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Wildfire Awareness – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Thursday, March 16th, 2017 6:07am MDT

WildfiresFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Please check back daily for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BOULDER CO
600 AM MDT THU MARCH 16 2017

…Wildfire in Colorado…where do you get your information…

A mixture of large and small wildfires occurred across Colorado in 2016. These fires were due to a mixture of dry conditions, combined with gusty, warm winds and, sometimes, careless fire prevention efforts. There were instances when residents had to be evacuated as a large wildfire moved toward larger communities. Would you know what to do to protect yourself and your loved ones in this situation? In addition, if you live in an area that is susceptible to wildfires, how can you prepare yourself and your home?

To assist in your preparation for fire…the National Weather Service provides a variety of fire weather forecast products. Twice a day in Colorado…fire weather planning forecasts are made from each weather service office serving the state.

A Fire Weather Watch may be issued if in the next 12 to 48 hours the forecast includes gusty winds of 25 mph or greater…relative humidities of less than 15 percent for at least three hours, dry lightning, or a combination of weather and fuel conditions that may make large wildfires possible.

A Red Flag Warning will be issued if these same critical fire conditions are forecast within the next 24 hours. Both Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings are issued in coordination with land management agencies.

The fire weather spot program supports land management agencies for both prescribed burns and for wildfires. A fire weather spot forecast is a detailed forecast for an individual fire. For national type 2 or type 1 fires the National Weather Service will detail an IMET…incident meteorologist to a fire team to provide onsite weather support and detailed fire forecasts.

If you live in the urban interface there are a number of actions you can take to reduce your personal fire threat including reducing vegetation near the home and putting a fire resistant roof on your home. More information is available from your National Weather Service at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/fire or from your Department of Homeland Security at: http://www.ready.gov/wildfires.

When a fire occurs, there may be years of increased flood threat on the burn scar, as a healthy forest can handle an inch to inch and a half of rain with no flood risk. Once the litter and vegetation is removed by fire…as little as a half inch of rain in a short period can cause serious and possibly life threatening flooding.

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week continues through this Saturday

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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Thornton’s Thursday to be warm and breezy, fire danger high

Thursday, March 16th, 2017 6:06am MDT

An oft-repeated forecast today that sounds much like many in recent weeks. Temperatures will be well above normal but we will have a good dose of wind leading to high fire danger.

The day starts out with mostly clear skies and we will see similar cloud coverage throughout the day. Temperatures start a tad chilly but then will warm quickly as we head toward a high around 77 degrees – well above the average of 55 degrees to today’s date.

Winds will be calm initially then begin picking up speed by late morning. Gusts to 30mph or high will be possible in the afternoon and evening. Those winds coupled with the low humidity and dry fuels on the ground have prompted a Red Flag Warning to be issued and in effect from 11:00am to 7:00pm. Any fires that get started could grow quickly so please be careful.

Keep an eye on current conditions here.

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Flash Flooding – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 6:04am MDT

Floods and Flash FloodsFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Please check back daily for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
600 AM MDT WED MARCH 15 2017

Today’s topic during this Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness week is flash floods.

Flash floods are no strangers to Colorado. Since the year 1900, nearly 300 people have been killed in flash floods across the Centennial state.

In terms of lives lost, the worst flash flood occurred on July 31, 1976 in the Big Thompson Canyon between Estes Park and Loveland. A nearly stationary storm produced around 12 inches of rain in 4 hours, claiming 144 lives.

Three other notable flash floods in Colorado were:

In 1904, just north of Pueblo, a bridge failed and around 100 people drowned when a passenger train plunged into Fountain Creek.

The 1997 Fort Collins episode drowned 5 people and caused 200 million dollars of property damage.

In 2013, 9 people drowned during the historic September rain episode, which was a combination of flash floods and river floods. These floods were much more extensive than the Big Thompson Canyon flood of 1976, but because of timely and accurate warnings, many people stayed out of harms way and lives were saved.

A flash flood is defined as a rapid rise in water levels, generally occurring in less than 6 hours, along large creeks, normally dry washes, arroyos, or over normally dry land areas, and can occur with little advanced notice.

