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May 29 to June 4: This week in Denver weather history

Sunday, May 29th, 2016 6:40am MDT
This Week In Denver Weather History

May 29 to June 4: This week in Denver weather history

There are many notable events on our look back at the weather history books for this week but one in particular stands out. It was 30 years ago this week, on June 3, that the infamous Thornton tornado struck. This twister still stands as the most damaging tornado to have ever struck the Denver metro area.


In 1995…a cool period with light morning showers and moderate to heavy afternoon showers and thunderstorms pushed rivers already swollen from mountain snow melt over their banks causing minor flooding. Streams and rivers such as the South Platte and Boulder creek flooded meadowlands…bike paths…roads near streams…and other low lying areas. No significant property damage was reported and crop damage was unknown. Rainfall totaled 1.79 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport and only 1.51 inches at Denver International Airport.


In 1934…the low temperature dipped to only 66 degrees…the all-time record highest minimum temperature for the month of May.

In 1958…a microburst caused a brief wind gust to 56 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1964…heavy rain caused flooding in the Harvey Gulch area of southeast Denver. The high water damaged homes… Businesses…streets…and bridges. At Stapleton International Airport…1.33 inches of rain were measured with 1.76 inches total rainfall on the 29th and 30th. The heavy rain during the last week of the month was the first significant precipitation since April 3rd.

In 1967…3/4 to 1 inch diameter hail stones fell in the city of Denver…but caused no reported damage. Hail as large as 3/4 inch was measured at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1975…the heaviest last snowfall of the season occurred when 5.6 inches of snow were measured at Stapleton International Airport. Rain all day on the 28th changed to snow on the 29th and accumulated to a depth of 4 inches on the ground. Northwest winds gusted to 31 mph. Precipitation (rain and melted snow) on the 28th and 29th totaled 1.48 inches.

In 1982…one man was killed and two others injured by a lightning strike as they stood under a tree in the city of Denver’s Washington Park.

In 1987…7/8 inch diameter hail fell near Castle Rock.

In 1990…thunderstorms over metro Denver produced several small funnel clouds and two small tornadoes. The first tornado (f0) touched down in northwest Denver and caused roof damage to a house and snapped off the tops of several trees. A second tornado (f1) touched down in Northglenn and moved into Thornton damaging a group of self storage garages…several vehicles…a wooden fence…several trees… And the roof of an auto parts store. No injuries were reported. The storms also caused minor street flooding across northern and western sections of metro Denver. Rainfall totals ranged from 1 to 3 inches. Lightning started a small fire at a home in northwest Denver. The fire was confined to the front rooms and was quickly extinguished. Snow plows were used to clear 2 to 4 inches of pea to marble size hail from a stretch of U.S. Highway 285 in Turkey Creek Canyon. Lightning felled a tree in northeast Denver…while strong winds snapped off several large tree limbs in the same area. Thunderstorm rainfall totaled 0.82 inch at Stapleton International Airport where southwest winds gusted to 30 mph.

In 1991…lightning struck a 13 year old boy in a field in Fort Lupton. The boy was in critical condition in an area hospital for 2 days before recovering.

In 1995…lightning struck a soccer goal post and injured 6 adults viewing a soccer game in Arvada. Although no one received a direct hit from the lightning…all escaped with only minor injuries…except one woman who was hospitalized.

In 1996…large hail…3/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter… Struck Lakewood and west Denver. Lightning sparked a small fire when it struck an oil storage tank 5 miles west of Brighton.

In 2001…lightning sparked a fire in an apartment complex in Aurora…forcing the evacuation of 24 units. Most of the fire damage was confined to the attic. Damage was estimated at 100 thousand dollars.

In 2004…a man and his son were struck by lightning while practicing on the driving range at the Meadows Golf Club in southwest metro Denver. The father was killed by the bolt…and his 16 year old son seriously injured. Three other people standing nearby received only minor injuries.

