November 20 to November 26: This Week in Denver Weather History
With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, travelers cast a wary eye on Denver’s weather and in our look back at this week in Denver weather history we see they have had cause for concern in the past. Snowstorms and wind have caused their share of problems. Also notable, it was 140 years ago that Denver’s first official weather observation occurred.
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From the National Weather Service:
In 1930…a major storm dumped a total of 13.6 inches of snowfall over downtown Denver. Most of the snow…9.4 inches…fell on the 19th when north winds were sustained to 23 mph. This was the only measurable snow of the month. Temperatures hovered in the 20’s and lower 30’s.
In 1956…an intense winter storm dumped 12.8 inches of snowfall on metro Denver. Strong north-northeast winds gusting to 33 mph at Stapleton Airport frequently reduced the visibility to 1/2 mile in snow and blowing snow on the 19th. Most of the snowfall…10.7 inches…occurred on the 19th.
In 1979…a heavy snowstorm buried most of Colorado under at least a foot of snow. Snowfall at Stapleton International Airport totaled 17.7 inches…the greatest snow depth since 1946. Winds to 60 mph produced 5-foot drifts paralyzing the city as temperatures hovered in the 20’s. While small airports closed…Stapleton remained open…but with long delays that snarled thanksgiving holiday traffic. Schools and businesses closed and postal deliveries were delayed. Almost all major highways leading out of Denver were closed to traffic for periods of time on the 20th and 21st. Most of the snow…13.5 inches…fell on the 20th. At Stapleton International Airport…north winds gusted to 35 mph on the 20th and to 38 mph on the 21st.
In 1871…the first official weather observation in Denver… Was taken by Henry Fenton…observer sergeant of the united states army signal service at 5:43 am. The office was located on the 2nd floor of a building at the corner of Larimer and g streets…now 16th street. The daily weather journal hand written entry for the day follows: “Snow fell heavily during past night. At 5:43 am it was snowing light and continued until 8 am. Wind during snow storm gentle and a little west of south…and continued there during the remainder of the day. Sky clear after 8 am. Very cold weather prevailed all day and night. Thermometer at 9:43 pm 14 degrees. Rain gauge and self-registering thermometer not in position owing to severe storm last week. Barometer falling during the morning and rising rapidly at night.”
In 1894…northwest Chinook winds sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 45 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 58 degrees in the city.
In 1909…steady and very strong winds in Boulder caused 3 thousand dollars in damage.
In 1915…post-frontal northeast winds sustained to 40 mph with gusts as high as 42 mph produced only a trace of snow. It was windy most of the day.
In 1923…west winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts to 44 mph before daybreak. The strong winds persisted in the city for only about 3 hours.
In 1993…a wind gust to 72 mph was recorded at Table Mesa in southwest Boulder.
In 1994…winds gusted to 77 mph atop Squaw Mountain west of Denver. West winds gusted to 40 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1898…snowfall totaled 4.0 inches in downtown Denver. Northeast winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph behind an apparent cold front on the 20th… When temperatures plunged from a high of 66 degrees to a low of 9 degrees. On the 21st the high was only 24 degrees and the low was 2 degrees.
In 1970…a wind gust to 94 mph was recorded at gold hill in the foothills west of Boulder. Strong winds also swept across metro Denver. Wind gusts reached 59 mph in downtown Boulder…while at Stapleton International Airport west- northwest winds gusted to 43 mph on the 21st. Damage was minor.
In 1992…a large Canadian air mass moved into the state at the same time an upper level storm system approached from the west. The combination of cold air at the surface and very moist air aloft produced heavy snow across the entire state. Snowfall totaled 6.3 inches at Stapleton International Airport…where north winds gusted to 23 mph on the 20th. Snow was heavier in the foothills…with 14 inches at Wondervu…13 inches at Aspen Springs…Conifer… Boulder…and Gross Reservoir…8 inches at Rollinsville… And 10 inches at Golden Gate Canyon and Morrison.
In 2007…a storm system brought moderate to heavy snowfall to portions of the urban corridor. Storm totals included: 7 inches…3 miles south-southeast of Fort Collins…with 6 inches in Boulder and at Horsetooth Inlet Bay. Elsewhere… Storm totals ranged from 2 to 5 inches. Snowfall totaled 2.0 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.
In 1891…northwest winds were sustained to 50 mph with gusts to 60 mph.
In 1899…a trace of snow fell in the city. This…together with a trace of precipitation on the 16th and 23rd…was the only precipitation of the month…making the month the driest on record. The record was equaled in November of 1901 and 1949. This trace of snow along with a trace of snow on the 23rd was the only snow of the month…ranking the month the 2nd least snowiest on record. This record was equaled in November of 1884…1901…1905…1917…and 1939.
In 1900…west winds were sustained to 46 mph with gusts to 54 mph. The Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 64 degrees.
In 1934…the latest date for the first measurable snow of the season occurred. This was not the first snow of the season… Because traces of snow had fallen earlier in September. Snowfall totaled only 1.0 inch over downtown Denver.
In 1962…strong west-northwest Chinook winds gusted to 53 mph at Stapleton Airport.
In 1998…an intense mountain wave allowed for high winds to develop in the foothills of Boulder County. Wind gusts as high as 77 mph were measured 3 miles east- northeast of Nederland.
In 1905…a trace of snow fell on both days in downtown Denver. This was the only snow of the month…ranking the month along with other Novembers…the 2nd least snowiest on record.
In 1999…the first significant snowfall of the season struck metro Denver. Snowfall totals included: 16 inches near Bailey; 13 inches near Evergreen; 12 inches at north turkey creek…Genesee…near Morrison…and near Sedalia; 11 inches near Conifer and in Evergreen; 10 inches in Louisville; 9 inches in Brighton…Broomfield…and Denver; and 8 inches at Arvada…Castle Rock…and Eldorado Springs. Snowfall totaled 8.4 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.
In 2003…heavy snow fell in and near the foothills of Boulder County. Snowfall totaled 10.5 inches in Eldorado Springs. Across the city…snowfall was lighter with 2.8 inches measured at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport on the 22nd. North winds gusted to 32 mph at Denver International Airport on the 22nd.
In 1918…post-frontal snowfall totaled 5.9 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow…5.3 inches…fell on the 22nd. North winds were sustained to 20 mph on the 21st.
In 1931…a major storm dumped a total of 13.2 inches of snowfall over downtown Denver. Most of the snow…11.4 inches…fell on the 21st. A very cold air mass settled over the city after the heavy snow on the 21st. After a low temperature of zero…the temperature climbed to a high of only 5 degrees on the 22nd…a record low maximum for the date.
In 1952…snowfall of 6.2 inches was measured at Stapleton Airport where northeast winds gusted to 17 mph on the 21st.
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