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Winter travel safety – Ensure you and your vehicle are ready

Monday, October 17th, 2016 5:10am MST
Are you and your vehicle ready for the winter weather ahead?

Are you and your vehicle ready for the winter weather ahead?

Before hitting the road, Coloradans need to ensure that they and their vehicles are prepared should inclement weather strike.

ThorntonWeather.com presents the first in a series from the National Weather Service (NWS) as part of Winter Weather Preparedness Week has declared by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.  Check back throughout the week for more winter preparedness stories.

Today’s message from the NWS highlights the importance of having a proper emergency kit in your vehicle and should the worst-case scenario occur where you get stuck, what you should do to survive.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
601 AM MDT MON OCT 17 2016

Winter Travel Safety

Winter Weather Preparedness Week continues through Saturday, October 22nd as proclaimed by Governor John Hickenlooper. Before winter weather arrives in earnest it is highly recommended that you prepare your car or truck for winter travel.

A well equipped vehicle has adequate tires, tire chains, tow rope, sand or cat litter for traction, shovel, tool kit, windshield scraper and brush, battery cables, first aid kit, flashlight, extra batteries, blankets and/or sleeping bags, extra clothing, candles, water-proof matches, high calorie packaged food for quick energy and an empty can to melt snow for drinking.

The best way to prevent treacherous winter travel is to avoid it.  This can be done by staying informed about the current weather and road conditions as well as the latest weather forecasts. Information on road conditions in Colorado is available on the web at www.cotrip.org or by dialing toll free 1-877-315-7623.  When calling from anywhere in Colorado dialing 511 will also access the Colorado road reports. In addition, a new and free smartphone application, CDOT Mobile, provides road conditions for the I-70 mountain corridor and will eventually include other roads in Colorado. Road conditions for neighboring states can also be obtained on a link from www.cotrip.org.

If you should become stranded during a winter storm stay with your vehicle and do not panic. If accompanied by others take turns sleeping. Run the motor every hour for about ten minutes to maintain warmth but keep windows open a little to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide. Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked. Keep the car visible with brightly colored cloths tied to the side view mirrors, door handles or external antenna. Exercise periodically by vigorously moving arms, legs, toes and fingers.

In the mountains avalanches become a possibility in the winter especially below steep slopes. Avalanches occasionally come down across roads with little or no warning. However, avalanche control work is performed on many avalanche prone roads in Colorado making the roads safer to travel. Caution is advised when traveling along avalanche prone roads, especially during and shortly after a heavy snowstorm or during periods of rapid snowmelt.

Very strong downslope winds occur at times mainly along the Front Range of Colorado. These Chinook and Bora winds can have gusts exceeding 100 mph. Persons traveling in light weight or high profile vehicles should avoid travel during these strong wind events especially on north-south oriented roads.

Roads which appear to be clear in the wintertime may actually be coated with a thin layer of ice commonly known as black ice. This nearly invisible ice layer can cause you to rapidly lose control of your vehicle. Black ice is most common during the nighttime hours.  If you detect black ice you should reduce your speed.

When braking on icy and snow-packed roads it is recommended that you apply steady pressure to the pedal just to the point of brake lock-up allowing plenty of extra stopping distance. For those without anti-lock brakes another suggestion is to gently tap on the brake pedal several times just prior to applying steady pressure.

 

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Colorado Winter Weather Preparedness Week introduction

Sunday, October 16th, 2016 3:42am MST
Don't be caught off guard by winter weather! Remember the Christmas Eve Blizzard of 1982? Be prepared!

Don’t be caught off guard by winter weather! Remember the Christmas Eve Blizzard of 1982? Be prepared!

Winter weather in Colorado can be an inconvenience but more than that it can be deadly.  Emergency preparedness for major winter storms – as well as for other types of severe weather – is an important part of living in a state where conditions can change wildly from one moment to the next.

To help raise awareness of the need to be prepared for these occasions, the week of October 16th to October 22nd has been proclaimed Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Colorado.

The National Weather Service will be issuing Public Information Statements each day this week to highlight the dangers of winter weather and how best to be prepared.  ThorntonWeather.com will be posting these important messages here to help you be prepared.  Please take the time to read and heed these messages – your life and the lives of your loved ones could depend on it.

