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Winter travel safety – Ensure you and your vehicle are ready

Monday, October 15th, 2018 4:45am MST
Are you and your vehicle ready for the winter weather ahead?

Are you and your vehicle ready for the winter weather ahead?

Before hitting the road, Coloradans need to ensure that they and their vehicles are prepared should inclement weather strike.

ThorntonWeather.com presents the first in a series from the National Weather Service (NWS) as part of Winter Weather Preparedness Week has declared by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.  Check back throughout the week for more winter preparedness stories.

Today’s message from the NWS highlights the importance of having a proper emergency kit in your vehicle and should the worst-case scenario occur where you get stuck, what you should do to survive.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
601 AM MDT MON OCT 15 2018

Winter Travel Safety

Winter Weather Preparedness Week continues through Saturday.  Preparedness is a big part of this campaign. Before winter weather arrives in earnest, it is highly recommended that you prepare your car or truck for winter travel.

A well equipped vehicle has adequate tires, tire chains, tow rope, sand or cat litter for traction, shovel, tool kit, windshield scraper and brush, battery cables, first aid kit, flashlight, extra batteries, blankets and/or sleeping bags, extra clothing, candles, water-proof matches, high calorie packaged food for quick energy and an empty can to melt snow for drinking.

The best way to prevent treacherous winter travel is to avoid it. This can be done by staying informed about current weather and road conditions as well as the latest weather forecasts. Information on road conditions in Colorado is available on the web at www.cotrip.org or from the toll free number 1-877-315-7623. When calling from anywhere in Colorado, dialing 511 will also access the Colorado road reports. Additionally, a free smartphone application, CDOT Mobile, is available.

If you should become stranded during a winter storm, stay with your vehicle an d do not panic. If accompanied by others, take turns sleeping. Run the motor every hour for about ten minutes to maintain warmth, but keep windows open a little to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide. Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked. Keep the car visible with brightly colored cloths tied to the side view mirrors, door handles, or external antenna. At night, turn on the dome light when running the engine. Exercise periodically by vigorously moving arms, legs, toes and fingers.

In the mountains, avalanches become a possibility in the winter, especially below steep slopes. Avalanches occasionally come down across roads, with little or no warning. However, avalanche control work is performed on many avalanche prone roads in Colorado, making the roads safer to travel. Caution is advised when traveling along avalanche prone roads, especially during and shortly after a heavy snowstorm or during periods of rapid snowmelt.

Very strong downslope winds occur at times mainly along the front range of Colorado. These Chinook and Bora winds can have gusts exceeding 100 mph. Persons traveling in light weight or high profile vehicles should avoid travel during these strong wind events especially on north-south oriented roads.

Roads which appear to be clear in the wintertime may actually be coated with a thin layer of ice, commonly known as black ice. This nearly invisible ice layer can cause you to rapidly lose control of your vehicle. Black ice is most common during the nighttime hours. If you detect black ice you should reduce your speed.

Please follow these winter travel safety recommendations which could save your life.

Winter Weather Awareness Week - Winter Travel Safety. (National Weather Service)

Winter Weather Awareness Week – Winter Travel Safety. (National Weather Service)

 

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Denver sets new record low maximum temperature for October 14

Monday, October 15th, 2018 12:01am MST

Record Cold TemperaturesThe potent storm system that impacted us Saturday night through Sunday brought some snow but the most notable feature was the cold.  In fact, it was record setting.

The National Weather Service reports that the high temperature for Sunday, October 14 was only 27 degrees.  This absolutely destroys the old record low maximum for the date of 36 degrees set in 1969.

Here in Thornton, we saw our high reading just a touch warmer at 28 degrees.

Monday morning will see the temperature plunge and likely bring a record setting low as well.  After that, we do expect to see a gradual warming trend through the coming weekend.

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Colorado Winter Weather Preparedness Week introduction

Sunday, October 14th, 2018 5:30am MST
Don't be caught off guard by winter weather! Remember the Christmas Eve Blizzard of 1982? Be prepared!

Don’t be caught off guard by winter weather! Remember the Christmas Eve Blizzard of 1982? Be prepared!

