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Thornton’s December preview: With arrival of winter, cold and snow increase

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 11:32am MST

The month of December brings with it the official start of winter and oftentimes, colder and snowier weather conditions. It however can also offer unseasonably warm temperatures and bone dry conditions.  Given our recent mild and dry weather, we are certainly hoping for a change in the coming month.

Overall December’s monthly mean temperature of 30.0 degrees (1981 – 2010 averages) makes it our coldest month.  Snow is always on everyone’s mind this time of year but December is only our 3rd snowiest month behind March and November with an average of 8.5 inches of the white stuff.

We closed out November quite wet and chilly and that is expected to continue into the first part of December.  Long term models then point to a continuation of above normal precipitation but near normal temperatures.

Get all the details on Thornton’s December weather including a look back at historical events and a look at the long range forecast in our December weather preview here.

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Wintry blast set to impact Thornton with bitter cold and snow

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 5:17am MST

The much-anticipated (perhaps dreaded) storm is working its way toward us and while delayed a bit, is still expected to have the impact on our weather we have been talking about. We will see a significant change in temperatures as well as our second snowfall of the season.

We start out the day with some sun but clouds will gradually be increasing as the day progresses. Temperatures today will top out close to the freezing mark, likely a couple of degrees below.

The afternoon may bring some flurries but right now it looks like snow won’t start spreading until after 6:00pm. From there it is expected to last into tomorrow morning. The later arrival may spare this evening’s commute much heartache but tomorrow morning’s could be a rough one. Overnight tonight temperatures will dip into the single digits.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from 6:00pm this evening until noon Wednesday. That means that travel could become difficult with slick roads and limited visibilities. Please be careful.

For all the latest, head over to our Winter Weather Briefing Page.

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Thornton to start out the workweek warm but big changes arrive soon

Monday, December 5th, 2016 5:17am MST

We will enjoy one more mild day Monday, albeit with some wind, then the weather will change considerably. The mid-week is going to feature bone-chilling cold and even a shot of snow.

For today look for mostly to partly sunny skies to be above throughout. Warming, downslope winds will be breezy at times, particularly from late morning into the evening.

Temperatures today will climb to highs in the low 50s. Overnight tonight we will begin to feel the effects of the approaching system as temperatures drop to the teens.

We will then see three days straight with mercury readings failing to climb above freezing and in fact will be well below Wednesday and Thursday.

In terms of snow, we may see a flurry overnight tonight but with little or no accumulation. The best chances will come tomorrow afternoon into Wednesday morning. How much? It is still a bit early and models are not in agreement but we do see the potential for 3 to 6 inches for the entire event.

We’ll get a better feel for it over the next 24 hours. In the meantime, enjoy today’s relative warmth and use our Winter Weather Briefing Page as your one-stop-shop for the coming storm.

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December 4 to December 10: This week in Denver weather history

Sunday, December 4th, 2016 4:34pm MST
This Week In Denver Weather History

December 4 to December 10: This week in Denver weather history

As we have seen in recent days, Old Man Winter oftentimes makes his appearance in earnest during the month of Denver. Looking back at this week in Denver weather history we can see that is not at all unusual.

From the National Weather Service:

1-5

In 1913…the 1st marked the start of the heaviest 5-day total snowfall in the city’s history. During this period snowfall totaled 45.7 inches. Starting on the 1st…snow fell intermittently for 3 days and accumulated a little over 8 inches. On the 4th and 5th…an additional 37.4 inches of snow fell. At Georgetown in the foothills west of Denver even more snow fell…86 inches over the 5 days with the most…63 inches…on the 4th. In Colorado…snowfall was heavy along the eastern slopes of the mountains from the Palmer Divide north. High winds during the storm caused heavy drifting…which blocked all transportation. Snow cover of an inch or more from the storm persisted for 60 consecutive days from the 1st through January 29…1914. Additional snowfall in December and January prolonged the number of days. This is the third longest period of snow cover on record in the city.

2-4

In 1909…post-frontal snowfall totaled 6.1 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow…5.9 inches…fell between 6:00 pm on the 2nd and 6:00 pm on the 3rd. North winds were sustained to 18 mph on both the 2nd and 3rd.

2-17

In 1939…more than 2 weeks of unseasonably warm weather made the month the 3rd warmest on record. Seven daily temperature records were set…including the all time record high temperature for the month of 79 degrees on the 5th. Daytime highs were balmy with 14 days in the 60’s and 70’s. Low temperatures dipped to freezing or below on only 5 days. The period was dry with only a trace of snow on the 12th.

3-4

In 1968…strong Chinook winds in Boulder gusting to 52 mph downtown caused 7 thousand dollars in damage. Flying debris damaged cars…houses…and other property in Boulder. West winds gusted to 49 mph late on the 3rd and to 45 mph on the 4th at Stapleton International Airport where the temperature climbed to a high of 60 degrees on the 4th.

