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Flash Flooding – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021 3:04am MDT

Floods and Flash FloodsFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Please check back daily for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
600 AM MDT WED MARCH 10 2021

Today’s topic during this Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness week is flash floods.

Flash floods are no strangers to Colorado. Since the year 1900, nearly 300 people have been killed in flash floods across the Centennial state.

In terms of lives lost, the worst flash flood occurred on July 31, 1976 in the Big Thompson Canyon between Estes Park and Loveland. A nearly stationary storm produced around 12 inches of rain in 4 hours, claiming 144 lives.

Three other notable flash floods in Colorado were:

In 1904, just north of Pueblo, a bridge failed and around 100 people drowned when a passenger train plunged into Fountain Creek.

The 1997 Fort Collins episode drowned 5 people and caused 200 million dollars of property damage.

In 2013, 9 people drowned during the historic September rain episode, which was a combination of flash floods and river floods. These floods were much more extensive than the Big Thompson Canyon flood of 1976, but because of timely and accurate warnings, many people stayed out of harms way and lives were saved.

A flash flood is defined as a rapid rise in water levels, generally occurring in less than 6 hours, along large creeks, normally dry washes, arroyos, or over normally dry land areas, and can occur with little advanced notice.

Flash floods frequently result from high rainfall rates, and infrequently result from dam failures, levee failures, or sudden breaks in river ice jams. Flash floods are very destructive, due to the force of the moving water, and the accompanying debris. This tremendous force can easily damage or destroy roadways, bridges, and buildings.

In recent years, Colorado has seen major flooding and damage when heavy rains have occurred on wildfire burn scar areas. If you are in or near a burn scar area, you need to plan ahead. Be aware of general flash flood plans and procedures that have been developed and implemented by your local emergency management officials. You should know your flash flood risks, and make your plans to save your life and those around you.

The National Weather Service forecast offices will discuss flash flood potential in daily hazardous weather outlooks, and in graphical weather stories on National Weather Service forecast office web sites.

During days when flash flooding is possible a Flash Flood Watch will be issued.

During days when flash flooding is likely or occurring, a Flash Flood Warning will be issued.

When a Flash Flood Warning is issued for your area, you need to act quickly if you are in a drainage area or in other low spots. Know your escape routes to higher ground and act as quickly as possible. It may be just a short walk or climb to that higher ground.

Many flash flood deaths occur in vehicles. Do not drive through a flooded roadway. The water may be much deeper than you think, because the roadway may be damaged or washed away. One to two feet of water will carry away most vehicles. Instead turn around, do not drown.

For more information on flood safety go to…

http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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Thornton to enjoy one more mild day before conditions become unsettled

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 5:07am MDT

Be sure to get out and take advantage of today’s warm weather as it may be the last for a while. A series of systems, one with the potential to hit hard, will be mixing things up into the beginning of next week.

For today, mostly sunny skies will be the general rule for much of the day with a bit of an increase in cloud cover this afternoon. Highs today will again top out in the mid to upper 60s. Overall conditions will be calm with some breezy winds in the late afternoon and evening.

Tonight, partly cloudy skies will be above with overnight lows around freezing.

Looking ahead, a weak cold front arrives tonight and that will start the cool down and bring slight chances for rain / snow tomorrow and Thursday. All eyes are on a potentially far stronger system arriving in the Friday / Saturday timeframe that could impact us through the weekend.

Some of the hype is way overblown (no, we are not going to get 5 feet of snow) but this could be one of those classic spring storms that dumps a good deal of heavy, wet snow. Much could change between now and then but it isn’t a bad idea to be aware and perhaps plan on getting those weekend errands done early.

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Long Time Frame Flooding – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 4:10am MDT

Floods and Flash FloodsFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Please check back daily for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
600 AM MDT TUESDAY MARCH 9 2021

Today’s topic during this Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Awareness Week is flooding which develops in the time frame of longer than 6 hours to several days. Floods in Colorado can result from snow melt, ice jams, a combination of snow melt and heavy rain, or just heavy rain. National Weather Service forecast offices in Colorado closely collaborate with regional River Forecast Centers that monitor the Colorado River, South Platte River, Arkansas River, and Rio Grande to come to a consensus on the likelihood of flooding along rivers and large creeks.