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From the National Weather Service:

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service
Grand Junction CO

..Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Colorado…

Governor John Hickenlooper has proclaimed the week of October 18th through October 24th as Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Colorado. This is an excellent time for all individuals, families, businesses, schools, and media outlets to review their winter storm preparedness plans. It is especially important for all new arrivals to the state to become familiar with the National Weather Service watch and warning definitions, as well as winter safety procedures.

Snow in Colorado is important to the farmers…the ski areas…and for filling up reservoirs. However…winter storms often bring heavy snow…bitterly cold temperatures…high winds…low visibilities and slick roads. This can lead to dangerous travel conditions and other life threatening situations such as avalanches and dangerously low wind chill temperatures.

To help you prepare for these hazards this coming winter…the National Weather Service will issue statements throughout the week to discuss:

Intro Winter Weather Preparedness Week
Part 1 Winter travel safety
Part 2 Watches…warnings…and advisories
Part 3 High winds
Part 4 Wind chill temperatures and hypothermia
Part 5 Avalanche safety
Review Winter Weather Preparedness Week review

Anyone who needs information on winter storms in Colorado should contact their nearest National Weather Service office.

Boulder office 303-494-3210
Grand Junction office 970-243-7007
Goodland Kansas office 785-899-7119
Pueblo office…
 – If you live near Pueblo 719-948-3371
 – If you live near Colorado Springs 719-573-6846
 – If you live near Alamosa 719-589-3232
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October 16 to October 22: This Week in Denver Weather History

Sunday, October 16th, 2016 3:41am MST
This Week In Denver Weather History

October 16 to October 22: This Week in Denver Weather History

Snow and wind are two common conditions we see this time of year and our look back at this week in Denver weather history certainly has those type of events. Also notable is a surprising October hail storm 13 years ago that went into the books as one of the costliest in history.

From the National Weather Service:

13-16

In 1873…smoke from several large forest fires in the mountains made the air very hazy in the city.

15-16

In 1928…a thunderstorm produced hail shortly after midnight on the 15th. Rain changed to snow by evening. Through the afternoon of the 16th…the heavy snowfall totaled 7.3 inches in the city. North winds were sustained to 23 mph on the 15th.

In 1984…the heaviest October snowstorm in several years hit eastern Colorado with a vengeance. The storm was known as the “Bronco Blizzard” since it occurred during a nationally televised Monday Night Football game in Denver. One to two feet of snow fell near the foothills in west metro Denver with 2 to 3 feet in the foothills. Wind gusts up to 55 mph whipped the snow into drifts as high as 4 feet. The storm closed schools…roads…and airports. I-70 was closed both east and west of Denver. I-25 was closed south to Colorado Springs. Flights were delayed for several hours at Stapleton International Airport. Power outages were widespread. Snowfall totaled 9.2 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusting as high as 40 mph caused frequent surface visibilities of 1/4 to 1/2 mile in moderate to heavy snow and blowing snow overnight. The high temperature of only 35 degrees on the 15th was a record low maximum for the date.

15-17

In 1989…an autumn snowstorm hit metro Denver with 2 to 6 inches of snow. Snowfall totaled 4.4 inches at Stapleton International Airport where the maximum snow depth on the ground was only 3 inches due to melting and north winds gusted to 25 mph on the 15th. The heavy wet snow caused leafy branches to sag onto power lines…resulting in a number of power outages. Five thousand homes were blacked out in Boulder on the 16th. Up to a foot of snow fell in the higher foothills with 19 inches recorded at Echo Lake.

16

In 1878…high winds reached sustained speeds of 60 mph.

In 1998…one of the costliest hail storms to ever hit metro Denver caused an estimated total of 87.8 million dollars in damage to homes…commercial buildings…and motor vehicles. At the time the storm was ranked as the 7th costliest ever. The hailstorm…rare for so late in the season…began over portions of Arvada…Wheat Ridge…and northwest Denver where mostly pea sized hail accumulated up to a depth of 6 inches near I-70. Several accidents were attributed… At least in part…to the hailstorm. Snowplows had to be called out to clear several city streets. The storm intensified as it moved to the east…into the Denver and Aurora areas. Large hail…up to 2.00 inches in diameter pounded east and southeast metro Denver. Two inch diameter hail fell in the city of Denver and at Buckley Field. Hail as large as 1 1/2 inches was measured in south Denver with 1 inch diameter hail in northern Aurora.

