November 27 to December 3: This Week in Denver Weather History
Cold, snow and wind are the dominant conditions we see in our look back at this week in Denver weather history. All three are common this time of year and extremes with those conditions seem to be unusually common as well.
Among the highlights are numerous high wind events that not only caused damage but also injury to unprepared residents. Significant snowfall also appears many times including a storm in 1983 that shut down the city for the Thanksgiving weekend and left snow on the ground for 63 days.
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From the National Weather Service:
In 1978…heavy snowfall of 6.0 inches was measured at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 20 mph. Most of the snow…4.8 inches…fell on the 25th. The greatest amount of snow measured on the ground was 5 inches due to settling and melting.
In 1952…the average coldest 4-day period in November in the previous 81 years of record occurred. Maximum temperatures of 19…15…21…and 25 degrees were recorded. Minimum temperatures were below zero each day with readings of 7 below…6 below…5 below…and 6 below.
In 1985…dense fog with visibilities as low as 1/8 mile occurred on five consecutive days at Stapleton International Airport. The fog was at times accompanied by light snow… Light freezing drizzle…or ice crystals. Fog occurred all day on both the 26th and 29th.
In 1876…heavy snowfall totaled 9.0 inches over the city from 5:00 pm on the 26th through 5:00 p.m. on the 27th. Precipitation was 0.30 inch on the 25th and 0.60 inch on the 27th.
In 1919…an incursion of cold arctic air produced snowfall of 4.6 inches over downtown Denver. Temperatures dipped to 5 degrees below zero on the evening of the 26th and recovered to a high of only 1 degree below zero on the 27th…the all-time record low maximum for the month of November and the record for the date. Northwest winds were sustained to 25 mph with gusts to 26 mph on the 26th.
In 1923…snowfall of 2.0 inches was the only snow of the month. North winds were sustained to 22 mph on the 26th.
In 1972…heavy snowfall totaled 7.5 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to only 18 mph on the 27th.
In 1983…a Thanksgiving blizzard dumped 21.5 inches of snowfall in 37 hours with a maximum of 18 inches on the ground at Stapleton International Airport. The storm produced howling winds…which paralyzed Thanksgiving weekend transportation across all of eastern Colorado. On the 27th…Stapleton International Airport closed… Opening 24 hours later. Interstate highways were closed in all directions…but west…from Denver. At Stapleton International Airport…north winds gusted to 36 mph on the 26th and to 29 mph on the 27th. However…most wind speeds across metro Denver were 15 to 30 mph. Temperatures hovered in the teens and lower 20’s. Many stores and businesses closed. Several high school football games were postponed. Across metro Denver…snow depth varied from 15 inches in Commerce City to 28 inches near Chatfield Reservoir. Snow removal in Denver was estimated at 1.5 million dollars. Following the storm… An inch or more of snow remained on the ground for 63 consecutive days through January 27…1984. This is the longest period of continuous snow cover ever recorded in Denver.
In 1990…an early winter storm deposited 2 to 8 inches of wet snow across metro Denver. Snowfall totaled 3.4 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 30 mph on the 26th.
In 1993…strong winds swept off the foothills across metro Denver. Sustained winds of 30 to 50 mph were common across the area. Wind gusts to 67 mph were recorded atop Squaw Mountain near Idaho Springs. West winds gusted to 36 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 26th. The strong winds produced some blowing snow…reducing the visibility to less than one mile at times.
In 1995…snowfall totaled 3.7 inches at the former Stapleton International Airport site. The foothills west of Denver received 4 to 7 inches of snow. North-northeast winds gusted to 34 mph at Denver International Airport on the 26th.
In 1965…strong winds buffeted Boulder…causing 11 thousand dollars in damage. Wind gusts to 75 mph were recorded downtown. West winds gusted to 38 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1994…winds gusted to 87 mph atop Squaw Mountain…5 miles south of Idaho Springs…and to 84 mph on Fritz Peak near Rollinsville in the foothills southwest of Boulder. Northwest winds gusted to 40 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1884…a windstorm during the afternoon produced northwest sustained winds to 46 mph. Two wooden slats were blown out of the weather instrument shelter…and nearly all of the slats on the north and west sides were loosened.