Flash floods frequently result from high rainfall rates, and infrequently result from dam failures, levee failures, or sudden breaks in river ice jams. Flash floods are very destructive, due to the force of the moving water, and the accompanying debris. This tremendous force can easily damage or destroy roadways, bridges, and buildings.

In recent years, Colorado has seen major flooding and damage when heavy rains have occurred on wildfire burn scar areas. If you are in or near a burn scar area, you need to plan ahead. Be aware of general flash flood plans and procedures that have been developed and implemented by your local emergency management officials. You should know your flash flood risks, and make your plans to save your life and those around you.

The National Weather Service forecast offices will discuss flash flood potential in daily hazardous weather outlooks, and in graphical weather stories on National Weather Service forecast office web sites.

During days when flash flooding is possible a Flash Flood Watch will be issued.

During days when flash flooding is likely or occurring, a Flash Flood Warning will be issued.

When a Flash Flood Warning is issued for your area, you need to act quickly if you are in a drainage area or in other low spots. Know your escape routes to higher ground and act as quickly as possible. It may be just a short walk or climb to that higher ground.

Many flash flood deaths occur in vehicles. Do not drive through a flooded roadway. The water may be much deeper than you think, because the roadway may be damaged or washed away. One to two feet of water will carry away most vehicles. Instead turn around, do not drown.

 

For more information on flood safety go to…

http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov

Tom Magnuson
Warning Coordination Meteorlogist
National Weather Service Pueblo

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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A very spring-like Wednesday for Thornton

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 6:03am MDT

It doesn’t get a whole lot nicer than the weather we have on tap for you today. Temperatures are going to be well above normal with lots of sun.

We start out the day with clear skies and other than an occasional high cloud, you can expect sunny skies throughout. Temperatures will be warming up quickly as we head toward a high in the mid-70s, about 20 degrees above normal. Winds will be light for most of the day, perhaps a bit breezy in the mid to late afternoon but not too bad.

Enjoy!

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Long Time Frame Flooding – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 5:17am MDT

Floods and Flash FloodsFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Please check back daily for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
600 AM MDT TUESDAY MARCH 14 2017

Today’s topic during Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week is flooding which develops in the time frame of longer than 6 hours to several days.

Long duration floods in Colorado can result from snow melt…a combination of snow melt and heavy rain…or just heavy rain.

There have been some notable floods across the Centennial State…

In early June of 1921…a flood along the Arkansas River devastated the city of Pueblo. Estimates of drownings ranged from over 100 to over 300.

Around Memorial Day…1935…catastrophic flooding occurred on the Palmer Divide and the Colorado Springs area…causing millions of dollars of damage…and killing at least 18 people.

The mid-June 1965 flood was widespread across eastern Colorado…taking several lives…and causing over 500 million dollars of damage.

During late April and early May of 1999…after up to 14 inches of rain fell…a major flood occurred across southeast Colorado from Colorado Springs to La Junta.

In 2013, the historic rains and floods in September caused over 3 billion dollars of damage, and took 9 lives.

Just this last year during May, multiple days of heavy rain and snow caused flooding across many areas of eastern Colorado.

Floods in Colorado can result from rapid snow melt, ice jams, a combination of snow melt and heavy rain, or just heavy rain.

National Weather Service forecast offices in Colorado closely collaborate with regional river forecast centers that monitor the Colorado River…South Platte River…Arkansas River…and Rio Grande to come to a consensus on the likelihood of flooding along rivers and large creeks.

The National Weather Service will discuss flood potential in hydrologic outlooks…daily hazardous weather outlooks…and in graphical weather stories on National Weather Service forecast office web sites. Hydrologic statements may be issued for high flows that are within the banks of a river or large creek.

When flooding is possible on a river or large creek…a Flood Watch will be issued…meaning flooding is possible within the designated watch area.

When flooding is likely or occurring on a river or large creek…a Flood Warning will be issued…meaning flooding is expected or has been reported at designated river forecast points.

Flood Advisories may be issued for minor flooding on rivers and creeks.