In 2010…hail up to 7/8 inch in diameter was reported in Broomfield.


In 1894…heavy rain combined with snowmelt runoff caused widespread flooding over the South Platte River basin. Rainfall was heaviest in the foothills where 5 to 8 inches were measured over the 4 days. Heavy rainfall west of Boulder flooded mining towns and damaged mining properties. In the canyons above Boulder…railroads and roads were washed out along with many bridges. The floodwaters spread into central Boulder and covered a wide area from University Hill north to near Mapleton Hill to a maximum depth of 8 feet. Many houses were swept away…and every bridge in Boulder was destroyed. A few people…trapped in their homes by the floodwaters… Had to be rescued. However…the gradual rise of the flood waters resulted in only one death. Boulder creek spread to a width of nearly one mile in the pasture land to the east of Boulder. Extensive flooding on left hand creek north of Boulder washed away railroad and wagon bridges. The heavy cloudbursts caused flooding on bear creek…which washed away bridges…railroad tracks…and structures and destroyed the canyon roadway. Morrison sustained the heaviest flood damage on bear creek. In Denver…rainfall totaled only 1.50 inches on the 30th and 31st…but the heavy rainfall on upstream tributaries of the South Platte River caused the river to rise as much as 10 feet above the low water mark in the city…which caused some flooding of pasture land downstream to a depth of 6 feet near Brighton.


In 1875…a windstorm lasting almost all day produced sustained winds to 42 mph.

In 1935…southeast winds sustained to 29 mph with gusts to 34 mph produced a moderate duststorm during the afternoon.

In 1938…heavy thunderstorm rain and hail pummeled downtown Denver during the evening hours. Rainfall accumulated to 1.63 inches. Hail accumulated to a depth of 18 inches.

In 1948…a localized thunderstorm caused flooding on sand creek in Aurora and northeast Denver. Rainfall was only 0.49 inch in downtown Denver where light hail also fell.

In 1963…a golfer died of injuries received when struck by lightning on a golf course southwest of Denver. A warehouse in Denver was damaged and its contents destroyed by a lightning-caused fire.

In 1967…up to 4.00 inches of rain in Lakewood and wheat ridge caused flooding of roads and basements. Water was several feet deep in some yards. Many streets were temporarily closed. Hail as large as 1 inch in diameter fell in Wheat Ridge. Hail piled up to 2 feet deep in some low lying areas of east and southeast Denver. Snowplows were employed to remove the hail. Stapleton International Airport…where west winds gusted to 39 mph…received 1.51 inches of rain and hail…which forced the closure of the runways for an hour. Hail stones to 3/4 inch in diameter were measured at Buckley Field. A funnel cloud was sighted near south Wadsworth Blvd and Bear Creek. A tornado touched down briefly in the vicinity of 60th and 62nd avenues near north Washington Street. The storm uprooted trees and damaged one building. Doors were ripped from a business house…widely scattering irrigation pipe. In addition…a total of 3 funnel clouds were sighted in that area.

In 1970…hail up to 1 inch in diameter fell at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1976…a single thunderstorm crossed south metro Denver producing a funnel cloud 2 miles south of Arapahoe road and Broadway. The storm moved over Buckley Field producing a funnel cloud and 1/2 inch diameter hail. As the storm moved northeast of the city…a large tornado touched down near east 59th Ave and tower road and was on the ground for 20 minutes. It demolished a 60-foot-long cinderblock cow shed…tore a wall from a machinery shed…tore shingles off the roof of a farmhouse nearby…and felled 12 trees on one farm. A boy in a feed shed 20 feet from a destroyed building was not injured.

In 1977…3/4 to 1 inch diameter hail fell at or near Stapleton International Airport. One inch to baseball size hail fell in south Denver…damaging some homes and extensively damaging some airplanes at Arapahoe County airport…now centennial airport. Hail covered highways to a depth of 6 to 8 inches in south Denver.