In 1970…strong winds whistled through Boulder. Sustained winds of 40 mph with gusts to 70 mph were recorded at the National Bureau of Standards in Boulder. Wind gusts to 50 mph occurred in downtown Denver. No damage was reported. On the 3rd…northwest winds gusted to 40 mph at Stapleton International Airport where the Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 66 degrees on the 4th.

In 1999…heavy snow fell over the foothills and metro Denver. The heaviest snowfall occurred in the foothills south of I-70 and near the Palmer Divide. Snowfall totals included: 25 inches near Tiny Town; 18 inches at Conifer; 15 inches near Evergreen; 14 inches at Chief Hosa…8 miles west of Castle Rock…and near Blackhawk; 12 inches at Pine Junction and 8 miles south of Sedalia; 11 inches atop Floyd Hill and in Roxborough; and 10 inches at Castle Rock. Around metro Denver…snowfall totals included: 10 inches at Highlands Ranch…9 inches at Parker…and 8 inches in Aurora and Wheat Ridge. Elsewhere around the metro area…snowfall generally ranged from 3 to 5 inches. Only 3.2 inches of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North winds gusted to 32 mph at Denver International Airport on the 3rd.

In 2007…high winds developed in and near the Front Range foothills. Peak wind reports included: 88 mph atop Niwot Ridge; 87 mph atop mines peak; 80 mph…3 miles southeast of Jamestown; 78 mph at Longmont; 74 mph at Table Mesa. A few power outages occurred in Longmont as broken branches downed power lines. Northwest winds gusted to 38 mph at Denver International Airport on the 4th.

In 2013…a storm system brought heavy snow to parts of the Front Range Foothills. Storm totals included: 12 inches…7 miles west-southwest of Evergreen; 10.5 inches…3 miles north of Bailey; 9.5 inches…3 miles west of Jamestown and 5 miles northeast of Ward; 9 inches in Bailey…8.5 inches… 3 miles north of Conifer.

3-15

In 1972…a protracted cold spell held an icy grip on metro Denver when maximum temperatures never reached above freezing for 10 consecutive days from the 3rd through the 12th and minimum temperatures dipped below zero on eleven consecutive days from the 5th through the 15th. Daily low temperature records were set with 15 degrees below zero on the 5th…17 degrees below zero on the 6th… And 18 degrees below zero on the 10th. Daily record low maximum readings were set with 3 degrees on the 6th and 6 degrees on the 9th. The very cold temperatures were caused by 3 to 5 inches of snow cover and a Canadian air mass.

4

In 1884…a windstorm during the afternoon produced sustained northwest winds to 34 mph with higher gusts. The strong wind blew one of the wooden slats from the weather instrument shelter…which broke the wet-bulb thermometer.

In 1885…north winds were sustained to 40 mph during the early morning hours. The strong winds were accompanied by a cold wave.

In 1893…northwest winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts as high as 55 mph. The Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 58 degrees.

In 1901…Chinook winds sustained from the northwest at 40 mph with gusts to 48 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 55 degrees in the city.

In 1906…rainfall of only 0.01 inch before daybreak was the only measurable precipitation of the month…ranking the month the third driest December on record.

In 1910…cold west winds were strong all day with a sustained speed to 44 mph.

In 1977…northwest winds gusted to 55 mph at Stapleton International Airport where the strong Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 55 degrees.

In 1978…high winds from 50 to near 150 mph occurred in the Boulder area. A pick-up truck was overturned…and a camper top was blown off another truck. Some roof damage was reported. Northwest winds gusted to 48 mph at Stapleton International Airport…where the Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 57 degrees.

In 1980…wind gusts of 50 to 60 mph occurred along the foothills. Southwest winds gusted to 31 mph at Stapleton International Airport. The Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a record high of 69 degrees for the day.

In 1991…a volcanic ash cloud high in the atmosphere was clearly visible during the late afternoon being illuminated by the setting sun.

In 1995…very strong downslope winds gusting to 100 mph in the foothills knocked down trees and power lines… Triggering 800 power outages. Downed power lines sparked a half dozen brush fires ranging up to 4 acres in size. In Boulder…a portion of an old drive-in movie screen was blown down…and several car windows were shattered. The strongest wind gusts recorded were 100 mph at Golden Gate Canyon…99 mph at Rocky Flats Environmental Technology site…96 mph in north Boulder…94 mph at Wondervu…81 mph at Conifer…and 77 mph in south Boulder. West-northwest winds gusted to only 29 mph at Denver International Airport.

4-5

In 1912…5.2 inches of post-frontal snow fell in downtown Denver. Most of the snow fell on the 4th when northeast winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts to 46 mph.

In 1913…a major winter storm produced heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions in the city. The snow fell continuously for 40 consecutive hours from 4:30 am on the 4th until just before midnight on the 5th and totaled 37.6 inches. The greatest accumulation on the ground was 32.6 inches at 6:00 pm on the 5th. Strong north winds accompanied the storm with sustained speeds of 30 mph or more for more than 25 hours. The highest sustained wind velocity was 44 mph during the afternoon of the 5th. Winds gusted to 46 mph on the 4th and to 47 mph on the 5th. The winds piled the snow into 4-and 5-foot drifts. By noon on the 4th traffic was interrupted…and by evening the heavy wet snow had blocked most streets and highways. Street cars stalled when streets became blocked. Automobiles and other conveyances were abandoned in the streets. By the 5th… The blockage extended to steam railroads. Flat roofed buildings collapsed…including the roof of the Calvary Baptist Church. Many downtown workers were unable to make it home on the night of the 4th and filled downtown hotels to overflowing. Some enjoyed the festive mood of the occasion and partied through the night. The city auditorium…jail…and several movie houses served as shelters for hundreds of people. The snow was remarkably moist for this time of year with a total water content of 3.44 inches. Temperatures during the storm were between 25 and 34 degrees. Cold weather followed the storm and snow remained on the ground for a long time. On some street car lines…it took 6 to 7 days before the right of way could be cleared. The foothills measured even more snow from the storm. At Georgetown…the 2 day snowfall totaled 71 inches. The 2.12 inches of precipitation measured on the 4th is the greatest calendar day precipitation ever recorded during the month of December in Denver. The 2.29 inches of precipitation measured from the 4th into the 5th is the greatest 24 hour precipitation ever recorded in the city during December.

In 1972…only 4.5 inches of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport…but high winds on the evening of the 4th caused blizzard conditions over the plains east of Denver. A 21-year-old University of Colorado student caught in the storm while cross country skiing west of Boulder froze to death. North winds gusted to 32 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1979…the Front Range was hit by strong Chinook winds. The Boulder area was hardest hit with winds gusting to 119 mph at Rocky Flats and 92 mph in the city. A wind gust to 104 mph was recorded at Wondervu. Damage was widespread…amounting to 1.2 million dollars mainly around Boulder. Roofs were blown off several buildings and homes… Hundreds of windows were broken…and many cars were damaged by flying debris. Small planes were severely damaged at 3 airports in the area. West winds gusted to 55 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 5th.

In 1996…persistent westerly flow aloft produced more high winds in and near the Front Range foothills. Several locations reported hurricane force winds with peak gusts of 100 to 120 mph. The high winds downed trees and power lines…leaving 700 residents without power for nearly 4 hours in the communities of beaver brook…blue valley… Conifer…Evergreen…and Floyd Hill. A wall of a building under construction in Lafayette was toppled…a semi-truck was blown over near the Boulder turnpike damaging a concrete barrier…and a 60-foot tree crushed a parked pick-up truck at a Denver residence. High wind gusts included: an estimated 120 mph at Blackhawk…115 mph at Aspen Springs…100 mph at the Eldora Ski Resort…75 mph atop Shanahan Ridge near Boulder…74 mph near Conifer…and 71 mph at the Rocky Flats Environmental Test Facility. At Denver International Airport…west winds gusted to 51 mph on the 4th and to only 38 mph on the 5th.

» Click here to read the rest of December 4 to December 10: This week in Denver weather history

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Thornton’s weekend starts cold with chance for snow then will warm up

Friday, December 2nd, 2016 5:02am MST

The three day period offers a little bit of a mixed bag of weather. A disturbance moving through today will keep things chilly and may drop just a little bit of snow. After that however, we see improving conditions and warming temperatures Saturday and Sunday.

For Friday look for mostly cloudy skies to be above. Some light snow / flurries will be possible with the best opportunity coming this afternoon. Temperatures will be cold with highs topping out in the mid-30s today. Overnight tonight skies will be begin to clear and temperatures drop to the teens.

Saturday will still have a few clouds but offer up mostly sunny skies overall. Conditions will be calm and dry as we head to a high in the mid-40s.

We close out the weekend with the most pleasant day of the period. Look for a healthy dose of sun Sunday with temperatures climbing to highs right near the 50 degree mark.

All eyes remain on the Arctic air mass that is working its way down to us and will bring big changes starting Tuesday. We’ll see temperatures plunge for a few days but are not currently expecting much in the way of snow. More in our extended forecast.

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Chilly temperatures, a good bit of clouds for Thornton’s Thursday

Thursday, December 1st, 2016 5:01am MST

The biggest difference between today’s weather and yesterday’s will be the increased cloud cover. Temperatures will be similar and remain below normal but with overall calm conditions.

