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Thornton, Colorado, USA
UpdatedSun, 15-Sep-2019 6:40pm MDT 
 

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Thornton’s weekend starts out pleasant, unseasonably warm; will end cooler and wetter

Friday, April 19th, 2019 4:55am MDT

A bit of a mixed bag of weather ahead for us over the three day period. Friday and Saturday will be gorgeous with very mild temperatures but a storm system will cool it down and dampen things come Sunday.

For today, look for sunny skies throughout the day with calm conditions. Highs today will top out in the mid-70s. Tonight, mostly clear skies will be above with lows in the low to mid-40s.

Saturday will be the warmest day of the period with highs right near the 80 degree mark. Mostly sunny skies will be above and conditions calm. Saturday night cloud cover will increase with lows in the mid-40s.

Sunday we will see the effects of the storm. Some light showers may be possible early with coverage then becoming more widespread and a bit heavier in the afternoon through the evening. Mostly cloudy skies will be above with highs right near the average for the date of 63 degrees.

All in all, not too bad. Have a great weekend.

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Severe Weather 101 – Hail and Wind

Thursday, April 18th, 2019 7:06am MDT
Straight line winds can be as damaging as a tornado. This image is from a park in Tennessee. (NWS)

Straight line winds can be as damaging as a tornado. This image is from a park in Tennessee. (NWS)

During the spring and summer months in Colorado, a wide array of severe weather can strike. Tornadoes may grab all the headlines, but straight line winds and hail can do a great amount of damage in their own right – and they are more common.

Straight line winds are winds out of a thunderstorm and are classified as severe when they hit 58 mph. These winds can reach tornado and hurricane force and as a result, cause property damage and can injure and even kill animals and humans.

These winds are usually the result of air cooling rapidly due to precipitation or evaporation. As the cooler air is heavier than the surrounding warmer air, it rushes downward, accelerating toward the ground and spreads out as it hits, much like pancake batter being poured onto a griddle.

» Click here to read the rest of Severe Weather 101 – Hail and Wind

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Seasonal temperatures, breezy winds for Thornton’s Thursday

Thursday, April 18th, 2019 5:33am MDT

A pretty decent day today for us with temperatures right near normal and a good bit of sun above. We will however also have some breezy winds to go along.

The day starts with mostly sunny skies and similar conditions should be above throughout the day. Temperatures will top out right near the average high for today’s date of 62 degrees.

Winds will be picking up by mid-morning and be breezy until about sunset. Look for gusts to 30 mph or so at their height.

Tonight, winds will be easing, skies will be mostly clear. Overnight lows will be in the upper 30s.

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Thornton’s Wednesday to see seasonal temps but with breezy winds, clouds

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 5:31am MDT

A split system with parts passing to our north and south will mix things up a bit today. We will see temps near normal but with a good dose of clouds and some breezy winds.

The day starts with mostly cloudy skies and we will have similar conditions above until mid-afternoon when they may ease a bit.

Temperatures today will top out right near the 60 degree mark. Winds will be picking up this morning and be breezy into the evening.

Tonight, mostly cloudy skies will be above with lows in the upper 30s.

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Severe Weather 101 – Floods and Flash Floods

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 5:05am MDT
The Big Thompson Flood in 1976 claimed the lives of 144 Coloradoans and serves to remind us of the dangers of floods.

The Big Thompson Flood in 1976 claimed the lives of 144 Coloradoans and serves to remind us of the dangers of floods.

For much of Colorado, floods and flash floods present a grave danger to life and property. These usually are the result of one of two things – spring snow melt occurring rapidly or a severe thunderstorm. Colorado is very susceptible to flash flooding and these occur somewhere every year in the state.

The waters from flash floods can move with extraordinary speed and strike with little or not warning.  Their force can be extremely destructive and when coupled with trees, dirt, rocks and other debris they carry downstream, they are deadly.

Flooding is the number one weather killer in the United States.

» Click here to read the rest of Severe Weather 101 – Floods and Flash Floods

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Severe Weather 101 – Tornadoes and tornado safety

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 5:50am MDT
Last year's Windsor Tornado highlights the very real danger twisters present in Colorado. Do you know when to do when one strikes?

