September 25 to October 1: This week in Denver weather history
Colorado’s famously inconsistent weather can be seen in our look back at this week in Denver weather history. Not only do we see damaging thunderstorms and winds but even major snowstorms that deposited more than a foot of the white stuff on the city.
From the National Weather Service:
In 1873…a fire was sighted in the woods near Platte Canyon… Probably caused by high winds blowing sparks among the timber.
In 1896…an apparent cold front produced northeast sustained winds to 40 mph with gusts to 48 mph.
In 1910…a thunderstorm produced sustained north winds to 51 mph. This was the highest recorded wind speed in the city in September at the time.
In 1936…a vigorous cold front produced a deadly dust storm in the city. North winds sustained to 36 mph with gusts to 38 mph produced much blowing dense dust…greatly restricting the visibility. The temperature plunged from a high of 84 degrees to a low of 38 degrees by midnight. The weather observer described the event with the following. “at 6:00 pm the temperature was 82 degrees and the wind velocity was only 4 mph; but with the wind shifting to the north and the barometer rising quite rapidly…the temperature fell sharply. By 6:30 pm…the wind velocity increased rapidly and by 7:00 pm had reached a maximum sustained velocity of 36 mph…bringing with it clouds of dust which had been picked up by gale force winds in southern Wyoming and northern Colorado…covering the city. The visibility was generally reduced to about 1/4 mile; however…the whirling of the dust down the streets and alleys…the visibility was at times somewhat less. Airplanes were grounded…traffic was halted at times…and homes filled with dust. The strong winds damaged electric power and telephone lines…leaving homes in darkness for a few hours in the city and for 18 hours in suburban towns and putting 2500 telephones out of service because of broken lines. An electric lineman was killed while repairing damage by the high winds. The dust storm was followed by rain that began falling at 10:55 pm…which turned to snow during the early morning hours of the 26th. A major snow storm followed on the 27th through the 29th.”
In 1999…high winds developed in the foothills of Boulder County. Winds gusted to 90 mph at Wondervu.
In 1908…apparent post-frontal rain changed to snow overnight and totaled 6.5 inches in downtown Denver. This was the first snow of the season. Precipitation totaled 0.76 inch. North winds were sustained to 39 mph on the 25th.
In 1996…an early season snowstorm brought heavy snow to the Front Range eastern foothills. Snowfall totals included: 8 to 12 inches around conifer…7 inches on Floyd Hill…and 6 inches at both Bailey and Chief Hosa. Snowfall totaled only 4.7 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. This was the first measurable snow of the season. After the passage of a strong cold front…north winds gusted to 38 mph at Denver International Airport on the 25th.
In 1907…a late afternoon thunderstorm produced hail…0.23 inch of precipitation…and north winds sustained to 24 mph.
In 1927…snowfall of 1.7 inches…mixed at times with sleet… Was the first measurable snowfall of the season.
In 2012…a man was seriously injured when he was struck by lightning outside the Hebrew Educational Alliance as he and his family were getting in their car. The victim stopped breathing but was saved when his wife performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him immediately.
In 1936…the heaviest snowfall ever recorded in September and the heaviest snowfall ever recorded so early in the season dumped a total of 16.5 inches of snow on downtown Denver and 21.3 inches at Denver Municipal Airport. The 15.0 inches of snow measured from 6:00 pm on the 27th to 6:00 pm on the 28th is the greatest 24 hour snowfall ever recorded in September. This was the first snow of the season. The snow was intermittent through the 26th…but continuous from early afternoon on the 27th to around midnight on the 28th…except for a period of rain during the afternoon of the 28th which contributed to a loss of depth on the ground. The greatest snow depth on the ground downtown was 13 inches with 8 inches at Denver Municipal Airport. There were no high winds with the storm and traffic was interrupted for only a short period. The storm produced property damage estimated at 7 million dollars. With trees and shrubs in full foliage…the leaves caught and held the heavy water-laden snow…until the branches snapped from the weight. More than 3000 workmen were called to remove the debris and snow from the city. The city firemen who were off duty…as well as all the reserves… were asked to report to their stations. All schools in the city remained open…but attendance was only 50 percent of normal. Grade school students were sent home at noon on the 28th. The early storm caught stockmen with many cattle still in higher ranges. Warm weather followed the snow…which had all melted by the end of the month…except for a few inches in sheltered places.
In 1877…smoke from heavy forest fires in the mountains spread over the city on upper wind currents.
In 1935…the first snow of the season was 2.8 inches in downtown Denver. The low temperature dipped to 31 degrees for the first freeze of the season.
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