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Thornton’s February 2021 weather preview: Temps begin to warm, snow can be elusive

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021 7:36am MDT

February in Colorado typically brings to an end an extended period when average temperatures are at their lowest. Winter begins to loosen its grip and temperatures get warmer but precipitation is not a particularly common event during the month.

Thus far, our snow season has been a bit of a disappointment. Things looked hopeful at the start but the last couple of months have seen things really lag .  February is only our sixth snowiest month so we may not see much improvement in the seasonal totals this month.

Temperatures however do usually see a nice rebound during the month. Average high temperatures climb from an average of 44 degrees at the start to 50 degrees by the end of February.

For the complete February preview including a look at historical averages and extremes as well as a look at what long range forecasts are predicting, click here. 

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Mild temperatures, breezy winds Wednesday with a cold front arriving late

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021 5:23am MDT

Hopefully you have enjoyed the relatively warmth of the last few days. Today, we begin to see things chill out although at this time it doesn’t appear it will be particularly extreme and moisture will be lacking.

The day starts out with mostly sunny skies then this afternoon brings an increase in cloud cover. Winds will be becoming breezy by about mid-morning and an approaching front starts to make itself felt. Look for those breezy winds to be with us for the next 36 hours or so. Temperatures will be mild today with highs again reaching the low 60s.

The front will arrive this evening and with it, we may see a bit of light rain before midnight. Then, as overnight temperatures drop, a little bit of snow will be possible. Only minimal, if any, accumulations are expected. Any precipitation should end in the pre-dawn hours tomorrow. Overnight lows will be dropping to the mid-20s under mostly cloudy skies.

Looking further ahead, temperatures at or below normal are going to be the rule well into next week. Unfortunately, moisture is not going to be much of a part of the equation. See the extended forecast here.

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January 31 to February 6: This week in Denver weather history

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021 5:07am MDT

This Week in Denver Weather History

Winds can be a blessing and a curse this time of year.  Chinook winds can help warm what is otherwise a normally chilly season.  They can also cause a great deal of damage as they pick up speed as they come roaring across the Front Range.  While we have been lucky thus far this year and not had damaging wind events, looking back at this week in Denver weather history one can’t help but think that maybe it is just a matter of time before they strike.

26-1

In 1888…a protracted warm spell lasted a week.  Maximum temperatures ranged from 62 degrees on the 29th to an all time record high for the month of 76 degrees on the 27th.  Daily record high temperatures of 76…69…and 71 occurred on the 27th…28th…and 30th respectively. Record high minimum temperatures of 47 and 34 occurred on the 26th and 27th.

27-31

In 1951…a major storm dumped 10.1 inches of snowfall at Stapleton Airport.  Most of the snow…8.3 inches…fell on the 29th.  Cold arctic air accompanied the snow.  Several temperature records were set…including record low maximum temperatures of 4 on the 28th and 4 below zero on the 29th and record low temperatures of 12 below zero on the 29th and 24 below zero on the 31st.  Temperatures were below zero for 45 consecutive hours.

29-31

In 1883…a major winter storm dumped 19.3 inches of snow on downtown Denver.  Most of the snow…12.2 inches…fell on the 31st.  This was the heaviest snowfall to hit the city in years.  Temperatures plunged from a high of 52 degrees on the 29th to a low of 13 degrees on the 31st. Precipitation from the storm totaled 2.23 inches.  The 1.22 inches of precipitation on the 31st was the greatest calendar day and 24 hour precipitation ever recorded in the city during the month of January.

30-31

In 1908…an apparent strong cold front plunged temperatures 45 degrees in 24 hours from 47 degrees at noon on the 30th to only 2 degrees at noon on the 31st.  North winds were sustained to 30 mph on the 30th.  Snowfall was only 0.8 inch on the 31st.

In 1965…a major storm dumped 10.4 inches of snow over metro Denver.  After 5 inches of snow fell in Boulder… Strong Chinook winds developed…warming the temperature 25 degrees in 90 minutes.  Wind gusts to 97 mph were recorded on Table Mountain in Boulder.  Winds gusts to 53 mph were measured in downtown Boulder where some damage occurred.  Minor wind damage also occurred in western suburbs of Denver.  West winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 31st.