The National Weather Service will discuss flood potential in hydrologic outlooks, daily hazardous weather outlooks, and in graphical weather stories on National Weather Service forecast office websites.

Hydrologic statements may be issued for high flows that are within the banks of a river or large creek.

When flooding is possible on a river or large creek, a Flood Watch will be issued, meaning flooding is possible within the designated watch area.

When flooding is likely or occurring on a river or large creek, a Flood Warning will be issued, meaning flooding is expected or has been reported at designated river forecast points.

Flood Advisories may be issued for minor flooding on rivers and creeks.

An Areal Flood Warning may also be issued for flooding on a river or large creek in areas away from the designated river forecast points.

You can easily monitor potential flooding along rivers in Colorado and large creeks using the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service monitoring system. Information on this monitoring system can be obtained from this web site: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2

This monitoring system can be accessed on Colorado National Weather Service forecast office websites by clicking Rivers and Lakes.

At each river and large creek gauge you can easily look at current and forecast water levels, flood categories, historic crests, and flood impacts. Probabilities of exceedance of certain water levels by week or over the long term are also available.

In general, there will be some time to prepare for river and large creek flooding, and emergency management in your area has plans in place to address flooding issues. Know these plans and how you should act accordingly when Flood Watches and Flood Warnings are in effect.

For more information on flood safety go to… http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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Monday in Thornton to offer mild temperatures, some clouds

Monday, March 8th, 2021 4:57am MDT

Another mild day ahead for us with temperatures 10 degrees or so warmer than normal.

The day does start off with a good bit of high cloud cover due to a passing system. It’s effects will be limited though and the afternoon will see clearing skies. High temperatures today will top out in the mid-60s. Some breezy winds may be seen this afternoon but nothing too strong or persistent.

Tonight, skies will be mostly clear with overnight lows in the mid-30s.

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Types of Floods – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Monday, March 8th, 2021 3:20am MDT

Floods and Flash FloodsFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Check back each day for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BOULDER CO
600 AM MDT MON MARCH 8 2021

Flooding can be a major problem in Colorado as we experienced in September 2013. Heavy rain fell over a large area of the foothills south to the Pikes Peak Region, resulting in flash flooding. Much of the water that fell across northeast Colorado eventually ended up in the South Platte River, with major river flooding having occurred from Greeley to the state line.

River flooding can result from heavy rain during the summer and from rapid snow melt or thunderstorm rain combining with runoff from melting snow. Flash flooding refers to a dangerous sudden rise in water within an urban area, in a canyon, or along a creek or wash over normally dry land area. Flash floods result from heavy rainfall, sudden breaks in river ice jams, and dam or levee failures.

Flash floods can occur within a few minutes or hours, and can move at surprisingly high speeds, striking with little warning. Flash floods are quite destructive because of the force of the moving water, and the debris that accumulates in flood waters, such as trees and boulders, which can destroy roadways, bridges and buildings.

Another complication in Colorado is the serious flooding that can result when heavy rain falls on recently burned areas. Anyone living downstream from a recently burned area should be aware of the changed conditions, which result in much faster, turbulent, debris and ash clogged waters from the burned area.

The National Weather Service will discuss flood and flash flood potential in daily Hazardous Weather Outlooks and in the graphical weather story on National Weather Service websites. On days with a high threat for flooding, you may hear of a Flash Flood or Flood Watch, which means that flash flooding or flooding is possible within the watch area.

A Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent or has been reported along a river.

A Flash Flood Warning means that flash flooding has been reported or is imminent.

When a Flash Flood Warning is issued for your area, act quickly. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Go to higher ground or climb to safety before access is cut off by flood waters. Go Up, Not Out. Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle related. Do not enter a flooded roadway, instead Turn Around…Don’t Drown. In rapidly rising waters, backing up away from water would be safer. One to two feet of water will carry away most vehicles, and you also cannot tell if the road is damaged beneath the water.

More information on flooding hazards can be found on the National Weather Service Flood Safety page here.

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week continues through this Saturday.