An Areal Flood Warning may also be issued for flooding on a river or large creek in areas away from the designated river forecast points.

You can easily monitor potential flooding along rivers in Colorado and large creeks using the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service monitoring system. Information on this monitoring system can be obtained from this web site…

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/floodsafety/ahps.shtml

This monitoring system can be accessed on Colorado National Weather Service forecast office web sites from the left hand menu…by clicking…rivers and lakes under the hydrology banner.

At each river and large creek gauge…you can easily look at current and forecast water levels…flood categories…historic crests…and flood impacts. Probabilities of exceedance of certain water levels by week or over the long term are also available.

In general…there will be some time to prepare for river and large creek flooding…and emergency management in your area has plans in place to address flooding issues. Know these plans and how you should act accordingly when Flood Watches and Flood Warnings are in effect.

For more information on flood safety go to…

http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov

Tom Magnuson
Warning Coordination Meteorologist
National Weather Service Pueblo

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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Temperatures climb for Thornton’s Tuesday, conditions remain dry

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 5:15am MDT

I said last night on our Facebook page that I was going to start using a new weather acronym – PDBW – Pretty Dang Boring Weather. It seems fitting as overall conditions for weeks now have been the same: above normal temps, dry conditions.

That will continue today and through the rest of the week. Sigh. We start out with partly clear skies today and can expect much of the same as high clouds will provide some shade. Temperatures will be climbing to a high right near the 70-degree mark. Winds this morning will be calm and then become a bit breezy in the afternoon.

That is pretty much it and from the looks of it, we could pretty much copy and paste this same forecast across every day for the balance of the week.

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Types of Floods – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Monday, March 13th, 2017 5:20am MDT

Floods and Flash FloodsFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Check back each day for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BOULDER CO
600 AM MDT MON MARCH 13 2017

Flooding can be a major problem in Colorado as we experienced in September 2013. Heavy rain fell over a large area of the foothills south to the Pikes Peak Region, resulting in flash flooding. Much of the water that fell across northeast Colorado eventually ended up in the South Platte River, with major river flooding having occurred from Greeley to the state line.

River flooding can result from heavy rain during the summer and from rapid snow melt or thunderstorm rain combining with runoff from melting snow. Flash flooding refers to a dangerous sudden rise in water within an urban area, in a canyon, or along a creek or wash over normally dry land area. Flash floods result from heavy rainfall, sudden breaks in river ice jams, and dam or levee failures.

Flash floods can occur within a few minutes or hours, and can move at surprisingly high speeds, striking with little warning. Flash floods are quite destructive because of the force of the moving water, and the debris that accumulates in flood waters, such as trees and boulders, which can destroy roadways, bridges and buildings.

Another complication in Colorado is the serious flooding that can result when heavy rain falls on recently burned areas. Anyone living downstream from a recently burned area should be aware of the changed conditions, which result in much faster, turbulent, debris and ash clogged waters from the burned area.

The National Weather Service will discuss flood and flash flood potential in daily Hazardous Weather Outlooks and in the graphical weather story on National Weather Service websites. On days with a high threat for flooding, you may hear of a Flash Flood or Flood Watch, which means that flash flooding or flooding is possible within the watch area.

A Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent or has been reported along a river.

A Flash Flood Warning means that flash flooding has been reported or is imminent.

When a Flash Flood Warning is issued for your area, act quickly. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Go to higher ground or climb to safety before access is cut off by flood waters. Go Up, Not Out. Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle related. Do not enter a flooded roadway, instead Turn Around…Don’t Drown. In rapidly rising waters, backing up away from water would be safer. One to two feet of water will carry away most vehicles, and you also cannot tell if the road is damaged beneath the water.

More information on flooding hazards can be found on the National Weather Service Flood Safety page here.

 

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week continues through this Saturday.

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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Monday brings mild, dry conditions with even warmer weather ahead

Monday, March 13th, 2017 5:11am MDT

There seems to be no end to the unseasonably weather we have experienced in recent weeks. That same patter will continue today and through the end of the week as we see very spring-like conditions.