In 2005…a winter storm brought heavy snow to the Front Range foothills.  Storm totals included:  17 inches at Aspen Springs…13 inches 7 miles southwest of Boulder and at Lake Eldora…12.5 inches near Blackhawk…11.5 inches at Rollinsville and near Nederland…11 inches near Evergreen and Golden and at Gross Reservoir…and 10 inches at Cabin Creek.  Lesser amounts of snow fell over the city.  Only 1.9 inches of snow were measured overnight at Denver Stapleton.  North winds gusted to 30 mph at Denver International Airport…where freezing fog during the early morning of the 30th reduced the surface visibility to as low as 1/8 mile.  Light rainfall… Rare in January…totaled 0.06 inch at Denver Stapleton on the early morning of the 30th.

30-7

In 1985…a cold front on the 29th produced a protracted cold spell as arctic air remained entrenched across metro Denver. While the only daily temperature record set was a low maximum reading of 2 degrees on February 3rd…minimum temperatures plunged well below zero on 9 consecutive days. The coldest readings were 15 degrees below zero on January 31st and 14 degrees below zero on February 5th.

31

In 1876…hurricane force winds caused some damage in Boulder.

In 1951…the low temperature plunged to 24 degrees below zero.

In 1933…snowfall was 0.2 inch in downtown Denver.  This was the only measurable snowfall of the month and resulted in 0.01 inch of melted snow…the only measurable precipitation of the month.

In 1964…high winds blew down a sidewalk cover where a building was under construction…injuring a young woman. Three men were injured when a brick wall at a construction site toppled on them.  All were treated for face…leg…and neck injuries.  A west-northwest wind gust to 47 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1969…high winds struck Boulder with gusts to 115 mph recorded at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and 83 mph in downtown Boulder.  Schools were closed because of danger from flying debris.  Some damage and minor injuries occurred.  Northwest winds gusted to 35 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1985…bitterly cold weather froze pipes and cars and forced some schools to close across metro Denver.  Minimum temperatures dipped to as low as 15 below to 20 below zero across metro Denver.  The low temperature was 15 below zero at Stapleton International Airport.

31-1

In 1963…high winds struck metro Denver.  The strong Chinook winds reached 101 mph in Littleton…80 mph in Denver…and 90 mph at Rocky Flats.  Among the hardest hit areas were Boulder where buildings under construction were blown down…porches and roofs blown off buildings…and power lines damaged.  Damage totaled 100 thousand dollars in Boulder alone.

In other areas…utility lines were damaged and many signs…antennas…and road markers were blown down.  At Stapleton Airport…west winds gusted to 44 mph on the 31st and 66 mph on the 1st.  The Chinook winds warmed maximum temperatures to 65 degrees on the 31st and to 70 degrees on the 1st.

31-8

In 1963…warm weather that began with the strong Chinook winds on the 31st and 1st continued through the 8th. Maximum temperatures through the period ranged from 52 degrees on the 2nd to 76 degrees on the 5th…which was a new record high for that date.

31-12

In 1899…a protracted cold spell lasted almost two weeks. Low temperatures plunged below zero on all days but February 9th with a reading of 6 degrees.  The coldest low temperature of 22 degrees below zero on February 6th was a record low for the date.  Low temperatures of 20 degrees below zero occurred on both February 11th and 12th… But only the 11th remains as the record minimum for the date.  High temperature of only 5 degrees below zero on February 11th was a record low maximum for the date.  High temperatures climbed to only zero degrees on both February 2nd and 3rd…but were not records.

Intermittent light snow or flurries fell during the period.  The most snowfall…2.0 inches…occurred on February 2nd.

1

In 1904…northwest winds were sustained to 51 mph with gusts to 60 mph.  The Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 55 degrees.

In 1907…west winds sustained to 42 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 59 degrees.