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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March 7 to March 13: This week in Denver weather history

Sunday, March 7th, 2021 4:58am MDT

This Week in Denver Weather History

As we talked about in our March weather preview, Denver can see the entire gamut of weather conditions this time of year and our look back at this week in history shows that.  There are of course plenty of the famous March snowstorms including big ones in 1992 and 1998.  We also see the usual high winds such as was the case in 2000 and even extreme cold as we saw over an extended period in 1906.

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6-7

In 1981…a storm dumped 4 to 8 inches of snow over higher elevations between Denver and Colorado springs.  At Stapleton International Airport…north winds gusted to 16 mph and snowfall totaled only 2.5 inches.

In 1998…heavy snow fell over portions of metro Denver and the adjacent foothills.  Snowfall totals included 11 inches at Chief Hosa…10 inches near Evergreen…8.5 inches in Broomfield…8 inches at Bailey…and 7 inches at both Standley Lake and Thornton.  Elsewhere…snowfall across metro Denver ranged from 3 to 6 inches with 4.9 inches measured at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.  North winds gusted to 26 mph at Denver International Airport on the 7th.  Several accidents occurred along area roads and highways when they became icy and snowpacked.

6-8

In 1932…snowfall totaled 6.3 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow…5.2 inches…fell on the 8th.  Northeast winds gusted to 20 mph on the 6th.

7

In 1872…heavy rain started shortly after midnight and soon turned to sleet…which continued to just after sunrise…the ground at that time not even being white. At about 7:00 am the worst snow storm of the winter commenced and continued until 10:00 pm…snowing heavily nearly all the time.  North winds averaged a sustained speed of 25 mph.  About 8 inches of snow fell…but it drifted too much to obtain a direct measurement.

In 1901…northwest winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts as high as 58 mph.  The strong Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 70 degrees.

In 1902…northwest winds were sustained to 45 mph with gusts to 53 mph.

In 1950…strong north winds at 40 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph produced a dust storm across metro Denver.  At Stapleton Airport…blowing dust reduced visibility to as low as 1/4 mile for most of the day.

In 1972…northwest winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport.  The Chinook winds warmed temperatures to a high of 64 degrees.

In 1984…a wind gust to 63 mph was recorded at Golden Gate Canyon west of Denver.  West winds gusted to 39 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

7-8

In 1878…snow from the evening of the 7th until noon of the 8th totaled only 5 inches in downtown Denver. Apparent heavier snow over the plains along with strong winds drifted the snow into high drifts…which delayed trains for several days and caused a great loss of livestock.  Melting of the snow caused a rise in Cherry Creek…which resulted in much damage.  Precipitation from the storm totaled only 0.50 inch in Denver.

In 2000…high winds developed in and near the Front Range foothills…as well as parts of the northeast Colorado plains as another pacific storm system moved across the area.  Several trees and power lines were downed near Blackhawk…Boulder…and in Coal Creek Canyon.  About 30 homes in the Pinebrook Hills subdivision in Boulder were evacuated when downed power lines sparked a grassfire.  The winds eventually shifted the fire onto itself…thus allowing firefighters to contain the two acre blaze.  Several roofs were blown off barns…sheds… And garages.  Two semi-trailers were blown over…one along c-470 between Golden and Morrison and another north of Denver on I-25.  Wind gusts reached 101 mph on Rocky Flats…100 mph at the nearby national wind technology center…90 mph at Blackhawk and atop Blue Mountain…92 mph in south Boulder…73 mph in Coal Creek Canyon…72 mph in Golden…and 70 mph at Louisville. Northwest winds gusted to 45 mph on the 7th and to 49 mph on the 8th at Denver International Airport.

8

In 1878…winds started to increase at 4:00 am and blew steadily at sustained speeds of 36 to 40 mph with a maximum sustained speed of 60 mph around 11:00 am. Snowfall of 5.0 inches occurred in the city…but much more snow fell on the plains…which blockaded trains bound for the city for several days.

In 1898…northwest winds sustained to 53 mph with gusts to 60 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 67 degrees.

In 1908…light snowfall of 0.8 inch produced only 0.01 inch of precipitation.  This along with the 0.10 inch of precipitation on the 21st resulted in the driest March on record with a total of 0.11 inch of precipitation.

In 1986…temperatures climbed from a record high minimum of 45 degrees to a record maximum of 72 degrees for the day.

