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Thornton’s weekend starts very warm with high fire danger, will then cool down

Friday, April 22nd, 2022 5:08am MDT

Not exactly an ideal weekend weather forecast. We start out with our warmest day of the year and elevated fire danger then see a cool down but with wind and only a bit of a chance for precipitation.

The primary focus is on today’s weather. High temperatures are going to reach the mid-80s with a lot of sun above. However, strong winds, low humidity and dry fuels are going to bring extreme fire danger. A High Wind Warning and Red Flag Warning will be in effect. Absolutely nothing should be done outside that gives even the slightest chance for a spark! Tonight, winds will ease but remain breezy. Lows will dip to the low 40s. The pre-dawn hours offer just a slight chance for a rain shower.

Saturday sees things cool down considerably. Highs will be around 60 degrees under partly clear skies. Winds will be quite breezy with a slight chance for a rain shower before noon. Saturday night, mostly cloudy skies will be above and lows drop into the mid-30s. Pre-dawn hours Sunday offer just the slightest chance for a shower.

Sunday brings chances for showers throughout the day but at this time it does not look like any precipitation will amount to much. Highs will be in the mid to upper 70s under partly skies. Winds will be a bit quieter but remain breezy.

Have a good weekend please be careful!

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Thursday in Thornton to offer up mild temperatures, lots of sun

Thursday, April 21st, 2022 5:04am MDT

A fine-looking spring day ahead for us. We will enjoy temps well above normal with plenty of Colorado blue above.

Mostly sunny to sunny skies will be the rule throughout the day. High temperatures today will top out in the mid to upper 70s. Winds will be light this morning then become a bit breezy in the afternoon.

Tonight, winds will be calm after sunset. Mostly clear skies will be above overnight with lows in the mid-40s.

Focus for the time being is on tomorrow’s weather and critical fire weather conditions that are expected. Things are, clearly, tinder dry and tomorrow is going to bring even warmer temperatures and strong winds. A Red Flag Warning has been issued as any fires that get started will have the potential for fast, devastating growth.

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Mild temperatures, sunny skies for Thornton’s Wednesday

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022 5:02am MDT

A pretty pleasant day ahead for us. Temperatures will be above average with a lot of Colorado blue above although winds will be a bit breezy.

Sunny skies start us off and will be with us through the morning then just a few clouds are expected. Winds will be light this morning then become slightly breezy in the afternoon and evening. High temperatures will top out in the low 70s, about 10 degrees above average.

Tonight, skies will be mostly clear with overnight lows in the low 40s.

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Tuesday to offer up very mild temperatures, breezy afternoon winds

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022 5:01am MDT

Warmth. Finally! If you’ve been waiting for a mild day, this is it. The one drawback will be some wind that will come along this afternoon and evening.

Mostly sunny skies start us off with some thicker coverage later. High temperatures will be topping out in the upper 70s in Thornton. Winds will be relatively light this morning then start picking up in the afternoon and becoming pretty breezy from mid-afternoon until after sunset.

Tonight, partly clear skies will be above with clearing early tomorrow. Overnight lows will be in the low to mid-40s.

Keep an eye on those temps and winds here.

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Calm conditions, temps a bit above normal start Thornton’s workweek

Monday, April 18th, 2022 4:49am MDT

A pretty darn good looking day ahead. We will enjoy pleasant temperatures, lots of sun and, best of all, not much wind.

A few clouds may be seen early but then we will have sunny skies for the balance of the day. High temperatures will be topping out in the mid-60s. Winds will be out of the east and relatively light during the day.

Tonight, skies will be mostly clear with lows around 40 degrees. Some breezy winds may be seen in the evening and first part of the night but nothing dramatic.

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April 17 to April 23: This week in Denver weather history

Sunday, April 17th, 2022 4:51am MDT

This Week in Denver Weather History

As we enter the latter half of April the weather history calendar starts to reflect shift in the type of weather events we see. There are still plenty of significant snowfall events. However spring severe weather starts to appear with greater frequency including heavy rain, hail and even tornadoes.