For today we will have variable levels of cloud cover ranging from mostly sunny to partly cloudy. Temperatures start out chilly but then we will be warming to a high in the low 60s, a good bit above the average for the date of 54 degrees. Winds should be calmer than yesterday, perhaps just a bit breezy in the mid to late afternoon.

Looking ahead, today will actually be the coolest day of the week. Mercury readings at or above the 70 degree mark are expected through the coming weekend. Unfortunately, there is no precipitation expected. Get a closer look in our extended forecast here.

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Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week begins

Sunday, March 12th, 2017 9:30am MDT
Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week, March 15 – 21, 2015.

Floods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  The first of these messages is below.  Check back each day this week for further topics.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BOULDER CO
600 AM MDT SUN MARCH 12 2017

Flood and wildfire season is approaching…know your risks…make your plans…improve your outcome…

The National Weather Service wants everyone in the United States to be part of a WeatherReady nation. Colorado has more than its fair share of floods…flash floods…and wildfires. You should be weather alert and weather ready…knowing how to stay safe when floods and wildfires affect your area.

Governor Hickenlooper has proclaimed this week…March 12th through 18th as Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week. Now is the time to learn about flood and wildfire risks in Colorado…and to develop your plans to improve you outcome.

Floodprone areas have been identified in over 250 cities and towns and in all 64 counties in Colorado. Over 250 thousand people live in floodplains in Colorado. There are estimated to be 65 thousand homes and 15 thousand commercial…industrial…and business structures in identified floodplains. There are likely many more structures located within unmapped flood hazard areas. The value of the property…structures…and contents located in the identified floodplains is estimated to be around 15 billion dollars.

Floods and flash floods have killed over 400 people in Colorado since the turn of the 20th century. The historic weather pattern of September 2013 reminds us all that floods are a major concern across the Centennial state. Floods have caused billions of dollars of damage in Colorado.

On average 2500 wildfires occur across Colorado each year. Since 2012…8 people have been killed when wildfires occurred in the wildland-urban interface.

The National Weather Service forecast offices which serve Colorado will issue a series of public information statements during this Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week…covering the following topics…

Sunday…Introduction to the week
Monday…Flood watches and warnings
Tuesday…River floods
Wednesday…Flash floods
Thursday…Fire forecasts…watches…and warnings
Friday…Wildfire safety and mitigation
Saturday…Review of the week

More information on floods and wildfires is available at your local National
Weather Service web sites…

http://www.weather.gov/denver NWS Dnver/Boulder web site
http://www.weather.gov/pueblo NWS Pueblo web site
http://www.weather.gov/goodland NWS Goodland web site
http://www.weather.gov/gjt NWS Grand Junction web site

Tom Magnuson
Warning Coordination Meteorologist
National Weather Service Pueblo

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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March 12 to March 18: This week in Denver weather history

Sunday, March 12th, 2017 6:18am MDT
This Week In Denver Weather History

This week in Denver weather history: March 12 to March 18

Snow is one thing we have not seen a lot of in recent weeks but we still have time to gain ground. March is our snowiest month and our look back at this week in Denver weather history provides evidence of this. It was this week in 2003 that the Denver was struck by a massive snowstorm – the costliest in Denver history. Also, six years ago, we saw significant snowfall this same week. Below is a complete look at those and other events.

From the National Weather Service:

9-19

In 1906…an extended cold and blustery period occurred with light snow totaling 14.4 inches over 11 consecutive days. The greatest amount of snow on a single day was 4.0 inches on the 15th. Only a trace of snow fell on the 12th and 17th. High temperatures were below freezing for the entire period. The coldest were 14 degrees on the 16th and 18 degrees on the 17th. Both readings were record low maximums for the dates. Low temperatures were mostly in the single digits. The coldest were 2 degrees below zero on the 16th and 5 degrees below zero on the 19th. Northeast winds were sustained to 22 mph on the 9th. North winds were sustained to 36 mph on the 10th…32 mph on the 13th…and 22 mph on the 15th.

10-12

In 1924…snowfall was heavy and totaled 9.9 inches over downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 18 mph on the 11th.