In 1978…two funnel clouds were sighted 5 miles south of Stapleton International Airport. Hail up to 1 1/4 inches in diameter was reported in wheat ridge and northwest Denver. Only 1/2 inch diameter hail fell at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1989…golf ball size hail fell at the junction of I-25 and I-225. One inch diameter hail fell in Littleton.

In 1990…a line of severe thunderstorms crossed metro Denver… Producing wind gusts to 60 mph and scattered areas of pea to marble size hail. Small trees and branches were blown down by the strong thunderstorm winds…which also caused minor power outages across southern and eastern sections of metro Denver. The strong winds uprooted a 25- to 30-foot tree in the acres green subdivision of northern Douglas County. The tree blocked a busy street for several hours. A pilot reported hail as large as 1 1/2 inches in diameter covering the ground near the north end of a runway at Stapleton International Airport. Heavy rain caused a rock and mud slide that partially closed the Boulder canyon highway 10 miles west of Boulder. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 41 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2001…lightning ignited a fire which destroyed a luxury home on bear mountain near Evergreen. Estimated damage was set at 1 million dollars.

In 2003…flash flooding occurred in the Hayman Fire burn area after as much as 1 inch of rain fell in 30 minutes. The heavy rainfall washed out many access roads and closed State Highway 67 between Deckers and west creek. A 3-foot wall of water ran down Fourmile Creek from the YMCA camp at Shady Brook…damaging one building in the camp and flooding roads. Hail as large as 3/4 inch in diameter fell near Roggen in weld County.

In 2005…lightning struck as least 20 homes in Westminster. Only minor damage was reported. Severe thunderstorms produced hail as large as 1.25 inches in and near Fort Lupton and hail to 3/4 inch near Indian Hills in Jefferson County.

In 2014…heavy rainfall…nearly 1.2 inches in 30 minutes… produced localized street flooding in Boulder. The heavy rain coupled with the already swollen creeks from the spring runoff along Boulder Creek resulted in the flooding. Street flooding was reported at 6th St and Canyon Blvd and at Baseline Road. Some cars were stranded in the high water in low lying areas and one person reported being trapped in his vehicle.


In 1935…heavy thunderstorm rains overnight caused flash flooding east of the city on both Kiowa and Bijou Creeks… Resulting in a total of 9 deaths. Most of the damage was on Kiowa Creek where there were more structures. The water rose rapidly during the storm…ripping houses and stores from their foundations and sweeping them downstream. Precipitation in Denver totaled only 0.01 inch. Hail fell in the city for a short time. The hail was very small and caused no damage.

In 1983…a late storm of rain and snow hit the Front Range. Over an inch of rain fell at some spots…and above 7 thousand feet…1 to 5 inches of snow whitened the ground. Some snowflakes even fell in the western suburbs of metro Denver on the night of the 30th.

In 2002…unseasonably warm weather at the end of the month resulted in 3 temperature records. High temperature of 91 degrees on the 30th equaled the record maximum for the date. Low temperature of 61 degrees on the 31st was a record high minimum for the date. High temperature of 93 degrees on the 31st was a record maximum for the date.

» Click here to read the rest of May 29 to June 4: This week in Denver weather history

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Following a damp Friday, Memorial Day weekend to warm up and dry out

Friday, May 27th, 2016 5:38am MDT

As our latest weather maker moves to the east, we will still feel some lingering effects today. However, in its wake, we will enjoy a largely pleasant and seasonal three-day weekend.

For Friday, cloudy to mostly cloudy skies will be above. Most of the rain has shifted to our east but some lingering sprinkles and showers will be possible into this evening. Temperatures will be cool with highs in the low 60s expected.

Saturday will see things brighten up and dry out. Mostly sunny skies start things off then a few more clouds arrive in the PM. Temperatures will be warming to the low 70s. The afternoon brings just a slight chance for thunderstorms.