We start out the day with perhaps a bit of sun then will have mostly cloudy skies above for the balance. Temperatures today will be topping out right near the 40 degree mark, about 5 degrees below normal for the date.

Live weather gauges here.

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November 2016 top shots: Monthly photo slideshow

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 7:30pm MST
An aerial view of sunset in Thornton on November 14, 2016. (Shannon Dizmang)

An aerial view of sunset in Thornton on November 14, 2016. (Shannon Dizmang)

Typically November is a quiet weather month with plenty of nice, fall days but it can also turn wet with healthy doses of snow and moisture.  The wide variety of conditions can create picturesque scenes ranging from blue skies and snow-capped mountains to a wintry wonderland in the metro area.

November is the second snowiest month of the year so winter conditions are not unusual.  Typically though, these bouts of cold are short-lived and normal daytime conditions are pleasant.

Outdoor activities continue to be quite popular during the month.  The cooling temperatures do oftentimes lead to an increase in wildlife activity.

All of the above help lead to a month in which a wide variety of scenes, flora and fauna can be captured.

  • Slideshow updated November 28, 2016
  • To learn more about how to send your photo to us for inclusion in the slideshow, see below the slideshow.

Showcasing images captured by ThorntonWeather.com readers as well as some of our own, our monthly slideshow covers the entire gamut of weather-related imagery.

Sunsets, sunrises, wildlife and of course every type of weather condition are vividly depicted in images captured from yours and our cameras.

What is missing in the slideshow above?  Your photo!

Our monthly photo slideshow is going to feature images that we have taken but more importantly images that you have captured.  The photos can be of anything even remotely weather-related.

Landscapes, current conditions, wildlife, pets, kids.  Whimsical, newsy, artsy.  Taken at the zoo, some other area attraction, a local park, a national park or your backyard.  You name it, we want to see and share it!

Images can be taken in Thornton, Denver or anywhere across the extraordinary Centennial State.  We’ll even take some from out of state if we can tie it to Colorado somehow.

We’ll keep the criteria very open to interpretation with just about any image eligible to be shown in our slideshows.

What do you win for having your image in our slideshow?  We are just a ‘mom and pop’ outfit and make no money from our site so we really don’t have the means to provide prizes.  However you will have our undying gratitude and the satisfaction that your images are shared on the most popular website in Thornton.

To share you images with us and get them included in the slideshow just email them to us or share them with ThorntonWeather.com on any of the various social media outlets.  Links are provided below.

So come on, get those camera’s rolling!

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Wednesday remains a bit chilly but with less wind

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 5:06am MST

Weather conditions today become a bit more stable. Temperatures will remain below normal however we will enjoy a break from the wind.

We start out the day with mostly clear skies and that should continue throughout the day. Temperatures start out very cold but then will gradually warm toward a high in the low 40s. Average for the date is 46 degrees.

Looking ahead, we’ll be seeing a bit of a roller coaster over the next week or so as a series of systems impact us. We’ll be dry tomorrow but with more clouds and slightly cooler temps as the next weather-maker approaches. Friday will see much colder conditions with perhaps a shot of light snow.

We then warm back up a bit for the weekend and Monday before our next system comes through late Monday into Tuesday. Models are pointing to that system bringing the coldest readings of the season so far. Unfortunately we are not convinced there will be a lot of snow with it.

In the meantime, enjoy the calm, clear conditions today.

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Chilly temperatures, breezy winds for Thornton’s Tuesday

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 5:16am MST

A diving jet stream will be pulling cooler air from the north today bringing cooler temperatures to the air. That will be coupled with wind caused by a strong pressure gradient making for what won’t be an overly pleasant day.

We start out the day with partly clear skies but will then see an increase in coverage with mostly cloudy skies for the balance. Temperatures today will start out quite chilly and below freezing then work toward a high of around 40 degrees.

The main weather feature will be the aforementioned wind. Speeds will increase this morning and by about noon be topping out with gusts to 30mph. Coupled with the chilly temperatures, it will be a bit uncomfortable outdoors.

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Thornton’s workweek starts seasonal, then turns colder

Monday, November 28th, 2016 5:03am MST

Earlier in the month many were wanting an end to unseasonably warm weather. That certainly has happened and while today will be a typical day for this time of year, the rest of the week will see things cool considerably.

For today we will see partly sunny skies above throughout the day. Temperatures will be warming to a high in the mid-40s, right near the average for the date of 46 degrees. Winds will be lighter today than yesterday, just a bit breezy in the afternoon.

The next system will be moving through later today and that is going to bring colder temperatures and another healthy shot of wind on Tuesday. From there, a series of reinforcing cold fronts will drive high temperatures downward at least through Friday. One system late Thursday into Friday may bring a quick shot of snow but right now it doesn’t look like it will amount to much.

More details in the extended forecast.

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