From the National Weather Service:

13-17

In 2001…a huge dust storm over southern and Inner Mongolia during April 3rd through the 6th lifted desert dust into the jet stream. This dust cloud moved over metro Denver on the 13th and persisted through the 17th. The cloud created widespread haze…giving the sky a milkish cast due to the scattering of incoming solar radiation.

15-17

In 1922…heavy snowfall totaled 9.0 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow…6.0 inches…fell on the 16th. This was the third major snow storm in a week. Northwest winds were sustained to 43 mph with gusts to 47 mph on the 15th.

In 2016…a powerful spring snowstorm brought heavy…wet snow to areas in and near the Front Range Foothills and Palmer Divide. Storm totals generally ranged from 2 to 4 feet in the foothills with 1 to 2 feet in the mountain west of Denver and along the Palmer Divide. Along the I-25 Corridor storm totals ranged from 6 to 20 inches…with highest amounts across the western and southern suburbs. Some of those totals included: 16 inches in Aurora and Superior; 15 inches at the National Weather Service Office in Boulder; 14.5 inches in Broomfield; 13.5 inches in Westminster; officially 12.1 inches at Denver International Airport; 12 inches in Louisville; 11.5 inches in Arvada; 11 inches near Englewood; 10.5 inches near Wheat Ridge. At Denver International Airport…there were 852 flight cancellations… most of which occurred on the 16th. The heavy wet snowfall broke trees limbs and caused scattered power outages. Over five thousand customers were without power on the 16th…and over two thousand on the 17th. Xcel Energy brought in extra crews from surrounding states to help restore power and minimize outage times through the storm. Numerous but mostly temporary road closures from 1 to 5 hours occurred throughout the storm. This included portions of I-70 east and west of Denver…Highway 103 from Idaho Springs to Evergreen and Highway 119 through Black Hawk.

16-17

In 1944…heavy snowfall totaled 7.5 inches in downtown Denver. Northwest winds were sustained to 18 mph on the 16th.

16-18

In 2009…a potent spring storm brought heavy snow to locations in and near the Front Range foothills. A deep easterly upslope produced nearly 5 feet of snow in parts of the foothills. The heavy snow resulted in the closure of Interstate 70…from Golden west to Vail…for approximately 16 hours. The heavy snow snapped power lines in Evergreen and Nederland. The ensuing outages affected 14200 residents. In the Front Range foothills…storm totals included: 56 inches…3 miles south of Rollinsville; 54 inches…3 miles southeast of Pinecliffe…43 inches at Aspen Springs…42 inches at Evergreen…38 inches near conifer; 37 inches at St. Mary’s glacier…and 34 inches near Nederland. Along the urban corridor and Palmer Divide…the heaviest snow occurred above 5500 feet on the 17th. Storm totals included: 22 inches…8.5 miles southwest of Franktown; 18 inches…10 miles south-southeast of Buckley Air Force Base; 17 inches near Cherry Creek and 7 miles south of Sedalia… 16 inches…6.5 miles southwest of Castle Rock; 15 inches near Beverly Hills; 12 inches near Highlands Ranch and Lafayette…with 11 inches in Broomfield. Elsewhere storm totals ranged from 4 to 10 inches. Officially…only 2.6 inches of snow was observed at Denver International Airport. The 24-hr precipitation for the day however was 1.16 inches… Which established a new record for April 17th.

17

In 1889…northwest winds were sustained to 48 mph.

In 1899…apparent post-frontal north winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts as high as 48 mph.

In 1935…light dust moved over the city behind an apparent dry cold front…which produced northeast winds to 19 mph with gusts to 20 mph.