On Sunday we see more of the same but with temperatures warming slightly. Mostly sunny skies will be above initially then the usual cloud buildup in the afternoon. Temperatures will top out in the mid-70s, right near average. PM thunderstorms will be a possibility.

Memorial Day closes out the long weekend with a day similar to Sunday. Temperatures remain right near normal and we see a chance for PM thunderstorms.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the warming weather. Most importantly, take time out to acknowledge the brave men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation. They are the reason for Memorial Day and we are forever in their debt.

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National Weather Service rates damaging May 24 tornadoes

Thursday, May 26th, 2016 12:46pm MDT
Damage from a May 24, 2016 tornado is seen on a farm near Platner, Colorado. (National Weather Service)

Damage from a May 24, 2016 tornado is seen on a farm near Platner, Colorado. (National Weather Service)

The thunder rolled across eastern Colorado on Tuesday, May 24 – as did hail, wind and tornadoes.  Washington County saw the most intense activity with multiple twisters including one damaging tornado that has been rated an EF-1.

The National Weather Service sent survey teams to the area to evaluate the damage inflicted by Mother Nature.

They found two tornadoes of relatively weak EF-0 strength occurred near Akron.  Neither any caused damage.

Near Platner though, a more powerful tornado ripped through a farm at about 6:50pm that evening.  The twister lifted a pole barn, destroying it.  Debris was found one mile away.

Wind and hail ripped across an area six miles wide near Akron causing extensive damage.  Farm equipment was toppled and a barn heavily damaged by the wind while houses saw the siding punctured and windows broken from hail.

Below are images taken by the National Weather Service of the area.

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Denver/Boulder CO
1056 AM MDT THU MAY 26 2016


.OVERVIEW...A long-lived supercell thunderstorm moved across
eastern Colorado and produced two EF-1 tornadoes and two EF-0
tornadoes in Washington County on May 24, 2016. Widespread wind
and hail damage also occurred, with a swath of damage nearly 6
miles wide at some points east and northeast of Akron.

.Washington County tornado near Platner...

Rating:                 EF-1
Estimated peak wind:    86-110 mph
Path length /Statute/:  0.9 miles
Path width /Maximum/:   20 yards
Fatalities:             0
Injuries:               0

Start date:             May 24 2016
Start time:             650 PM MDT
Start location:         1 mile northeast of Platner / Washington County / CO
Start Lat/Lon:          40.1647 / -103.0467

End date:               May 24 2016
End time:               655 PM MDT
End location:           1 mile east of Platner / Washington County / CO
End_lat/lon:            40.155 / -103.0366

This tornado struck one farm, lofting and completely destroying
a pole shed, and also damaging trees. Power lines were snapped
just to the southeast of the farm.

.Washington County tornado near Yuma County line...

Rating:                 EF-1
Estimated peak wind:    110 mph
Path length /Statute/:  0.1 mile
Path width /Maximum/:   90 yards
Fatalities:             0
Injuries:               0

Start date:             May 24 2016
Start time:             715 PM MDT
Start location:         9 miles north/northwest of Yuma / Washington County / CO
Start Lat/Lon:          40.2350 / -102.7943

End date:               May 24 2016
End time:               716 PM MDT
End location:           9 miles north/northwest of Yuma / Washington County / CO
End_lat/lon:            40.2348 / -102.7936

This tornado struck one farm, destroying a pole shed. Slight roof damage
occurred to the house, along with some tree damage.

.Washington County tornado 1 mile Northeast of Akron...

Rating:                 EF-0
Estimated peak wind:    65-85 mph
Path length /Statute/:  0.0 miles
Path width /Maximum/:   10 yards
Fatalities:             0
Injuries:               0

Start date:             May 24 2016
Start time:             644 PM MDT
Start location:         1 mile southeast of Akron / Washington County / CO
Start Lat/Lon:          40.1490 / -103.1981

End date:               May 24 2016
End time:               644 PM MDT
End location:           1 mile southeast of Akron / Washington County / CO
End_lat/lon:            40.1490 / -103.1981

Brief touchdown with no damage.

.Washington County tornado 1 mile Southeast of Akron...

Rating:                 EF-0
Estimated peak wind:    65-85 mph
Path length /Statute/:  0.0 miles
Path width /Maximum/:   10 yards
Fatalities:             0
Injuries:               0

Start date:             May 24 2016
Start time:             647 PM MDT
Start location:         1 mile northeast of Akron / Washington County / CO
Start Lat/Lon:          40.1708 / -103.1959

End date:               May 24 2016
End time:               647 PM MDT
End location:           1 mile northeast of Akron / Washington County / CO
End_lat/lon:            40.1708 / -103.1959

Brief touchdown with no damage.

EF Scale: The Enhanced Fujita Scale Classifies
Tornadoes into the following categories.

EF0...Weak...... 65 to 85 mph
EF1...Weak...... 86 to 110 mph
EF2...Strong.... 111 to 135 mph
EF3...Strong.... 136 to 165 mph
EF4...Violent... 166 To 200 mph
EF5...Violent... >200 mph*

The information in this statement is PRELIMINARY and subject to
change pending final review of the events and publication in
NWS Storm Data.
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Thursday brings cooler temps, showers and t-storms

Thursday, May 26th, 2016 5:11am MDT

An approaching low pressure system is going to push in unsettled weather conditions for the next couple of days. Below normal temperatures along with showers will be the main features.

We start out today with partly sunny skies and then will be seeing the cloud cover build as the day progresses. Temperatures today will be about 10 degrees below normal with a high of around 65 degrees.

A few sprinkles of rain will be possible this morning with showers become more common in the afternoon and widespread in the evening. Some thunderstorm type activity will be possible with periods of brief, heavy rain, possibly some hail and just the slightest tornado risk.

Keep an eye on the sky with our interactive radar here.

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Near normal temps, drier conditions for Wednesday

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016 5:16am MDT

A bit of a break in the storms for us today. Thornton will enjoy temperatures close to normal with plenty of sun and dry conditions.

We start out with clear skies that will be followed by a few clouds appearing through the day. Still should see mostly sunny skies overall. Winds will be light, initially out of the southwest then switching to come out of the north this afternoon. Temperatures will be climbing to a high around 73 degrees, just a couple shy of normal.

Cooler, stormier weather look to return tomorrow and Friday.

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Tuesday brings temps a bit below normal, chance for thunderstorms

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016 5:29am MDT

Today is offers weather conditions much like we saw yesterday. Temperatures will be a bit warmer though and while we expect most activity to be northeast of us, we can’t rule out thunderstorms, some possibly severe.

We start out today under mostly clear skies. The morning will bring some clouds with mostly to partly sunny skies for the balance of the day. Temperatures will be topping out right near 70 degrees with the actual high depending greatly on the amount of cloud cover we actually see.

Afternoon thunderstorms are going to be possible for us, primarily from about 1:00pm to 5:00pm. We are within the ‘marginal’ risk area from the SPC for severe activity but the worst of it should be to our northeast. Nevertheless, it would be wise to keep an eye on the sky this afternoon. Our Severe Weather Briefing Page will help you do that.

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Thornton’s workweek starts out a bit cooler, better chance of storms

Monday, May 23rd, 2016 5:14am MDT

Following what was a very nice weekend, Monday will cool things down a bit and bring better chances for storms. The balance of the week ahead will see mercury readings at or below normal and each day features chances for thunderstorms.

For today we start out with mostly clear skies but clouds will gradually be increasing this morning eventually leading to partly sunny skies in the afternoon. Highs today will be topping out around the 70 degree mark, about 5 degrees below normal.

Scattered thunderstorms will develop this afternoon although there isn’t much instability so they aren’t expected to be very dramatic.