In 2005…a vigorous cold front moved a wall of blowing dust across metro Denver during the mid-morning.  At Denver International Airport…north winds sustained to 48 mph with gusts as high as 55 mph…along with very light rain which changed to snow…briefly reduced the surface visibility to 1 mile.  A thunderstorm formed over Arvada. With the passage of the cold front…the temperature plunged 11 degrees in just 16 minutes at Denver International Airport where precipitation was only 0.01 inch along with 0.1 inch of snow.

8-9

In 1992…a major blizzard struck metro Denver.  The storm was preceded by thunderstorms with small hail during the afternoon of the 8th.  By evening…with the passage of a strong arctic cold front…snow began falling.  Strong north to northeast winds at 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 52 mph produced near zero visibilities in blizzard conditions across metro Denver.  By the morning of the 9th…snowfall amounts up to a foot and a half were reported with drifts of 2 to 4 feet.  Many roads were closed including I-70 east of Denver and I-25 both north and south of Denver.  Many homes and stores were temporarily without power.  Snowfall amounts included:  18 inches at Conifer…13 inches in Boulder and Denver…12 inches at Brighton and Morrison…and 10 inches at Aurora.  Snowfall totaled 12.4 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusting as high as 52 mph reduced the visibility to zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow.

In 2002…high winds occurred in the foothills west of Denver. Winds gusted to 95 mph near Fritz Peak and to 73 mph near Nederland.

8-10

In 1989…unusually warm weather set four daily temperature records in Denver.  The high temperature of 74 degrees on the 8th exceeded the record.  Records were equaled on the 9th with a high of 77 degrees and the 10th with a high of 79 degrees.  The low temperature of 42 degrees on the 10th set a new record high minimum for the date.

9

In 1918…northwest winds sustained to 44 mph with gusts as high as 52 mph occurred during the early morning hours.

In 1960…west-northwest winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1980…high winds were recorded in the foothills with a wind gust to 84 mph at Wondervu.  Northwest winds gusted to 38 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1982…strong Chinook winds buffeted the foothills in Boulder.  Wind gusts of 60 to 90 mph toppled a microwave dish antenna and blew the shell off a camper.  West winds gusted to 47 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1986…high winds in the foothills with gusts of 60 to 70 mph were reported at Golden Gate Canyon and in Boulder. Northwest winds gusted to 35 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

9-10

In 1904…strong Chinook winds raked the city for 2 days.  On the 9th…west winds sustained to 53 mph with gusts to 62 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 55 degrees.  On the 10th… West winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts to 54 mph. The high temperature was 58 degrees.

In 2013…a storm system brought heavy snow to areas in and near the Front Range Mountains and Foothills where storm totals included: 13 inches at Berthoud Pass SNOTEL…12 inches at Arapahoe Ridge; 11 inches…5 miles southwest of Golden; 10.5 inches near Kittridge; 10 inches at Lake Eldora and Pine Junction; 9.5 inches near Conifer…9 inches…near Bailey and 9 miles east-northeast of Nederland…Joe Wright and Strontia Springs.  Along the Urban Corridor…some storm totals included: 8.5 inches at Highlands Ranch and near Morrison; 8 inches in Arvada; 7 inches…5 miles northeast of Westminster; 6.5 inches at Centennial…Lone Tree and Wheat Ridge; 6 inches in West Denver…Hygiene…Lyons and Thornton…5.5 inches in Broomfield; with 5 inches in Aurora and the former Stapleton International Airport.  Across the Palmer Divide and northeast plains of Colorado…storm totals ranged anywhere from 2 to 10 inches. The combination of snow and strong wind produced blizzard conditions and forced the closure of Interstate 70 east of Denver. Sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 45 mph produced near zero visibilities at times and snowpacked roads. Snowdrifts from 2 to 4 feet deep were reported. As a result…many of the roadways became impassable. Officially…Denver International recorded 5.4 inches of snowfall on the 9th. In addition…a peak wind gust to 38 mph was observed from the north.

» Click here to read the rest of March 7 to March 13: This week in Denver weather history

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Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week begins

Sunday, March 7th, 2021 12:01am MDT
Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week, March 3 – 9, 2019.