In 1932…the temperature rose from a low of 8 degrees at 7:00 am to the high of 58 degrees at 2:30 pm.  The biggest jump occurred from 16 degrees at 8:00 am to 42 degrees at 9:10 am.

In 1951…the lowest recorded temperature in February…25 degrees below zero…occurred.  The same temperature was also reached on February 8…1936.

In 1963…west-southwest winds gusted to 66 mph at Stapleton Airport where the strong Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a maximum of 70 degrees.

In 1970…snowfall of 0.3 inch contained only 0.01 inch of melted snow.  This was the only measurable snow and precipitation for the month…making it the driest and least snowiest February on record.  Snowfall also was only 0.3 inch on February 22-23…1992…equaling the least snowiest February.

In 1980…high winds occurred in the foothills.  Wind gusts to 75 mph were reported at Wondervu.  Northwest winds gusted to 32 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1995…a short blast of early morning winds near the foothills produced a gust to 64 mph at Rocky Flats in northern Jefferson County.  Winds gusting to 59 mph in Lakewood downed a few tree branches in residential areas. West winds gusted to 37 mph at Stapleton International Airport where the warm winds kept the temperature from falling below 43 degrees…setting a new record high minimum for the date.  The temperature climbed to a non-record high of 63 degrees.

1-2

In 1934…light Chinook winds warmed temperatures to record levels on both days.  Record maximum temperatures reached 73 degrees on the 1st and 74 degrees on the 2nd. West winds were sustained to 18 mph on the 1st.

In 2016…a slow moving storm system produced a deep east to northeasterly upslope flow late in the afternoon of the 1st.  Moderate to heavy snowfall continued through the evening across the rest of Front Range Mountains…Foothills and adjacent plains. Extensive blowing and drifting snow occurred along the Palmer Divide and adjacent plains. Snowdrifts 3 to 6 ft deep were observed. Numerous roads and highways were closed east of the I-25 overnight…including I-70 and I-76…as the roadways became impassable. The road closures continued through the morning of the 2nd as bands of light to moderate snow…with gusty winds to 35 mph persisted. The roads were reopened the afternoon of the 2nd. At Denver International Airport…480 flights were cancelled on the 1st and an additional 125 flights on the 2nd. The official snowfall measurement at Denver International Airport was 11.6 inches…which set a new record for greatest snowfall for the first two days of February.  In the mountains and foothills…storm totals included: 25 inches near Eldorado Springs…24 inches at Genesee and 12.5 miles northwest of Golden…22.5 inches near Nederland…21 inches near Pinecliffe…16.5 inches near Brookvale…14 inches at Intercanyon…13 inches near Berthoud…Echo Mountain and Tiny Town; 12 inches near Conifer and Eldora Ski Area…11 inches at Roxborough State Park…9.5 inches near Golden…9 inches near Bergen Park and Strontia Springs Dam…and 8 inches near Black Hawk.  Across the I-25 Corridor…storm totals included: 19.5 inches near Parker…15 inches near Loveland…14.5 inches near Louisville…14 inches in Arvada and Ken Caryl…13 inches near Federal Heights…Northglenn and Ralston Reservoir; 12 inches in Broomfield…near Buckley AFB…Castle Rock…Erie and Highlands Ranch; 11.5 inches near Westminster…11 inches in southeast Denver…north Longmont…Lafayette and Mead; 10 inches near Aurora… Franktown and Wheat Ridge; 9.5 inches in Thornton…and 9 inches at Frederick.

In 2017…widespread freezing drizzle contributed to numerous road closures and accidents across the Denver area and adjacent plains. Several crashes were reported on Interstate 25…and several cities and counties went on accident alert. Up to 32 delays at Denver International Airport. Numerous school delay openings and some school and business closures were reported over northeast Colorado.

1-3

In 1996…cold arctic air plunged temperatures below zero for more than 35 consecutive hours from late on the 1st until sunrise on the 3rd.  The temperature warmed to only 1 degree below zero on the 2nd after a record low of 16 degrees below zero.