In 1999…upslope conditions produced snow across metro Denver with heavy amounts in the nearby foothills. Snowfall totals included: 9 inches at Eldorado Springs; 8 inches at Genesee… Golden Gate Canyon…Littleton and near Morrison; 7 inches near Nederland; and 6 inches in Louisville. Snowfall totaled 3.6 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

16-17

In 1990…strong downslope winds raked the eastern foothills. Wind gusts from 60 to 75 mph were common. Strong winds in metro Denver resulted in wave damage to a dock used to moor several private sail boats at Cheery Creek Reservoir. Damage was confined to the dock and two anchor cables. A northwest wind gust to 43 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

17

In 1878…strong winds reached sustained speeds of 48 mph.

In 1988…a wind gust to 62 mph was recorded in central Boulder. The strong winds caused a few brief power outages. An old smoldering brush fire in the foothills west of Boulder was re-ignited by the wind gusts.

In 1994…winds gusted to 85 mph atop Squaw Mountain…5 miles south of Idaho Springs.

In 2006…a potent storm system brought heavy snowfall to the mountains and eastern foothills. Snowfall totals in the foothills included: 14 inches at Blackhawk…13.5 inches near Idaho Springs…13 inches at cabin creek…12.5 inches at Aspen Springs and Echo Lake…11.5 inches at Georgetown and Rollinsville…10.5 inches near Jamestown…and 10 inches at grant and Lake Eldora. Lesser snow amounts…from 4 to 9 inches…were recorded elsewhere in the foothills. Snowfall totaled only 3.5 inches in the Denver Stapleton area. At Denver International Airport…north winds gusted to 31 mph.

In 2012…A brief but powerful windstorm associated with a fast moving cold front across the Urban Corridor and adjacent plains during in the evening. Peak wind gusts ranging from 58 to 71 mph downed trees and power lines which damaged homes and vehicles. Several temporary structures were also damaged. Approximately fifty thousand were left without power in the Denver…Fort Collins and Greeley areas. Some schools were closed the following day until power could be restored. Around the Denver area…peak wind gusts included: 69 mph in Golden…64 mph at Littleton…62 mph at Buckley AFB and in Denver…near the intersection of Walnut St. and Interstate 25…and Longmont; 59 mph at Centennial Airport…58 mph at Denver City Park… Highlands Ranch.  At Denver International Airport…a peak wind gust to 35 mph was observed from the northwest.

17-19

In 1908…a moist…heavy…wet snowfall totaled 13.0 inches in downtown Denver over the 3 days. Rain from early morning on the 17th changed to snow by late afternoon and continued through the late morning of the 19th. Due to temperatures in the 30’s and melting…the most snow on the ground was only 5.0 inches at 6:00 pm on the 18th. Northwest to northeast winds were sustained between 12 and 20 mph during the storm. Precipitation totaled 1.82 inches.

18

In 1875…the haze was so dense that the mountains were not visible from downtown Denver for most of the day.

In 1937…a vigorous cold front produced north winds sustained to 32 mph with gusts to 41 mph. Rain and snow totaled 0.16 inch. Post-frontal snowfall of 0.8 inch was the only snowfall of the month.

In 1960…post-frontal upslope rain changed to snow. Snowfall was 2.2 inches at Stapleton Airport where precipitation (rain and melted snow) totaled 1.58 inches.

In 1971…wind gusts to 48 mph were recorded in downtown Boulder. West winds gusted to 30 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1999…heavy snow developed in the foothills west of metro Denver with lesser amounts across the city. Snowfall totals included: 7 inches near Nederland…6 inches in Boulder…and 5 inches at Chief Hosa. Only 1.2 inches of snow were measured at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

18-23

In 2003…an extended warm spell resulted in 5 new temperature records. The high temperature of 84 degrees on the 18th equaled the record high for the date. High temperatures of 86 degrees on the 19th…83 degrees on the 21st…and 84 degrees on the 22nd were record highs for the dates. Low temperature of 49 degrees on the 23rd was a record high minimum for the date. Low temperatures during the period were in the 40’s and lower 50’s.

» Click here to read the rest of October 16 to October 22: This Week in Denver Weather History

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Denver sets new record high temperature for October 15

Saturday, October 15th, 2016 4:35pm MST

Record setting high temperatures in Thornton.Our unseasonably warm and dry weather of recent months has continued right into October and culminated with a record high for the date.