Floods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  The first of these messages is below.  Check back each day this week for further topics.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BOULDER CO
600 AM MDT SUN MARCH 7 2021

Flood and wildfire season is approaching. The National Weather Service Offices in Colorado have joined with Colorado Governor Jared Polis to declare March 7 to 13 Colorado FLOOD SAFETY AND WILDFIRE AWARENESS WEEK. Use the information provided during the coming days to help understand your risks from floods and wildfire and make your plans to be prepared.

The National Weather Service wants everyone in the United States to be part of a Weather-Ready nation. Colorado has more than its fair share of floods, flash floods, and wildfires. You should be weather alert and weather-ready, knowing how to stay safe when floods and wildfires affect your area.

Floodprone areas have been identified in over 250 cities and towns and in all 64 counties in Colorado. Over 250 thousand people live in floodplains in Colorado. There are estimated to be 65 thousand homes and 15 thousand commercial, industrial, and business structures in identified floodplains. There are likely many more structures located within unmapped flood hazard areas. The value of the property, structures, and contents located in the identified floodplains is estimated to be around 15 billion dollars.

Floods and flash floods have killed over 400 people in Colorado since the turn of the 20th century. The historic weather pattern of September 2013 reminds us all that floods are a major concern across the Centennial state. Floods have caused billions of dollars of damage in Colorado.

On average, 2500 wildfires occur across Colorado each year. Since 2012, 8 people have been killed when wildfires occurred in the wildland-urban interface.

The National Weather Service forecast offices which serve Colorado will issue a series of public information statements during this Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Awareness Week…covering the following topics:

Sunday…Introduction to the week
Monday…Flood watches and warnings
Tuesday…River floods
Wednesday…Flash floods
Thursday…Fire forecasts…watches…and warnings
Friday…Wildfire safety and mitigation
Saturday…Review of the week

More information on floods and wildfires is available at your local National Weather Service web sites…

http://www.weather.gov/denver NWS Dnver/Boulder web site
http://www.weather.gov/pueblo NWS Pueblo web site
http://www.weather.gov/goodland NWS Goodland web site
http://www.weather.gov/gjt NWS Grand Junction web site

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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Thornton’s weekend to feature calm conditions, mild temperatures

Friday, March 5th, 2021 4:59am MDT

If you begin to feel a bit of spring fever this weekend, it will be understandable. We are set to enjoy a beautiful weekend with mild temps and calm conditions.

For Friday, after a few early clouds, it will be sunny for the majority of the day. High temperatures will climb to the mid to upper 50s with calm conditions. Tonight, skies remain clear with overnight lows dropping to the upper 20s.

Saturday sees temperatures warm even further. We will have some clouds but nothing too intrusive. Highs will be in the mid-60s. Saturday night, lows will be near freezing under partly cloudy skies.

Sunday’s weather is pretty much a repeat of Saturday. Highs will again reach the mid-60s under mostly sunny skies. Get outside and enjoy it!

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A brief return to wintry weather for Thornton’s Thursday

Thursday, March 4th, 2021 5:19am MDT

In the wake of a few mild days, colder temperatures and the potential for a shot of snow arrive. Precipitation is a certainty, what form that takes is not though.

Mostly cloudy skies start us off but soon we will be entirely cloudy. Winds will be light initially but then north winds become quite breezy in the afternoon. High temperatures today will top out in the mid-40s right about noon, then begin a descent.

As for precipitation, the morning might some sprinkles, perhaps with a few snowflakes mixed in. This afternoon is when the bulk of the moisture arrives with showers becoming likely from noon through the evening.

As mentioned above, there is still a lot of uncertainty about what form the precipitation will take. Temperatures are going to be the key factor as the warmer it is, the more chance for rain versus snow. If it gets cold enough though, we could see an inch or two of the white stuff with an off chance for a bit more.

Tonight, any precipitation should end by midnight and skies will begin clearing. Overnight lows tonight will drop to the mid to upper 20s.

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Warm temperatures, lots of sun for Thornton’s Wednesday

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021 5:45am MDT

If you liked yesterday’s weather, you will like today’s as well. Wednesday will offer very similar conditions with mile temps are sunny skies.

Clear skies start us off and will be with us throughout the day. Overall conditions will be calm and dry. Look for highs to once again reach the low to mid-60s.

Tonight, skies will be mostly clear with overnight lows in the upper 20s.

Enjoy!

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