In 1978…winds estimated to 70 mph occurred in Morrison. Northwest winds gusted to 49 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2000…strong pre-frontal winds and widely scattered thunderstorms caused high winds to develop across northern metro Denver and portions of the northeast plains. Peak wind gusts included 75 mph at Louisville. South winds gusted to only 28 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2002…strong southwest winds in advance of a cold front gusted to 52 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2003…severe thunderstorms produced 1 inch diameter hail 7 miles east of Brighton. Strong thunderstorm winds blew out an auto windshield near Denver International Airport where south winds gusted to 48 mph.

17-18

In 1878…the wind blew violently all day on the 17th with a maximum sustained velocity of 40 mph. Dust hung over the city like a cloud. The relative humidity was zero nearly all day. A terrific gale blew overnight. There was much damage to buildings…signs…fences…etc. Some wind gusts were so strong as to jar buildings to their foundations. The station anemometer recorded sustained winds to 50 mph with higher gusts before it was damaged by the winds. The winds moderated during the day on the 18th and ended at sunset.

In 1894…post-frontal rain changed to snow on the 17th around sunrise and continued through 9:00 am on the 18th. Snowfall totaled 10.5 inches…but most of the snow melted as it fell. The high temperature warmed to only 35 degrees on the 17th after a high of 76 on the 16th. Northeast winds were sustained to 30 mph with gusts to 32 mph on the 17th.

In 1998…more spring snow fell across metro Denver and in the foothills. Snowfall totals included: 11 inches at Golden Gate Canyon; 10 inches at Highlands Ranch; 9 inches at Elizabeth; 8 inches at Broomfield and Morrison; and 7 inches at Chief Hosa…Evergreen…Littleton…and Sedalia. Snowfall totaled only 3.2 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North winds gusted to 22 mph at Denver International Airport.

17-19

In 1920…snow fell across the city continuously for 57 hours… From the early morning of the 17th until 11:40 am on the 19th. The heavy wet snowfall totaled 18.2 inches with the greatest accumulation on the ground of 12 inches. Winds during the storm were strong with sustained speeds in excess of 27 mph for over 40 consecutive hours…which created near-blizzard conditions. The highest recorded wind speeds were 44 mph with gusts to 50 mph from the north on the 17th and 39 mph with gusts to 48 mph from the northwest on the 18th. The strong winds piled the snow into high drifts which stopped all Denver traffic. Railroads were blocked with only one train entering the city on the 19th. All interurban trains were blocked…as were the 13 trolley lines. Thus…many workers were unable to get home at night and filled all of the downtown hotels to capacity. No grocery or fuel deliveries were possible… Except milk and coal to hospitals and to families with babies. No lives were lost in the city…but several people perished in surrounding districts. Stock losses were heavy on the plains. Temperatures during the storm were in the 20’s.

18

In 1877…strong winds blew all day with an average sustained velocity of 36 mph. The maximum sustained velocity was 60 mph. No significant damage was reported.

In 1903…northwest winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts to 53 mph.

In 1936…light dust spread over the city from the east on southeast winds gusting to 25 mph. The surface visibility was reduced to about 2 miles at times.

In 1940…this date marked the start of the longest period without snow…200 days…through November 3…1940. A trace of snow fell on both April 17…1940…and November 4…1940.

In 1963…strong winds were prevalent all day across metro Denver. West-northwest winds gusting to 60 mph produced some blowing dust at Stapleton Airport.

In 1971…a microburst wind gust to 59 mph produced some blowing dust at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1978…high winds caused much blowing dust over the plains. Wind gusts from 80 to 96 mph were reported in Boulder with 80 mph measured on Lookout Mountain. Northwest winds gusted to 43 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2000…high winds developed in the foothills of Boulder County. Peak wind gusts included 71 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research mesa lab near Boulder. In Aurora…three workers were injured when strong winds caused a home under construction to partially collapse. Two received minor injuries…while the third worker had to be hospitalized with severe back injuries. South winds gusted to 47 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2002…strong northeast winds behind a cold front gusted to 53 mph at Denver International Airport where some blowing dust briefly reduced the visibility to 3 miles.