Winter weather in Colorado can be an inconvenience but more than that it can be deadly.  Emergency preparedness for major winter storms – as well as for other types of severe weather – is an important part of living in a state where conditions can change wildly from one moment to the next.

To help raise awareness of the need to be prepared for these occasions, the week of October 14th to October 20th has been proclaimed Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Colorado.

The National Weather Service will be issuing Public Information Statements each day this week to highlight the dangers of winter weather and how best to be prepared.  ThorntonWeather.com will be posting these important messages here to help you be prepared.  Please take the time to read and heed these messages – your life and the lives of your loved ones could depend on it.

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From the National Weather Service:

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service
Grand Junction CO

..Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Colorado…

Governor John Hickenlooper has proclaimed the week of October 18th through October 24th as Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Colorado. This is an excellent time for all individuals, families, businesses, schools, and media outlets to review their winter storm preparedness plans. It is especially important for all new arrivals to the state to become familiar with the National Weather Service watch and warning definitions, as well as winter safety procedures.

Snow in Colorado is important to the farmers, the ski areas, and for filling up reservoirs. However, winter storms often bring heavy snow, bitter cold air, high winds, low visibilities and slick roads. This can lead to dangerous travel conditions and other life threatening situations such as avalanches and very frigid wind chill temperatures.

To help you prepare for these hazards this coming winter…the National Weather Service will issue statements throughout the week to discuss:

Intro Winter Weather Preparedness Week
Part 1 Winter travel safety
Part 2 Watches…warnings…and advisories
Part 3 High winds
Part 4 Wind chill temperatures and hypothermia
Part 5 Avalanche safety
Review Winter Weather Preparedness Week review

Anyone who needs information on winter storms in Colorado should contact their nearest National Weather Service office.

Boulder office 303-494-3210
Grand Junction office 970-243-7007
Goodland Kansas office 785-899-7119
Pueblo office…
 – If you live near Pueblo 719-948-3371
 – If you live near Colorado Springs 719-573-6846
 – If you live near Alamosa 719-589-3232
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October 14 to October 20: This week in Denver weather history

Sunday, October 14th, 2018 5:28am MST
This week in Denver weather history

October 14 to October 20: This week in Denver weather history

The further we get in October the chances for snow increase and our look at this week in Denver weather history shows many significant snowstorms. Arguably the most notable was the infamous “Bronco Blizzard” of 1984 which dumped snow on the Mile High City while the Broncos faced off against the Green Bay Packers.

From the National Weather Service:

12-14

In 1969…record breaking extremely cold temperatures for so early in the season occurred. The high temperature of 26 degrees on the 13th was two degrees lower than the previous record minimum temperature of 28 degrees for the date set in 1885. The high temperature of 24 degrees on the 12th exceeded the record low temperature (22 degrees set in 1885) for the date by only 2 degrees. In addition… 3 new record low temperatures for the dates were set. The low temperature dipped to 10 degrees on the 12th breaking the old record (22 degrees in 1885) by 12 degrees. On the 13th the mercury plunged to a low of 3 degrees breaking the old record (28 degrees in 1885) by 25 degrees. On the 14th the temperature reached a minimum of 4 degrees breaking the old record (25 degrees in 1966) by 21 degrees.

13-14

In 1910…light smoke from nearby forest fires drifted over the city.

In 1966…the first measurable snow of the season caused widespread damage to trees and shrubs. The heavy wet snow totaled 6.9 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north-northwest winds sustained at 20 to 25 mph and gusting to 45 mph caused much blowing and drifting snow. South and east of Denver…up to a foot of snow fell. Heavy wet snow accumulations followed by freezing temperatures and strong winds resulted in extensive damage to trees…cars… And utility lines by falling limbs. A woman was killed by a falling snow laden tree limb in Denver. Several other people received minor injuries from falling tree limbs.

In 1987…rain drenched metro Denver. The South Platte canyon area southwest of Denver received the most with 1.11 inches at Kassler and 1.49 inches upstream at Strontia Springs. At Stapleton International Airport…0.62 inch of rain was measured…northwest winds gusted to 29 mph…and thunder was heard.

In 2007…a new 24-hour record of 2.65 inches of precipitation was set at Denver International Airport for the month of October; breaking the previous record of 2.58 inches set in 1892.

13-16

In 1873…smoke from several large forest fires in the mountains made the air very hazy in the city.

14

In 1952…the first measurable snowfall of the season left 1.2 inches of snow at Stapleton Airport. North winds gusted to 38 mph.

In 1974…rain changed to snow early in the day…but snowfall totaled only 1.0 inch at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 20 mph.

15

In 1871…a terrible wind occurred during a snow storm in the foothills above Boulder. Damage was minor.

In 1878…high winds reached sustained speeds of 60 mph at times.

In 1911…post-frontal northwest winds were sustained to 41 mph with gusts to 43 mph.

In 1948…strong winds struck the Boulder area. Winds averaged 50 mph at Valmont just east of Boulder. Wind gusts in excess of 60 mph were recorded at the Boulder airport. Wind gusts to 40 mph briefly reduced the visibility to 1 1/2 miles in blowing dust at Stapleton Airport.

In 1980…a rare October tornado touched down in Boulder… Damaging a vocational training building and throwing three nearby cars together damaging them extensively. A mile and half away several camper vehicles were thrown 200 feet. The storm also produced 1 inch diameter hail in the Boulder area.

15-16

In 1928…a thunderstorm produced hail shortly after midnight on the 15th. Rain changed to snow by evening. Through the afternoon of the 16th…the heavy snowfall totaled 7.3 inches in the city. North winds were sustained to 23 mph on the 15th.

In 1984…the heaviest October snowstorm in several years hit eastern Colorado with a vengeance. The storm was known as the “Bronco Blizzard” since it occurred during a nationally televised Monday Night Football game in Denver. One to two feet of snow fell near the foothills in west metro Denver with 2 to 3 feet in the foothills. Wind gusts up to 55 mph whipped the snow into drifts as high as 4 feet. The storm closed schools…roads…and airports. I-70 was closed both east and west of Denver. I-25 was closed south to Colorado Springs. Flights were delayed for several hours at Stapleton International Airport. Power outages were widespread. Snowfall totaled 9.2 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusting as high as 40 mph caused frequent surface visibilities of 1/4 to 1/2 mile in moderate to heavy snow and blowing snow overnight. The high temperature of only 35 degrees on the 15th was a record low maximum for the date.

» Click here to read the rest of October 14 to October 20: This week in Denver weather history

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Thornton to enjoy a two-day warm up then turn much colder by end of the weekend

Friday, October 12th, 2018 5:39am MST

A bit of a mixed bag of weather for us over the three day period. Friday and Saturday, while remaining cooler than normal, will be dry and see our warmest temps of recent days. Then, a significant system will move in bringing cold and snow Saturday night into Sunday.

We start things off on Friday with some clouds early then those will depart leading to sunny skies by mid-morning and lasting through the rest of the day. Temperatures will top out in the low 60s, still below normal but far warmer than recent days. Friday night skies will remain clear with lows in the mid-30s.

Saturday starts out sunny with a bit of an increase in cloud cover through the day as the next system gets closer. Highs will be near the 60 degree mark. Look for some breezy winds in the afternoon. By the evening, it will be mostly cloudy with the arrival of the cold front and storm system.

Some evening rain will be possible with a change over to snow after dark. Snow will continue overnight Saturday night into Sunday morning with low temps into the low 20s.

Sunday morning snow will ease with only a few flurries in the afternoon. We could see a few inches total accumulation from the event. Sunday temperatures will be quite chilly with highs only in the mid-20s. Overnight Sunday night into Monday morning, the mercury will drop to near 10 degrees.

Enjoy the initial warmth and be ready for the cold to come.

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Some warming, less precipitation for Thornton’s Thursday

Thursday, October 11th, 2018 5:04am MST

After three days in a row with temperatures that failed to climb even above 40 degrees, we see some improvement in the mercury readings today. There will still however be a good bit of cloud cover and some chances for showers.

Cloudy skies start things off then to be followed by a bit of clearing later this morning. By this afternoon and particularly as we head toward evening we should see some sun peeking out.

Light showers will be possible from late morning through the evening with the best chances coming in the afternoon. Temperatures will warm to the mid-40s.

Tonight, any showers will come to an end before midnight with mostly cloudy skies above. Overnight lows will dip to the low to mid-30s.

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

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018 6:12am MST
This week in Denver weather history

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

While fall has barely just begun, our look back at this week in Denver weather history is most notable for winter-like conditions. Numerous noteworthy storms have struck the Mile High City during this week in our past including a major one just seven years ago.

From the National Weather Service:

7

In 1903…north winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 48 mph.

In 1917…post-frontal northwest winds were sustained to 45 mph with gusts to 52 mph. Rain was mixed with a trace of snow…the first of the season. Precipitation totaled 0.22 inch and included the occurrence of hail… Even though no thunder was heard.

In 1950…strong winds caused a power outage in Boulder. This was the heaviest windstorm since January. Damage was minor. Northwest winds gusted to only 35 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1985…strong Chinook winds buffeted the Front Range foothills. Wind gusts between 60 and 70 mph were reported in Boulder and atop squaw mountain west of Denver. Southwest winds gusted to 41 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

7-8

In 1990…the season’s first snow occurred. Snowfall amounts varied from 3 to 7 inches across metro Denver. Snowfall totaled 4.0 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 29 mph.

8

In 1923…southeast winds were sustained to 44 mph with gusts to 47 mph. The strong winds persisted through the afternoon. The high temperature of 77 degrees was the warmest of the month that year.

In 1975…a wind gust to near 100 mph was recorded in Boulder. Frequent wind gusts to 60 mph were reported along the foothills causing only minor damage. West winds gusted to 45 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

9

In 1910…light smoke from forest fires in the mountains was sighted over the city.

In 1982…northwest winds gusted to 49 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

9-10

In 2005…a major winter storm brought heavy…wet snowfall to the Front Range mountains…eastern foothills…portions of metro Denver…and the Palmer Divide. Snow accumulations ranged from 8 to 26 inches with drifts from 3 to 4 feet in places. The heaviest snow occurred to the east and southeast of the city…closing most major highways in that area…including I-70 from Denver to Limon. The Red Cross opened four shelters for people who were stranded along I-70 in eastern Colorado. Since many trees had not yet shed their leaves…the storm caused significant tree damage. One woman in Denver was killed when a tree branch… 8 to 10 inches in diameter…snapped under the weight of the heavy…wet snow and struck her as she was shoveling her driveway. Xcel Energy reported power outages to about 35 thousand customers. Several incoming flights were delayed at Denver International Airport. Snow totals included: 16 inches in the foothills near Boulder…12 inches at Genesee and near Golden…22 inches near Watkins…19 inches near Bennett…17 inches southeast of Aurora…14 inches near Parker…13 inches near Castle Rock…12 inches in Centennial… 11 inches in Parker…and 10 inches at Denver International Airport and in Littleton. While many areas of metro Denver received heavy snow…others experienced almost entirely rain. This included west and northwest metro Denver…Boulder…and Longmont. Rainfall amounts were significant as storm totals ranged between 1.50 and 2.50 inches. The steady rainfall triggered 3 rockslides in foothills canyons. Two of the slides occurred on State Highway 119 in Boulder Canyon and the longest slide…7 feet in length…on State Highway 74 in Bear Creek Canyon at Idledale. North winds were sustained to around 23 mph with gusts to 31 mph at Denver International Airport on the 9th. The high temperature of only 34 degrees on the 10th was a record low maximum for the date. The low temperature on both days was 32 degrees.

10

In 1901…an evening thunderstorm produced east winds to 43 mph with gusts to 48 mph.

In 1949…strong winds believed to be the worst in Boulder’s history at the time caused over 100 thousand dollars damage in the city. Peak winds were estimated to 85 mph at Valmont…just east of Boulder. High winds also occurred over most of metro Denver and caused damage to trees…window glass…and utility lines. The damage was most pronounced over the northwest metro area…including north Denver and Lakewood. Falling tree branches caused damage to parked autos and houses. Wind gusts to 70 mph were recorded at Stapleton Airport.