At Denver International Airport, where the Mile High City’s official measurements are taken, the high temperature today topped out at 85 degrees.  That bests the previous record high for the date of 83 degrees set in 2014.

Here in Thornton, we came close to Denver’s mark with our high of 83.5 degrees coming at 1:35pm.

Looking ahead, we’ll see similar high temperature readings tomorrow.  We will then start to cool down as a system moves through from the Pacific Northwest.  Get the forecast here.

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Very warm, very dry weather to be highlight of Thornton’s weekend

Friday, October 14th, 2016 5:10am MST

The three-day period is going to continue our unseasonably warm and very dry early fall. In fact, it will be starting out with potentially record setting warmth before cooling down just a bit.

For Friday, high pressure remains over the region and will continue to do so through the weekend. Up above we will have mostly sunny skies with just a few high clouds. Temperatures today will be climbing to the mid-80s, very close to and potentially hitting and exceeding the record high for the date of 85 degrees set in 1962. The high temps and dry conditions do cause some fire concerns so please be careful.

Overnight tonight we will be mild with lows dipping to around 50 degrees. It may be a bit breezy in the wee hours of the morning.

Saturday does cool down some but with mercury readings still well above normal. Highs tomorrow will be near the 80 degree mark. Look for mostly sunny skies above again with calm, dry conditions.

Saturday night into Sunday morning again will be calm and mild.

We close out the weekend on Sunday with more of the same. There will be a healthy dose of sun above with temperatures topping out at or a bit above 80 degrees.

Have a great weekend!

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Temperatures and the sun stage a comeback on Thursday

Thursday, October 13th, 2016 4:50am MST

Yesterday didn’t quite pan out as expected with it remaining quite cool and cloudy throughout the day. That changes today as drier air moves in and high pressure centers over Colorado.

Look for some cloud cover to start but that will decrease as the morning progresses leaving us with mostly sunny skies for the majority of the day. Overall conditions will be calm and dry. Temperatures will be climbing to a high in the mid-70s, almost 10 degrees above normal for the date.

Similar conditions and even warmer mercury readings will be with us through the weekend.

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Hillary Clinton taking advantage of Hurricane Matthew

Thursday, October 13th, 2016 4:49am MST

Natural Disasters - Tsunami, Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Floods, Hurricanes

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, Hillary Clinton has called on Al Gore to help boost her candidacy among voters concerned about climate change. If Tuesday’s Clinton-Gore climate change rally in Miami is any indication, we are in for a wild ride in the coming weeks. Their speeches were riddled with science misrepresentations and outright mistakes.… » Click here to read the rest of Hillary Clinton taking advantage of Hurricane Matthew

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Hurricane Nicole bears down on Bermuda

Thursday, October 13th, 2016 3:55am MST

Mexico City (dpa) – Hurricane Nicole is expected to arrive in the British overseas territory of Bermuda on Thursday, with officials telling locals to be wary of the category 4 storm. Late on Wednesday evening the centre of the hurricane was situated around 290 kilometres south-south west of Bermuda with wind speeds of up to 215… » Click here to read the rest of Hurricane Nicole bears down on Bermuda

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NC hurricane death toll now 19, with 3,800 in shelters, 143,000 without power

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 8:52am MST

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina’s Hurricane Matthew death toll has risen yet again in the ninth day of recovery to 19 people, most of them drownings that occurred when people were trapped in vehicles and swept away. The toll could rise even more, as rivers in five more counties are expected to surpass record levels between… » Click here to read the rest of NC hurricane death toll now 19, with 3,800 in shelters, 143,000 without power

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Thornton’s Wednesday starts damp, will remain cool but will see clearing

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 5:03am MST

Following a nice little bit of precipitation overnight and into this morning, we will dry out quickly and the sun will return but temperatures will be much cooler.

We start out the day with cloudy skies, perhaps some lingering drizzle in a few areas. By mid-morning those clouds will start to break and then continue to decrease as the day progresses leading to mostly sunny skies by late afternoon. In the wake of the system temperatures are going to remain much cooler than recent days with highs in the mid to upper 50s.

Looking ahead, we will be rebounding quickly with above normal temperatures returning from tomorrow into the first of next week.

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