» Click here to read the rest of April 17 to April 23: This week in Denver weather history

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Severe Weather 101 – Severe Weather Awareness Week wrap up

Saturday, April 16th, 2022 5:00am MDT
Supercell thunderstorms like this can be beautiful - but they can also be deadly. Do you know what to do when severe weather strikes? (Stormscape Photography / FLICKR)

Supercell thunderstorms like this can be beautiful – but they can also be deadly. Do you know what to do when severe weather strikes? (Stormscape Photography / FLICKR)

Over the past week we have highlighted some of the severe weather hazards that we face in Colorado every spring and summer in our Severe Weather 101 series.  The dangers these present are significant and not to be taken lightly.

Tornadoes grab most of the headlines and certainly are a danger however others like lightning and flooding are more common and actually claim more lives.  We ask all of our readers to please, take the time to review these important articles – they could save yours and your family’s lives!

The National Weather Service has published a nice wrap up of Severe Weather Awareness Week that covers all the basics – see it below.  For more in depth information, please use the links at the bottom to view each article on our Severe Weather 101 series.  Be safe and be weatherwise!

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
600 AM MDT SAT APR 16 2022

SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN REVIEW

Severe Weather Awareness Week in review…

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Colorado concludes today. During the past week we have presented information and safety rules for tornadoes, lightning and wildfires, floods and flash floods, straight-line thunderstorm winds, hail, and our warning programs.

We will now review some of the most important safety rules in our effort to build a Weather-Ready Nation.

Be weather-wise by staying informed on expected weather in your area. The National Weather Service is typically aware of the potential for severe weather many hours or even days before any severe weather watches or warnings are issued, providing forecast products to heighten your awareness. A Weather Story product is posted each day on National Weather Service Internet pages and Facebook pages which includes a map and text on possible hazardous weather expected within the next seven days.

A Hazardous Weather Outlook is also issued daily with information on possible hazardous weather through the next seven days. A watch is issued when conditions for severe weather or flooding become possible. A warning is then issued when life threatening conditions are imminent or occurring.

Tornadoes

Tornadoes can even strike in mountain areas. In 2008 on August 23rd, this rope tornado struck Park County near Eleven Mile Reservoir. Image courtesy Jerry Bivens.

Tornadoes can even strike in mountain areas. In 2008 on August 23rd, this rope tornado struck Park County near Eleven Mile Reservoir. Image courtesy Jerry Bivens.

The best way to protect yourself from tornadoes is to have a plan of action. The safest place to be if a tornado approaches is in a basement or safe room within a well-built structure, or in an underground storm shelter. If none of these options are available, move to a hallway or a small interior room on the lowest floor, usually this is a closet or bathroom. Get under a heavy piece of furniture or in a bath tub and cover yourself with blankets. Remember, the greatest risk of injury from tornadoes is from flying debris.

Modular homes and mobile homes, even those tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes. If a tornado approaches, leave those locations and seek safety in a nearby sturdy building or storm shelter.

If you are driving in open country and see a tornado, if time permits, the best thing to do is simply drive away from the tornado path. Do not take shelter beneath a highway overpass. Wind speeds may actually be higher in these areas and often become collection points for debris.

If you are caught outside and cannot seek shelter inside a sturdy structure, crawl into a culvert or lie down in a narrow ditch or ravine and cover your head. But remember that the worst place to be when a tornado threatens is outside in the midst of flying debris.

Lightning

Lightning usually kills and injures more people in Colorado than any other thunderstorm hazard. Lightning also causes many wildfires.

The best defense to protect yourself against a lightning strike is to plan ahead and avoid being caught where you might be vulnerable. Check weather forecasts prior to venturing out, especially if you are heading into the mountains. Plan outdoor activities early in the day before storms develop.

If thunderstorms threaten, seek shelter in a building or in an enclosed metal-roof vehicle, making sure all windows and doors are closed. