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Thornton, Colorado, USA
UpdatedThu, 28-May-2020 2:45am MDT 
 

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Thornton’s weekend weather to remain cool, offer some chances for showers

Friday, April 17th, 2020 5:03am MDT

With a lot of snow cover on the ground, it is going to take a bit for us to work our way out of the chill. The weekend will see gradual warming each day but also with a chance for showers.

For Friday, some fog may be seen early then we will enjoy sunny skies for the daytime hours. Highs today will only be in the mid-40s. Tonight, mostly clear skies will be above with lows in the mid-20s.

Saturday sees temperatures improve further with highs in the mid-50s under partly sunny skies. The afternoon and evening bring a slight chance for a rain shower. Saturday night into Sunday morning, showers will end but skies remain mostly cloudy with lows near freezing.

Sunday will see partly sunny skies with temperatures warming just a bit more and highs in the mid to upper 50s. There will again be a chance for showers Sunday afternoon and evening.

Have a great weekend!

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Severe Weather 101 – Lightning and lightning safety

Friday, April 17th, 2020 3:08am MDT
This is NOT the time to be outside. (michaeljames / FLICKR)

This is NOT the time to be outside. (michaeljames / FLICKR)

Of all the weather types associated with thunderstorms – hail, tornadoes, floods, etc – lightning is usually the most dangerous. In the United States there are an estimated 25 million cloud to ground lightning flashes each year and each one is a potential threat to life and property.

During the past 10 years there has been an annual average of 39 lightning fatalities in the United States. Last year, 23 people lost their lives due to lightning.

Colorado is ranked # 2 in lightning related deaths (2001 – 2010) so the danger this presents to life and property is very significant for us. It is interesting to note though that Colorado ranks only 32nd in the number of cloud to ground strikes over that same period. Which means, in short, we have fewer strikes than many other states and yet more deaths.

This highlights the fact that, quite frankly, folks here in Colorado are not aware of the dangers lightning presents and they do not take proper steps to protect themselves. One of the great things about Colorado are the outdoor activities we all enjoy, but there comes a time when we need to head indoors.

» Click here to read the rest of Severe Weather 101 – Lightning and lightning safety

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Denver sets record low temperature for April 16

Thursday, April 16th, 2020 11:49pm MDT

Record Cold Temperatures

Earlier this week we set three cold temperature records. Late tonight another fell.

As measured at Denver International Airport, the low temperature in Denver dropped to 19 degrees. The reading easily bested the previous record low temperature for April 16th of 22 degrees last set in 2013.

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Spring snowstorm hits Thornton Thursday, brings a return of wintry conditions

Thursday, April 16th, 2020 5:09am MDT

Snow in April is not unusual at all and Mother Nature is delivering a typical, heavy, wet spring snow today. Moderate accumulations will be seen and temperatures will be far below normal.

Cloudy skies start us off and will be with us throughout the day. High temperatures will stay below freezing with a top mark in only the upper 20s expected.

Moderate snowfall rates will be seen through the morning before things ease this afternoon. Total accumulations of 5 to 7 inches are expected. The pre-dawn hours saw roads becoming slushy and quite slick so if you venture out, do be careful, particularly this morning. The Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect until 6:00pm.

Tonight, any lingering flurries will come to an end by about 9:00 and we will see a bit of clearing. Overnight lows will be in the mid-teens.

See our Winter Weather Briefing Page for all the latest.

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Severe Weather 101 – Hail and Wind

Thursday, April 16th, 2020 3:06am MDT
Straight line winds can be as damaging as a tornado. This image is from a park in Tennessee. (NWS)

Straight line winds can be as damaging as a tornado. This image is from a park in Tennessee. (NWS)

During the spring and summer months in Colorado, a wide array of severe weather can strike. Tornadoes may grab all the headlines, but straight line winds and hail can do a great amount of damage in their own right – and they are more common.

Straight line winds are winds out of a thunderstorm and are classified as severe when they hit 58 mph. These winds can reach tornado and hurricane force and as a result, cause property damage and can injure and even kill animals and humans.

These winds are usually the result of air cooling rapidly due to precipitation or evaporation. As the cooler air is heavier than the surrounding warmer air, it rushes downward, accelerating toward the ground and spreads out as it hits, much like pancake batter being poured onto a griddle.

» Click here to read the rest of Severe Weather 101 – Hail and Wind

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Warmer temperatures Wednesday but they won’t be lasting long

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 5:08am MDT

Today we continue to see improvement after our last storm. That, however, will be short-lived as our next system is working its way in and will begin to impact us tonight.

For today, partly sunny skies will be above throughout the daytime hours. Temperatures will warm to the mid-50s, warmer than recent days but still a good bit below normal. Late afternoon and evening bring a slight chance to see a few sprinkles of rain.

Overnight tonight, clouds will increase and lows will be dipping to the mid-20s. Some rain and a rain / snow mix will be possible before midnight then we should see a switch to all snow. Tomorrow morning we may wake up to an inch or so of the white stuff.

Looking at tomorrow and the ongoing effects of the storm, there is still a lot of uncertainty as to how this is going to play out. Models can’t seem to get their act together to coalesce around a solution. The potential is there for us to receive 2 to 5 inches from tonight through tomorrow night.

However, much is going to depend on where everything sets up. Hopefully we will have a better idea later today as we get closer to the event. In the meantime, enjoy the relative warmth and dry conditions.

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Severe Weather 101 – Floods and Flash Floods

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 5:05am MDT
The Big Thompson Flood in 1976 claimed the lives of 144 Coloradoans and serves to remind us of the dangers of floods.

The Big Thompson Flood in 1976 claimed the lives of 144 Coloradoans and serves to remind us of the dangers of floods.

For much of Colorado, floods and flash floods present a grave danger to life and property. These usually are the result of one of two things – spring snow melt occurring rapidly or a severe thunderstorm. Colorado is very susceptible to flash flooding and these occur somewhere every year in the state.

The waters from flash floods can move with extraordinary speed and strike with little or not warning.  Their force can be extremely destructive and when coupled with trees, dirt, rocks and other debris they carry downstream, they are deadly.

Flooding is the number one weather killer in the United States.

» Click here to read the rest of Severe Weather 101 – Floods and Flash Floods

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Denver sets record low temperature for April 14, third cold temp record in two days

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020 5:48am MDT

Record Cold Temperatures

When the cold of the past 36 hours or so is called “unprecedented”, that is a very accurate statement as Denver has seen three cold temperature records fall.

The latest record set came this morning when the low temperature in Denver as measured at Denver International Airport dropped to 11 degrees. That shatters the previous record low temperature for the date of 15 degrees set in 1933. Thornton stayed warmer but still in record-setting territory with a low of 14 degrees.

This morning’s record follows on two temperature records set yesterday. The record low temperature and the record low maximum for April 13 were bested in what has been an unusually cold period that began Sunday.

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Severe Weather 101 – Tornadoes and tornado safety

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020 5:40am MDT
Last year's Windsor Tornado highlights the very real danger twisters present in Colorado. Do you know when to do when one strikes?

The 2008 Windsor Tornado highlights the very real danger twisters present in Colorado. Do you know when to do when one strikes?

One fact that may surprise those new to Colorado is that we are actually on the western edge of the infamous Tornado Alley. This large swath of land comprises much of the nation’s midsection and is a unique place as the United States sees more tornadoes than any other place on earth. In fact, tornadoes have been recorded in all 50 states including Alaska and Hawaii.

Closer to home, Colorado sees our share of these storms. In fact, one metro area county – Weld County – holds the distinction of being the “tornado capital of the world.” With 252 tornados from 1950-2011, no single county in the nation has had more tornadoes! Adams County is number two in the state and isn’t far behind with 156 over that same period.  Granted these numbers are skewed a bit simply due to the sheer size of those counties, but it does serve to highlight the real danger that tornadoes present.

Even here in the metro area tornadoes are a real danger. The Thornton area was struck in 1981, one of the worst tornadoes to strike the Denver area in history. At 2:30 p.m. this tornado touched down and by 2:45 p.m., the tornado had hit Thornton City Hall. The tornado’s destruction sent 53 injured people to hospitals, 25 homes were destroyed and 239 structures were damaged.

One common myth is that tornadoes don't strike metropolitan areas. This has been disproved many times including here in Colorado in 1982 when an F2 tornado struck Thornton. Image courtesy the City of Thornton archives.

One common myth is that tornadoes don’t strike metropolitan areas. This has been disproved many times including here in Colorado in 1981 when an F2 tornado struck Thornton. Image courtesy the City of Thornton archives.

The most well known tornado outbreak in the metro area occurred on June 15, 1988. Five tornadoes resulted in seven injuries and damage in excess of $15 million.

We all of course also remember in 2008 when the town of Windsor, not far from Denver, was struck with an EF-3 tornado that claimed one life and destroyed and damaged hundreds of buildings.

The greatest threat for tornadoes occurs during late spring and early summer when you have a combination of heat and moisture in the lower atmosphere. Here in Colorado, tornadoes are frequent from May through August with June being the most active month.

However, there is no hard and fast rule for when tornadoes strike, as Colorado witnessed on March 29, 2007 when Holly, Colorado was struck by an EF-3 tornado with winds of 165 mph. Two women lost their lives as a result of that event and 160 homes were damaged.

Colorado ranks 10th in terms of the number of tornadoes with 1,911 events from 1950-2011. One good thing is that our high altitude and drier air do make it harder for the monster supercells that spawn the biggest tornadoes to form. Most of our tornadoes are small and short lived. Further, thanks to the wide open spaces of the eastern half of our state, many strike sparsely populated areas. This is reflected in the fact that we rank 38th for tornado related deaths.

» Click here to read the rest of Severe Weather 101 – Tornadoes and tornado safety

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Tuesday to offer dry and clear conditions but cold temps and breezy winds as well

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020 4:54am MDT

Our latest spring snowstorm has moved off after dropping 3.9 inches on Thornton. In its wake, skies will be mostly clear and we will warm up some but it will remain cooler than normal and we will get some breezy winds.

Sunny to mostly sunny skies start us off today with a few more clouds arriving in the afternoon. Winds will initially be light but then be increasing by noon and remain breezy until about sunset. High temperatures today will only reach the low 40s, about 20 degrees below normal.

Tonight, mostly cloudy skies will be above with lows in the low 20s.

The big focus now is on our next storm system set to arrive tomorrow night. It will be bringing colder temperatures and most notably, the potential for 3 to 6 inches of snow. Stay tuned for more on that storm as we get closer.

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