Looking at the balance of the week, temps bounce back to near normal tomorrow and Wednesday before a low pressure system cools things down Thursday and Friday. Our extended forecast has more details here.

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May 22 to May 28: This week in Denver weather history

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016 6:13pm MDT
This Week In Denver Weather History

May 22 to May 28: This week in Denver weather history

If history is a teacher, our look back at this week in Denver weather history should provide great instruction on the dangers severe weather presents in our history. It was eight years ago this week that the infamous Windsor tornado tore through the area killing one man and damaging hundreds of homes.

From the National Weather Service:


In 1959…a three-day rain caused some flooding in metro Denver where rain totaled 1.68 inches at Stapleton Airport. Showers…accompanied by hail near Brighton…caused some damage to truck crops. Heavy snow in the foothills caused damage to power and telephone lines.


In 2002…lightning sparked a wildfire near Deckers. Extremely dry conditions and very strong winds the following day allowed the fire…known as the schoonover…to consume 3850 acres before it could be contained. Thirteen structures were destroyed…including 4 homes…resulting in 2.2 million dollars in damage.


In 1878…overnight heavy rains of cloudburst intensity on the Palmer Divide to the south of the city caused flash flooding on Cherry Creek in Denver…which resulted in 2 deaths. A wall of water swept through the city between 2:00 am and 3:00 am on the morning of the 22nd. The flood was so sudden and unexpected that homes along the creek in the city were submerged in water knee deep before the slumbering occupants knew anything about it. By daybreak the banks on both sides of the creek were lined by residents viewing the destruction caused by the raging waters in such a short time. Seven bridges across the creek were destroyed in the city. Damage to private and city property was estimated between 30 and 50 thousand dollars. Quite a number of cattle and sheep were killed along the reach of the creek. Only 0.01 inch of rain fell in the city on the 21st with a trace of rain on the 22nd. Flash flooding also occurred on Kiowa Creek near Bennett on the night of the 21st when the flood waters washed out the Kansas Pacific Railroad bridge. An east bound freight train plunged into the turbulent waters killing the three crewmen. The locomotive was completely buried in the sand and never found to this day!


In 1876…snow changed to heavy rain over the city…resulting in widespread flooding along Cherry Creek and the South Platte River…nearly as great as the flash flood of May 19-20…1864. However…damage was greater because the city had grown much larger and there were more bridges for the flood waters to destroy. Precipitation in the city totaled 6.70 inches from 10:00 pm on the 21st through 3:00 am on the 23rd. The greatest precipitation ever recorded in Denver in 24 hours…6.53 inches…occurred on the 21st and 22nd. Small buildings and bridges along Cherry Creek were washed away by the flood waters. Bridges over the South Platte River were damaged. The city irrigation ditch was damaged and rendered unfit for service. Strong winds at speeds of 30 to 40 mph drove the heavy rain through brick walls 12 to 16 inches thick. Many sheep and cattle were either killed by lightning or drowned…including some 100 head of cattle in Jefferson County alone. There was immense damage to railroad tracks…especially the Kansas Pacific line to the east of the city. The Colorado central suffered estimated damage of 10 to 15 thousand dollars. In addition…the heavy rain caused extensive flooding on soda and bear creeks in the foothills. Flooding along Boulder creek inundated farm and pasture land in the Boulder valley and damaged a few bridges. Rail travel had to be suspended in the area for several days.


In 1876…the most precipitation in Denver on any calendar day…6.50 inches…occurred.

In 1901…northeast winds were sustained to 41 mph with gusts to 45 mph.

In 1903…west winds were sustained to 45 mph with gusts to 55 mph from an apparent microburst…which produced a trace of rain.

In 1976…the public reported 3/4 inch diameter hail and wind gusts to 53 mph near Littleton.

In 1987…golf ball size hail fell in the Lorretto Heights area of south metro Denver.