The 2008 Windsor Tornado highlights the very real danger twisters present in Colorado. Do you know when to do when one strikes?

One fact that may surprise those new to Colorado is that we are actually on the western edge of the infamous Tornado Alley. This large swath of land comprises much of the nation’s midsection and is a unique place as the United States sees more tornadoes than any other place on earth. In fact, tornadoes have been recorded in all 50 states including Alaska and Hawaii.

Closer to home, Colorado sees our share of these storms. In fact, one metro area county – Weld County – holds the distinction of being the “tornado capital of the world.” With 252 tornados from 1950-2011, no single county in the nation has had more tornadoes! Adams County is number two in the state and isn’t far behind with 156 over that same period.  Granted these numbers are skewed a bit simply due to the sheer size of those counties, but it does serve to highlight the real danger that tornadoes present.

Even here in the metro area tornadoes are a real danger. The Thornton area was struck in 1981, one of the worst tornadoes to strike the Denver area in history. At 2:30 p.m. this tornado touched down and by 2:45 p.m., the tornado had hit Thornton City Hall. The tornado’s destruction sent 53 injured people to hospitals, 25 homes were destroyed and 239 structures were damaged.

One common myth is that tornadoes don't strike metropolitan areas. This has been disproved many times including here in Colorado in 1982 when an F2 tornado struck Thornton. Image courtesy the City of Thornton archives.

One common myth is that tornadoes don’t strike metropolitan areas. This has been disproved many times including here in Colorado in 1981 when an F2 tornado struck Thornton. Image courtesy the City of Thornton archives.

The most well known tornado outbreak in the metro area occurred on June 15, 1988. Five tornadoes resulted in seven injuries and damage in excess of $15 million.

We all of course also remember in 2008 when the town of Windsor, not far from Denver, was struck with an EF-3 tornado that claimed one life and destroyed and damaged hundreds of buildings.

The greatest threat for tornadoes occurs during late spring and early summer when you have a combination of heat and moisture in the lower atmosphere. Here in Colorado, tornadoes are frequent from May through August with June being the most active month.

However, there is no hard and fast rule for when tornadoes strike, as Colorado witnessed on March 29, 2007 when Holly, Colorado was struck by an EF-3 tornado with winds of 165 mph. Two women lost their lives as a result of that event and 160 homes were damaged.

Colorado ranks 10th in terms of the number of tornadoes with 1,911 events from 1950-2011. One good thing is that our high altitude and drier air do make it harder for the monster supercells that spawn the biggest tornadoes to form. Most of our tornadoes are small and short lived. Further, thanks to the wide open spaces of the eastern half of our state, many strike sparsely populated areas. This is reflected in the fact that we rank 38th for tornado related deaths.

» Click here to read the rest of Severe Weather 101 – Tornadoes and tornado safety

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Cooler temperatures, chance for showers and thunderstorms for Thornton’s Tuesday

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 5:42am MDT

A weak cold front that moved in last night coupled with a disturbance coming through today will mix up our weather a bit. Temperatures will cool down but remain above normal and we see just a chance for a PM shower or thunderstorm.

The day starts with partly clear skies and similar conditions will be with us into the afternoon after which coverage will increase. Temperatures today will top out in the upper 60s, cooler than yesterday but still a good bit above normal.

The afternoon brings a chance for a shower or thunderstorm with the best opportunity coming between about 3:00pm and 6:00pm. Only scattered activity is expected with most action being to our south.

Tonight, a light rain shower may be seen before midnight with lows in the low 40s.

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Thornton’s workweek starts out with mild temperatures, calm conditions

Monday, April 15th, 2019 5:02am MDT

A very nice looking spring day gets things started for the workweek. We will enjoy a good dose of sun and temperatures well above normal.

Mostly sunny skies will above for much of the day with a few mid-level clouds popping up. Temperatures start out cool then will warm to a high in the low 70s, well above the average high for the date of 61 degrees.

Tonight, we will have partly cloudy skies with lows in the low 40s.

