Thornton, Colorado, USA
UpdatedThu, 27-Oct-2016 4:35pm MDT 


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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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Wednesday warms up, dries out

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 5:29am MDT

We are finally set to break out of the cool, cloudy and wet pattern of the past five days or so. Temperatures will be warmer, although still a bit below normal, but perhaps most notably is that the sun will stage a bit of a return.

We start out today with partly sunny skies and varying levels of cloud and sun will be with us throughout the daytime hours. Temperatures will be warming up to the mid-60s, still below normal but warmer than the chilly of yesterday and Monday. The mid to late afternoon brings just a slight chance for thunderstorms but any activity that develops is expected to be widely scattered.

All the latest.

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Cool, wet weather to continue Tuesday

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 5:35am MDT

Today Thornton will see damp, cool conditions similar to yesterday. The good news is that tomorrow begins a warming trend that will last through the weekend.

For today look for cloudy skies above throughout the day. The evening may bring some lightening in the coverage.

Rain is going to continue off and on throughout the day although its intensity and the amount that falls will be a good bit less than yesterday. Temperatures remain well below average as we expect a high of only about 52 degrees.

Looking ahead at the balance of the week, warmer, drier conditions will finally arrive. Highs on Wednesday will warm to the mid-60s followed by 70 Thursday, mid-70s Friday and upper 70s Saturday. Sunday may hit the 80 degree mark.

While you may be tired of the chill and wet, hang in there! Relief is on the way!

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Fog starts the day, clouds and rain for the balance of Monday

Monday, May 16th, 2016 5:18am MDT

The unsettled weather that started this weekend will continue for the first couple of days of the workweek. Monday brings AM fog, clouds, rain and temperatures well below normal.

We start out with a Dense Fog Advisory that is in effect until 10:00am. Visibility in some spots will be below 1/4 of a mile so please slow down and allow plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you.

After the fog clears, a healthy layer of clouds will remain above throughout the day. Temperatures will be about 20 degrees below normal as we only expect a high temperature around 50 degrees.

Rain will be the main feature with a few sprinkles this morning before precipitation becomes widespread for the afternoon and into tonight. You can keep an eye on the coming showers with our live radar here.

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May 15 to May 21: This Week in Denver Weather History

Sunday, May 15th, 2016 3:13am MDT
This Week In Denver Weather History

May 15 to May 21: This Week in Denver Weather History

Springtime in Denver brings a variety of weather and flooding becomes a very real threat. In our look back at this week in Denver weather history we see many such events including one in 1864 that killed 19 people and destroyed the Rocky Mountain News building.

From the National Weather Service:


In 1977…high winds up to 100 mph felled hundreds of trees in Gilpin County and caused extensive damage to telephone and power lines. Lumber and steel tanks were blown around in Boulder Canyon. West winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 15th.


In 1996…a period of unusually warm weather resulted in 4 record maximum temperatures in 5 days. The record high temperatures were 87 degrees on the 14th…89 degrees on the 15th…and 93 degrees on both the 16th and 18th. The temperature climbed to only 81 degrees on the 17th which was not a record.


In 1894…southwest winds were sustained to 38 mph with gusts to 50 mph.

In 1910…an apparent cold front produced sustained northeast winds to 48 mph.

In 1986…a thunderstorm dumped an inch of rain in an hour over the eastern part of Aurora. Total rainfall from the storm was 1.62 inches.

In 1989…a 47 year old man…a Lakewood police officer…was struck and injured by lightning. Small hail piled up 3 to 4 inches deep near Golden. There was reported street flooding from heavy thunderstorm rains over western metro Denver. Rainfall totaled 0.76 inch at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1990…a thunderstorm produced a wind gust to 69 mph at Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield. Thunderstorm winds gusting to 49 mph at Stapleton International Airport produced some blowing dust.

In 1991…a funnel cloud was sighted near Morrison. Later… Hail up to 2 inches deep covered U.S. Highway 285 at South Turkey Creek Road in west metro Denver. Baseball size hail was reported on the east side of Littleton. Dime size hail was reported in Boulder.

In 1993…lightning started a fire which damaged a home in Boulder. No one was injured.

In 1997…a wind gust to 58 mph was recorded at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. A street sign was blown down at the Havana Street exit along I-70.

In 1999…lightning ignited a small fire in a 3-story structure in sunshine canyon above Boulder. The fire was quickly extinguished and caused only minor damage.

In 2003…thunderstorms produced very heavy rainfall and localized flash flooding in the foothills of central Boulder County. Rainfall ranged from 1.5 to 2.5 inches in less than 2 hours. Water ranging in depth from 6 to 9 inches covered State Highway 119 in Boulder Canyon. Dirt and rocks also washed over the roadway. Some basements were flooded in the sugarloaf area. Rockslides were also reported at Boulder falls…Lefthand Canyon…and Fourmile Canyon.


In 1957…heavy snowfall totaled 8.8 inches at Stapleton Airport. The greatest amount on the ground was 3 inches.

In 1986…a spring storm dumped 1 to 2 inches of rain over metro Denver…but 2.71 inches fell at Buckley Field in Aurora. Rainfall only totaled 0.84 inch at Stapleton International Airport. Snow fell in the foothills with 7 inches recorded in Coal Creek Canyon southwest of Boulder.


In 1875…a heavy hail storm turned into heavy rain during the afternoon. Rainfall totaled 0.86 inch in just 37 minutes…while the temperature dropped 22 degrees in 22 minutes. Precipitation totaled 0.90 inch.

In 1894…west winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts to 56 mph.

In 1949…a tornado was observed for 16 minutes…20 miles to the southeast of Stapleton Airport. The tornado moved 5 miles to the northeast before dissipating. No damage was reported.