In 1991…a tornado touched down briefly in Castle Rock. No injuries were reported.

In 1993…an off duty national weather service employee reported hail up to golf ball size just west of the city of Denver in Jefferson County. Thunderstorm wind gusts reached 58 mph at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield and 33 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1996…a severe thunderstorm pummeled northwest and northern sections of metro Denver with large hail ranging in size from 3/4 to 2 inches in diameter. The cities of Arvada and Westminster were the hardest hit. The insurance industry estimated 60 million dollars in damage to homes and personal property and 62 million dollars in damage to automobiles…for a total of 122 million dollars in insured losses. This estimate also included the cities of Golden… Thornton…and wheat ridge. This was the fourth worst hailstorm to hit metro Denver in the last 10 years.

In 1998…large hail fell across north metro Denver. Hail as large as 1 1/2 inches in diameter was measured in Broomfield and Hudson. Hail to 1 1/4 inches fell in Roggen. Hail to 1 inch fell in Brighton…near Keenesburg… In Watkins…and in the city of Denver. Lightning ignited a house fire in Ft. Lupton. A warehouse worker in Denver was injured when he was knocked off a loading dock by a lightning bolt. The bolt skipped off a nearby radio tower and struck him in the arm. He was treated for numbness in his right arm and released.

In 1999…severe thunderstorms produced 7/8 inch diameter hail over the city of Denver…with one inch diameter hail reported in Aurora…and 3/4 inch hail near Watkins.

In 2006…a lightning strike sparked a fire and damaged the roof of a recreation center in Evergreen. The fire spread into some brush and consumed about one quarter acre before it was extinguished. Severe thunderstorms produced strong wind gusts across portions of metro Denver. Winds gusted to 72 mph in Georgetown…62 mph near Parker and Bennett… 60 mph in Castle Rock…and 59 mph in Longmont. The winds caused no reportable damage. A thunderstorm produced southwest wind gusts to 52 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2008…a powerful tornado swept north-northwestward across Weld County…carving a path of destruction nearly 39 miles in length. The tornado…up to one-mile wide at times… Initially touched down northeast of Platteville and finally lifted 6 miles west-northwest of wellington. A tornado assessment in the aftermath of the tornado revealed extensive areas of damage. On the Enhanced Fujita Scale… There were pockets of ef3 damage near the Missile Silo Park campground and to businesses and a home in eastern Windsor. Farmers reported extensive damage to crops and irrigation equipment. There was one fatality and 78 injuries… Ranging from broken bones to minor cuts and lacerations. One man was killed when he tried to escape a trailer park in his motor home. Tractor trailers were flipped along U.S. Highway 85…and over 200 power poles were snapped or blown down. Approximately 60000 people were left without electricity. The tornado overturned 15 railroad cars and destroyed a lumber car. The tornado also flattened the main feedlot in Windsor and destroyed a dairy barn. Most of the 400 cows were killed in the tornado or destroyed later. The thunderstorm also produced hail up to the size of baseballs. Another tornado from a separate thunderstorm… Rated an ef1…briefly touched down near Dacono and destroyed 5 buildings. The tornado overturned a five-wheel trailer and injured a man sitting inside. Preliminary estimates from FEMA indicated 850 homes were damaged…and nearly 300 homes were significantly damaged or destroyed. The Poudre Valley Rural Electric Associated reported $1 million of damage to electric transmission lines. Privately insured damages totaled $147 million…making it the state’s 4th costliest disaster. Large hail up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter…was reported in the vicinities of Golden and Longmont.

In 2014…a severe thunderstorm Denver area produced nickel to quarter size hail in parts of west Denver and near Bennett. Locally heavy rainfall produced some minor street flooding in parts of metro Denver. The heavy rainfall produced localized flash flooding near Bennett. Rainfall totaled 0.54 inches at Denver International Airport.