In 1964…lightning struck and killed a 13-year-old boy…while he was riding his bicycle along a tree-lined residential street in south Denver. Apparent microburst winds gusted to 54 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

10-11

In 1986…the first significant snowstorm of the season produced 2 to 5 inches of snow over metro Denver with 5 to 10 inches in the foothills west of Denver. Wondervu recorded the most snow from the storm…13 inches. The heavy wet snow caused numerous power outages. The storm was accompanied by strong north winds with gusts to 41 mph recorded on the 10th. The first snowfall of the season totaled 3.1 inches at Stapleton International Airport with only one inch on the ground due to melting. The strong cold front accompanying the storm cooled the temperature from a high of 73 degrees on the 10th to a high of only 33 degrees on the 11th…which was a record low maximum for the date.

10-12

In 1969…the second heavy snowstorm in less than a week dumped nearly a foot of snow across metro Denver and plunged the area into extremely cold temperatures for so early in the season. Snowfall totaled 11.0 inches at Stapleton International Airport. North winds gusting to 26 mph produced drifts up to 2 feet deep. Temperatures dipped from a high of 52 degrees on the 10th to a record low for the date of 10 degrees on the 12th. There was additional damage to trees and power and telephone lines from heavy snow accumulations and icing. Travel was restricted or blocked by drifting snow in both the mountains and on the plains east of Denver.

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

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Wednesday to continue the cold temperatures and damp conditions, just a slight chance for snow

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018 5:11am MST

Not a lot of improvement in Thornton’s weather for today as well below normal temps coupled with drizzle and light rain will remain. By the end of the day though, we may see just a bit of sun start to peek out.

Cloudy skies start things off and will persist through the morning and early afternoon. After that, a few breaks in the coverage may be seen although not a lot.

Drizzle and light rain will continue to occur off and on into mid to late afternoon. A little bit of snow may get mixed in there but with only minimal accumulations if any at all.

Temperatures will push close to the 40 degree mark, still well below what we would expect to see this time of year.

Tonight, mostly cloudy skies will be above with lows dipping toward the freezing mark.

Keep an eye on the thermometer here.

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Cool, damp conditions to remain for Tuesday, Freeze Warning issued

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018 5:04am MST

Not much change in our weather today versus yesterday although overall we expect less precipitation. Temperatures will remain well below normal and tonight we could see that first hard freeze of the season.

Cloudy skies are going to be the rule today and we don’t see any real chance for a break in the cloud cover. Drizzle and fog will be seen early then look for a return of drizzle / showers in the afternoon and evening. Highs today will top out in the low 40s, this in comparison to the average high for the date of 68 degrees.

Tonight, cloudy skies will be above with just a bit of clearing after midnight. We may see some snow mix in with the overnight showers but without any accumulation. Lows will dip to near the 30 degree mark although with the cloud cover we may fail to see that freezing reading.

A Freeze Warning has been issued just in case and is in effect from 6:00pm this evening to 10:00am tomorrow.

Stay warm and dry!

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Thornton’s workweek starts cold and wet, may bring first freeze & snow of the season

Monday, October 8th, 2018 5:09am MST

Mother Nature is set to bring us a pretty significant change in the weather. Today will see temps well below normal with rain for much of the day and then tonight we are expecting our first freeze of the season and perhaps some snow.

Cloudy skies are going to be the rule through today and tonight. Light rain will be seen throughout much of the day before easing in the late afternoon. A few flakes of snow may get into the mix but nothing that will accumulate.

Temperatures will remain steady and in the mid to upper 30s during the daytime hours. As temperatures drop this evening and overnight tonight, some snow may get into the mix but we aren’t expecting any accumulations.

Overnight lows tonight will dip to 30 degrees or so. This has prompted a Freeze Watch to be issued and appropriate precautions should be taken. Be sure your hoses are disconnected from the house, swamp coolers and sprinklers are disconnected and drained and any sensitive vegetation is covered or brought inside.

Stay warm today!

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