10451 Huron St, Northglenn, CO
· SUNDAY, 18 September in the Morning; WHERE: Crossroads Church Thornton at 53 E 128th Ave, Thornton, CO

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Thornton’s Thursday offers pleasant temps, slight chance for storms

Thursday, September 15th, 2016 5:00am MST

A good looking Thursday in store for us. Temperatures will be close to normal today with a good bit of sun, perhaps a late thunderstorm.

We start out the day with mostly sunny skies then will see cloud coverage increase by late morning into the afternoon. Thunderstorm activity is expected to be primarily well north of us but we can’t rule out an isolate cell moving across the area after about 2:00pm.

In terms of temperatures, we start out cool but will be warming up nicely with readings close to the average for the date of 79 degrees.

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