In 1963…intense lightning started several forest fires in the foothills southwest of Denver near Deckers and Cheeseman Lake. Little precipitation fell from the storms to alleviate the unusual dry conditions so early in the season.

In 1978…thunderstorm winds caused damage in southeast Aurora. Winds of 60 to 80 mph blew down numerous fences and damaged several homes under construction. High winds tore docks loose at Cheery Creek Reservoir…sinking 3 or 4 boats and damaging about 15 others. At Stapleton International Airport where winds gusted to 60 mph…a 727 jet suffered 15 hundred dollars damage when wind toppled a runway light onto it. The public reported an unconfirmed tornado 7 miles south-southwest of Stapleton International Airport.

In 1990…a line of thunderstorms moving across metro Denver uprooted a large ash tree…which fell and blocked the outside doors to a Denver elementary school…briefly trapping the students inside. Thunderstorm wind gusts to 69 mph were reported at Jefferson County Airport. Northwest winds gusted to 44 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1991…two tornadoes touched down briefly in Castle Rock… But no injuries or damage were recorded. Heavy thunderstorm rains of 0.50 to 1.10 inches in a couple of hours caused Lena Gulch near Golden to flood. No damage was reported.

In 1996…dry microburst winds of unknown strength overturned a trailer and damaged storage sheds in Strasburg east of Denver.

16-17 In 1981…a heavy rain storm dumped 1 to 2 1/2 inches of rain across metro Denver. Rainfall totaled 1.27 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 38 mph on 17th.

In 1983…a very strong late spring storm dumped heavy snow over the Front Range. Strong winds with the storm produced blizzard conditions at times. Sustained winds were 20 to 40 mph with a peak gust to 55 mph at Stapleton International Airport. The foothills received 1 to 2 feet of snow with 4 to 12 inches along the foothills. Howling winds whipped the snow into drifts several feet deep…closing schools and highways. Stapleton International Airport was forced to reduce flight operations…closing 2 of 4 runways and stranding hundreds of travelers. Most of the damage and inconvenience caused by the storm was in power outages… Which occurred when wind and heavy wet snow caused hundreds of power poles to snap and topple. About 20 square miles of Denver were blacked out. Precipitation from the storm totaled 1 to 3 inches. At Stapleton International Airport… Snowfall totaled 7.1 inches with a maximum snow depth on the ground of only 2 inches due to melting. The high temperature of 40 degrees on the 17th was a record low maximum for the date. Due to the heavy moisture content of the storm…widespread street flooding occurred on the 18th when much of the snow melted under the warm May sun and temperatures climbed to a high of 57 degrees.

In 1995…significant moisture and upslope flow caused flooding across metro Denver. Moderate to heavy rains… Which began on the evening of the 16th…developed in the foothills and spread eastward over metro Denver throughout the night. The heavy rains brought many creeks and small streams to bankfull or slightly over. Locations along the foothills received between 3 and 4 inches of rainfall from the storm. Boulder received 3.60 inches of rainfall for the 24-hour period…causing minor street flooding near small streams. To the northwest of Boulder…a bridge which crossed Fourmile Creek was washed out. Numerous rock and mudslides occurred in foothills canyons…closing portions of U.S. Highways 6 and 40 and State Highway 119 for a few hours at a time. Rocks were piled 6 feet deep on a stretch of State Highway 119 along with Boulders as large as cars on U.S. Highway 6. A parking lot near a creek in Golden caved in leaving a hole the size of an 18-wheeler. Rushing water washed out a 50-foot stretch of a road in Westminster. Rainfall totaled 1.75 inches at Denver International Airport…but only 1.42 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

» Click here to read the rest of May 15 to May 21: This Week in Denver Weather History

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Following a mild Friday the 13th, the weekend weather becomes unsettled

Friday, May 13th, 2016 4:59am MDT

We’ll enjoy a mild day with plenty of sun and a bit of a wind today. A front will be pushing through though that is going to lead to cooler temperatures and unsettled conditions for the weekend.

For today look for mostly sunny skies throughout the day. With the front approaching, winds are going to be a bit breezy. Temperatures will be right near normal with a high of about 71 degrees.

Cloud cover will be increasing by late evening and into the overnight hours. A few sprinkles / drizzle may be seen in the early morning hours up through mid-morning Saturday. We’ll then dry out for the middle part of the day followed by a chance for showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. Temperatures will be cool with highs in the mid-60s.

Mostly cloudy skies will be above Sunday with mercury readings again in the mid-60s. A good bit of moisture will be available and thus give us chances for showers throughout Sunday and Monday. Have a great weekend!

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Thornton’s Thursday brings very pleasant, seasonal weather

Thursday, May 12th, 2016 5:31am MDT

If you like sun and very comfortable temperatures then you are going to be pleased with today’s forecast. High pressure has built over the area and we will enjoy one of our nicest days in recent memory.

We start out with sunny skies and those will be sticking with us for most of the day. The mid to late afternoon may bring a few high clouds but nothing that will block that rays of sun for any amount of time.

Winds will be light, conditions calm. Look for a high today around 72 degrees, just above the average of 70 degrees for the date. Live weather gauges.

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Cool temps, relatively calm conditions for Wednesday

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016 5:34am MDT

Thornton will be under the influence of a trough that is going to pull in cooler air from the north today. There are some chances for storms although they are minimal.

We start out today with mostly sunny skies. Some increased cloudiness will be seen as the day progresses leading to partly sunny skies. Temperatures today will be topping out around 60 degrees, about 10 degrees below normal for the date.

There will be just a bit of instability in the atmosphere this afternoon to bring a slight chance for thunderstorms. If storms develop, moderate rain, hail, and gusty winds can be expected.

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