In 2001…heavy snow fell over northeast Colorado and metro Denver when a combination of upslope winds and convective snow bands formed over the area. Storm totals included: 11 inches at the Eldora Ski Resort; 10 inches at Genesee; 8 inches at Elizabeth…atop Lookout Mountain…near Sedalia… And at Strasburg; 7 inches near Castle Rock and Evergreen; and 6 inches in Aurora…atop Crow Hill…and in Parker. Elsewhere across metro Denver…snowfall ranged from 2 to 5 inches with 3.9 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North winds gusted to 28 mph at Denver International Airport on the 10th.

11-12

In 1929…heavy snowfall totaled 9.3 inches in downtown Denver. Northwest winds were sustained to 31 mph with gusts to 34 mph on the 11th.

In 1947…heavy snowfall totaled 7.0 inches in downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 15 mph on the 11th.

In 1963…snowfall totaled 5.8 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north-northwest winds gusted to 25 mph on the 11th.

In 1993…a strong storm dumped heavy snow in the mountains and 4 to 8 inches of snow over metro Denver. Snowfall totaled 3.6 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 35 mph.

12

In 1893…northwest winds were sustained to 44 mph.

In 1952…northwest winds sustained at 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph were recorded at Stapleton Airport where 3.2 inches of snow also fell.

In 1954…strong winds raked metro Denver all day producing areas of blowing dust…snow…and blowing snow. At Stapleton Airport…north-northeast winds at sustained speeds of 40 to 45 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph were recorded. Snowfall totaled only 0.4 inches.

In 1982…a windstorm hit the foothills from Boulder north. The highest recorded wind gust of 90 mph occurred in Boulder. Wind gusts to 47 mph were recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1985…only 1.0 inch of snow fell in Denver…but strong winds produced near-blizzard conditions and caused the closure of I-70 from Aurora to Limon for an hour in the evening. North winds gusted to 38 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1999…heavy snow fell in and near the Front Range foothills. Snowfall totals included: 8.5 inches at Genesee…6 inches about 8 miles northwest of Evergreen… 4.5 inches in Boulder…4 inches in Littleton…and only 2.2 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

 

12-13

In 2005…a winter storm brought heavy snow to the eastern foothills and western metro Denver overnight. Storm total snowfall included: 15 inches in Jamestown…13 inches near Blackhawk…11 inches in the foothills southwest of Boulder and near Nederland…10.5 inches at Gross Reservoir…9.5 inches at Eldorado Springs…9 inches at Roxborough Park… 8.5 inches near Longmont…8 inches in Boulder…7.5 inches at Centennial…7 inches in Louisville…3.3 inches at Denver Stapleton. At Denver International Airport…west winds gusted to 46 mph on the 12th before the passage of the cold front and north winds gusted 31 mph on the 13th.

12-16

In 1880…a protracted cold spell resulted in 8 temperature records being set. Record low temperatures for the date were set when the temperature dipped to 10 degrees below zero on the 13th and 14th…8 degrees below zero on the 12th and 15th…and 4 degrees below zero on the 16th. Daily record low maximum temperatures were set with 11 degrees on the 12th…12 degrees on the 13th…and 19 degrees on the 15th.

13

In 1973…northwest winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport. The strong winds were accompanied by virga and a very light snow shower.

In 1990…4 to 9 inches of snow fell across metro Denver with 8 to 16 inches in the foothills. Morrison reported 9 inches; Evergreen…11 inches; and Aspen Springs…14 inches from the storm. Blowing snow and reduced visibilities caused 2-hour delays at Stapleton International Airport where only 5.1 inches of snow fell and north winds gusted to 21 mph.

13-14

In 1996…a storm system moving across northern Colorado dumped heavy snow in the mountains and foothills and across metro Denver where snowfall ranged from 5 to 10 inches. A foot of new snow was measured at Nederland with 11 inches at Conifer. Snowfall totaled 8.0 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. Northeast winds gusted to 30 mph at Denver International Airport on the 13th.

13-15

In 1906…snowfall totaled 8.0 inches over downtown Denver.

» Click here to read the rest of March 12 to March 18: This week in Denver weather history

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