In 1898…northwest winds were sustained to 50 mph with gusts as high as 80 mph.
In 1902…northwest winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 48 mph. The strong apparent Bora winds warmed the temperature to a high of only 40 degrees.
In 1904…northwest winds sustained to 44 mph with gusts to 58 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 58 degrees.
In 1927…strong west winds occurred in Boulder…causing widespread minor damage. A wind gust to 65 mph was recorded at Valmont east of Boulder. The west winds possibly produced a cyclonic twist.
In 1928…heavy snowfall totaled 7.0 inches over downtown Denver.
In 1957…a vigorous cold front produced north-northeast wind gusts to 54 mph at Stapleton Airport. Light snow following the front totaled only 0.2 inch.
In 1970…strong Chinook winds reached 77 mph in downtown Boulder.
In 1978…wind gusts 60 to 90 mph were reported in and near the foothills.
In 1984…high winds of 60 to 80 mph occurred along the Front Range eastern foothills.
In Boulder…the high winds blew the roof off a service station. Several trees were felled… Damaging some cars. An elderly woman was injured when she was knocked down by a wind gust and blown 20 feet into some bushes. Northwest winds gusted to 36 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1994…winds gusted to 72 mph in Boulder. No damage was reported. Northwest winds gusted to 35 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1908…heavy snowfall overnight and for most of the day on the 29th totaled 12.5 inches. Precipitation was 1.09 inches. Northwest winds were sustained to 26 mph on the 29th.
In 1928…a major storm dumped 15.5 inches of snowfall on downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 18 mph with gusts to 19 mph on the 28th.
In 1992…an upper level storm system moved across metro Denver…but left only a dusting of snow. Snowfall totaled only 1.6 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 25 mph. Other snow amounts included: 8 inches at Conifer…6 inches at Lake Eldora…3 inches at Rollinsville and in southeast Denver.
In 1997…a storm system tracking across northern New Mexico produced strong north to northeast upslope flow against the eastern slopes of the Front Range and Palmer Ridge. Snowfall totals in Jefferson County included: 14 inches near Deckers; 12 inches at Castle Rock and Sedalia; 10 inches near Conifer…11 miles southwest of Morrison…and at Buffalo Creek. Elsewhere…snow accumulations were less. Snowfall totaled only 0.7 inch at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport on the 27th and 28th.
In 2004…heavy snow fell in the foothills and across metro Denver. In the foothills…snowfall totals included: 13 inches at Roxborough State Park and Eldorado Springs… 11.5 inches near Conifer…11.0 inches near Nederland…and 10 inches near Indian Hills. Across metro Denver snowfall totaled 14 inches near Sedalia…9 inches near Louisville… 8 inches at Ralston Reservoir…and 5.1 inches in the Stapleton area of Denver. Northeast winds gusted to 28 mph at Denver International Airport on the 28th.
In 2006…a slow moving storm system brought heavy snow to the mountains and to the eastern foothills where snowfall ranged from 8 to 18 inches. Some of the more impressive snow totals included: 18 inches at Genesee…17.5 inches near Boulder…17 inches at Aspen Springs…16.5 inches 10 miles northwest of Golden…15 inches at Eldorado Springs… 14.5 inches in Idaho Springs and near Jamestown…12 inches in grant and near Indian Hills…11.5 inches near Blackhawk… 11 inches at Gross Reservoir and Eldora…and 10.5 inches in Conifer. Across metro Denver…storm total snowfall generally ranged from 5 to 9 inches with the heaviest amounts near the foothills in Boulder and Jefferson counties. The most impressive totals included: 15.5 inches at Ken Caryl…12 inches in Boulder…7.5 inches near Morrison…and 7 inches near both Chatfield and Ralston reservoirs. Snowfall totaled only 4.2 inches in the Denver Stapleton area. Northeast winds gusted to 31 mph at Denver International Airport on the 28th.
» Click here to read the rest of November 27 to December 3: This Week in Denver Weather History