1-4

In 2011…a frigid arctic airmass settled into Front Range urban corridor. At Denver International Airport… Overnight low temperatures…from the 1st to the 3rd… Were 13 below zero…17 below zero and zero respectively. The icy temperatures caused pipes to crack and burst following the freeze. In Loveland…firefighters responded to more than a dozen water pipe breaks…most in fire sprinkler systems at businesses…apartments and assisted care facilities. At CU Earth Science Library in Boulder…more than 1000 books and several costumes for an upcoming production were damaged. At the county courts administration building in Jefferson County…a steady stream of water from a crack on the 5th floor… Went unnoticed on the 3rd and flooded all the floors of the administration wing overnight. As a result…much of the office equipment…furniture and carpet sustained water damage. A burst sprinkler line caused minor damage at the Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton. The icy temperatures forced to closure of several school districts as well.

1-5

In 1985…the most bitter cold spell of the winter season brought sub-zero temperatures to metro Denver.  Daily low temperature records were broken at Denver.  The usual cold weather problems struck including stalled vehicles…jammed traffic lights…and frozen water and sewer lines.  At Stapleton International Airport…the high temperature was only 2 degrees above zero on the 1st…setting a record low maximum for the date.  Low temperatures reached 13 below zero on the 1st…12 below on the third…and 14 below on the 5th.

1-6

In 1989…one of the century’s worst doses of winter weather ravaged the entire state.  Bitterly frigid weather moved into metro Denver on the 1st as snow buried many sections of the state.

In metro Denver where 3 to 6 inches of snow fell…blowing snow and resultant poor visibilities caused a 46-car pile-up on I-25 in the middle of the city on the 4th.  During the period…2 to 3 hour delays were common at Stapleton International Airport where snowfall from the storm totaled 4.3 inches and northeast winds gusted to 30 mph on the 1st.

Intense cold accompanied the storm. Temperatures in Denver stayed below zero continuously for the best part of 3 days (3rd…4th…5th)…for a total of 69 hours.  This is the fourth longest sub-zero period on record.  Wind chill temperatures reached 50 degrees below zero.  The mercury dipped to 24 degrees below zero on the 5th…setting a record for the date.  This was the city’s coldest temperature in over 26 years.  Low temperatures dipped below zero on 8 consecutive days (2nd-9th).  High temperature of 9 degrees below zero on the 4th was a record low maximum for the date…as was the high of 5 degrees on the 5th.  Extensive damage occurred when pipes and water lines froze and broke.  Thousands of cars failed to start. On the 3rd…a 57-year-old woman died of hypothermia in an Arvada park.  Eighteen high school students were treated for hypothermia after a 2-hour ride through Jefferson County in an unheated bus.  At least 2 cases of frostbite were reported; there were undoubtedly many more.

1-9

In 1883…a protracted cold period occurred when low temperatures dipped below zero for 9 consecutive days. Low temperatures ranged from 22 degrees below zero on the 4th to 2 degrees below zero on the 1st and 6th.  High temperatures ranged from 10 below zero on the 3rd to 23 on the 9th.  Several temperature records were set that still stand today.  Record lows of 18 below and 22 below zero occurred on the 3rd and 4th.  Record low maximum readings of 2 below and 10 below zero occurred on the 2nd and 3rd.  The high of only 10 below zero on the 3rd is the coldest maximum temperature ever recorded in Denver.

» Click here to read the rest of January 31 to February 6: This week in Denver weather history

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Tuesday in Thornton to offer up mild temperatures, a good dose of sun

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021 5:04am MDT

As we enter the latter half of winter, we begin to get a slight taste of the warmer weather to come. Today will see mercury readings nearly 20 degrees above normal with calm, dry conditions.

Sunny skies start us off and will be with us through most of the day. A few clouds will arrive by mid-afternoon or so. Temperatures will see a relatively quick climb and head toward a high in the low to mid-60s.

Tonight, partly cloudy skies will be above with overnight lows in the mid-30s.

We continue to monitor two approaching storm system that are set to return us to our regularly scheduled winter. One arrives late tomorrow, the other Saturday. Neither is looking too impressive at this time. However, we will stand a chance to see some snow and temperatures are going to cool considerably. Have a peek at our long range forecast for more.