In 1933…high winds and gales overnight caused considerable damage in and near the city. Much greenhouse glass was broken…which caused damage to sheltered plants. Great numbers of plants growing in the open were damaged or killed by wind-driven sand and soil. Fields were eroded by the wind and a few trees were uprooted. West winds were sustained to 38 mph with gusts as high as 65 mph in downtown Denver on the 22nd.


In 1916…southeast winds were sustained to 43 mph with gusts as high as 52 mph. The winds were strong for several hours during the afternoon.

In 1965…thunderstorm outflow wind gusts to 59 mph were recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1987…slow moving thunderstorms bombarded metro Denver. One inch diameter hail was reported in south central Denver. Torrential rain caused widespread street flooding… Stalling traffic throughout the area. Rainfall totaled 2.10 inches in just 25 minutes in extreme southeast Aurora. Many other locations in Aurora and east Denver reported 1 to 1 1/2 inches of rain in about 30 minutes. Thunderstorm rainfall totaled 1.33 inches at Stapleton International Airport where 1/4 inch diameter hail was measured and north winds gusted to 40 mph. A man was slightly injured by lightning near Stapleton International Airport. Lightning also started a fire that severely damaged a house in Aurora.

In 1990…a microburst wind gust to 52 mph at Stapleton International Airport produced some blowing dust.

In 1991…thunderstorms moving from southwestern sections of metro Denver to the east of Denver produced large hail up to golf ball size. An estimated 5 thousand homes and 8 thousand cars received considerable damage. Early estimates placed damage costs around 60 million dollars. Three funnel clouds were also reported…two by personnel at Buckley Field and the other by a storm spotter. Heavy rain produced street flooding in Aurora where hail accumulated to a depth of 6 inches. As the storms moved to the east…golf ball size hail was reported at Strasburg.

In 1997…hail to 3/4 inch diameter fell in Broomfield.

In 2002…a very strong microburst near Strasburg swept a woman into a swirl of dirt and carried her about 150 feet. The woman was in an open field…corralling a yearling horse… When the incident occurred. Fortunately…she received only minor injuries.

» Click here to read the rest of May 22 to May 28: This week in Denver weather history

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Thornton’s weekend brings mild temps, some chances for storms

Friday, May 20th, 2016 5:17am MDT

With high pressure being the dominant feature, our Friday and weekend are going to bring overall pleasant conditions. Temperatures will be at or above normal with healthy doses of sun above each day.

For Friday varying amounts of clouds will be above but overall look for mostly sunny skies. Temperatures will be warming to a high in the mid to upper 70s. This afternoon does bring some breezy winds and a slight chance for thunderstorms after about 3:00pm.

Saturday looks to be a great day for the city’s annual Thorntonfest. We will start with some patchy fog early then have mostly sunny skies above for the balance of the day. The mercury will be climbing to its highest reading of the year so far with a high expected in the mid-80s. Breezy winds can be expected, starting in the early afternoon and through the evening. At this time, we expect to be dry tomorrow.

The weekend closes out on Sunday with cooler temperatures and slightly unsettled conditions as a weak disturbance moves through. Temperatures will still be right near normal and we expect to have a good bit of sun as well. Breezy winds and a slight chance of thunderstorms will be seen in the afternoon. Have a great weekend!

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Terrific weather for Thornton’s Thursday

Thursday, May 19th, 2016 5:06am MDT

Days like today are why we all love Colorado weather as we will enjoy mild temperatures and plenty of sun. In fact, similarly pleasant conditions will be lasting through the weekend.

For today we start out with sunny skies. This afternoon will bring a few clouds but nothing intrusive. Daytime hours will remain dry while this evening offers just a slight chance for some thunderstorms to develop. Temperatures will be warming up to very comfortable highs in the mid-70s.

Looking ahead at Friday and the weekend, look for highs around 80 Friday and Saturday followed by the mid-70s Sunday. As is the norm this time of year, each day does feature chances for thunderstorms in the late afternoon and evening.

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