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Severe Weather 101 – Watches, Warnings and More

Monday, April 15th, 2019 4:15am MDT
Last year's Windsor tornado highlighted just how dangerous weather in Colorado can be. Are you and your family prepared? Do you know what the watches and warnings all mean?

The 2008 Windsor tornado highlighted just how dangerous weather in Colorado can be. Are you and your family prepared? Do you know what the watches and warnings all mean?

We’ve all seen TV or Internet news of a weather related watch or warning being issued. But, how many really know what they mean? There is a pretty big difference between the two and it is important to be aware just what it means to you so you can take the appropriate precautions.

Dozens of weather related fatalities occur every year in Colorado, many simply out of ignorance. Taking the time to be aware of the conditions around you and taking appropriate action will keep you from becoming a statistic.

Naturally you can get information on current advisories from television as local stations usually do a good job of “crawling” them on the screen when they are issued. This works well if you have a TV available but if not, the radio would be a secondary source. The Internet and the National Weather Service’s website are a great one when at a computer.

The problem with relying on news media or the Internet is that their ability to warn you of a developing weather situation is dependent on your monitoring them.  Severe weather can strike without little warning.  How will you know if severe weather is about to strike if you don’t have the TV or radio on?

Your first line of defense – NOAA All Hazards Radio

NOAA Weather RadioFor just about anywhere, a special radio that picks up the NOAA’s All Hazard Radio broadcasts is the way to go and provides information from the source. Oftentimes simply called a weather radio, we highly recommend every household have one of these.

These radios are relatively inexpensive and allow you to be immediately notified of official National Weather Service warnings, watches, and forecasts as well as other hazard information like earthquakes, avalanches, chemical spills, and even AMBER alerts.  In fact, with these radios, you will be notified at the exact same time the news media is made aware giving you a head start on preparing for a developing situation.

To learn more about these devices and what you should look for when buying one, click here.

A high-tech alternative – Cell phone weather apps

Many people now have smartphones that allow for downloadable apps and weather-related ones are among the most popular.

All of these applications have a number of weather related features in common.  All provide current conditions for either the location the user is in now or for saved locations and all provide some sort of radar.

Most can be configured to sound an alert when the National Weather Service issues a watch or warning.  While they are no substitue for a weather radio, these apps provide you with immediate notification no matter where you are at.

For a look at some of these weather apps and their features, click here.

» Click here to read the rest of Severe Weather 101 – Watches, Warnings and More

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Severe Weather Awareness Week in Colorado gets started

Sunday, April 14th, 2019 6:00am MDT

In 1981 a tornado ripped through Thornton and caused major damage. Last year, funnel clouds were spotted across much of the area. Image courtesy City of Thornton archives.

As is customary, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has declared this coming week Severe Weather Awareness Week.  This is an opportunity for the public to get reacquainted with the dangers severe weather presents in Colorado.

Tornadoes, lightning, hail, severe wind and flooding are very real hazards that Coloradans face every year during severe weather season.  It is important that you know what to do to protect you and your family.

Just nine years ago in what was Denver’s weather story of the year, we suffered through a period of unusually severe weather including a tornado that ripped through the Southlands Mall.

Ten years ago on May 22nd an EF3 tornado raced north through Weld and Larimer counties resulting in one fatality near Windsor and causing several injuries and destroyed or heavily damaged hundreds of homes.

And of course in 1981 Thornton was the site of the worst tornado to ever strike the Denver metro area.

Tornadoes may get all the press but other severe weather can be damaging and deadly.

Just four years ago, late summer flooding caused millions of dollars of damage across northeastern Colorado.  It was 40 years ago that thunderstorms brought a raging torrent of water down the Big Thompson and caused one of Colorado’s worst natural disasters.  Six years ago hail struck the Thornton area causing damage to homes and vehicles.

In conjunction with the National Weather Service’s statements on Severe Weather Awareness Week, ThorntonWeather.com will be publishing our Severe Weather 101 series.  Each day this week a weather hazard will be discussed in depth and we will outline protective measures you can take to keep yourself and your family safe.  Please be sure to check back every day to read these important message.

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