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First day of February brings mild temperatures, a good bit of cloud cover

Monday, February 1st, 2021 5:06am MDT

Not too bad of a way to start the workweek. Thornton will see temperatures above normal although there will also be some clouds.

Partly sunny skies will be the general rule throughout the day as there will be a good bit of moisture aloft and a possible wave cloud. High temperatures today should climb close to the mid-50s despite the clouds. Overall conditions will be calm and dry.

Tonight, partly cloudy skies will be above with overnight lows dropping to around freezing.

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January 2021 top shots: Monthly photo slideshow

Sunday, January 31st, 2021 4:50pm MDT
A bald eagle fishes a pond in Thornton. (Ed Dalton)

A bald eagle fishes a pond in Thornton. (Ed Dalton)

As one of our coldest months, January can be a good month to hibernate inside and avoid the outdoors.  But, like any month in Colorado, photo opportunities abound as our monthly slideshow demonstrates.

Snow is not normally dominant in the month but when it does fall, it can create a beautiful blanket of white.  Throw in the amazing sunrises and sunsets we receive in the middle of winter as well as wildlife and a host of other subjects and the imagery can be quite beautiful and stunning.

  • Slideshow updated January 31, 2021
  • 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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Thornton’s weekend to see above normal temps, dry conditions

Friday, January 29th, 2021 4:24am MDT

A pretty typical late January weekend ahead for Thornton. We start out relatively mild then will see a day with wind and temps closer to normal followed by a calm Sunday.

For Friday, there will be some moisture aloft giving us a few clouds. It will be quite mild with highs in the mid to upper 50s if the cold of the snow cover can be overcome. Tonight, skies will be mostly cloudy with overnight lows in the upper 20s.

Saturday will see a pressure gradient aid in generating some breezy, northwest winds that will last throughout the day into the evening. Highs will be near 50 degrees. Saturday night, winds will ease toward midnight. Mostly clear skies will be above with overnight lows in the mid-20s.

Sunday looks to be quite pleasant with highs around 50 degrees. Conditions will be calm and dry.

The big focus right now is on a potentially strong winter storm toward the middle of next week. Models are still sorting it out and it is a good ways away but, much older temps and a healthy dose of snow are looking quite possible. It definitely bears watching.

Until then, have a great weekend!

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Thursday in Thornton to offer up near normal temps, a good bit of cloud cover

Thursday, January 28th, 2021 5:34am MDT

A quiet weather day along the Colorado Front Range. There will be a good bit of cloud cover but conditions will be calm and dry.

Partly sunny skies will be the general rule throughout the day. Winds will be light. Temperatures today are expected to get to the mid-40s. However, with the snow cover and clouds, we may struggle to get that warm.

Tonight, skies remain only partly clear with overnight lows dropping to the mid-20s.

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After a very cold, foggy start, Thornton will clear up and warm up

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 5:07am MDT

With temperatures briefly dropping to 2 degrees this morning, we saw our coldest mercury reading of the season so far. We will be warming up though and see a healthy dose of sun.

Fog will be the most notable feature early, particularly along the South Platte River, I-76 corridor and other low-lying areas. Once it dissipates, we will enjoy mostly sunny to sunny skies for the rest of the day. Temperatures will remain on the chilly side but improve over the morning cold. Look for highs in the mid to upper 30s.

Tonight, mostly clear skies will be above and lows will drop to the upper teens.

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Tuesday in Thornton to offer up cloudy skies, some light snow

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021 5:13am MDT

The second of two weather makers is moving through now creating wintry conditions. Clouds, cold and a little bit of snow will be the highlights for today.

Cloudy skies start us off and will be with us through the daytime hours. High temperatures today will only reach the mid to upper 20s.

As for the snow, we will see some flakes off and on throughout the day with a bit of an uptick in the late afternoon. Total daytime accumulations will be less than an inch.

Tonight, snow will be tapering off after 7:00pm and should end entirely by about 9:00pm. We will then begin to see the clouds ease. Overnight lows will be cold and into the single digits.

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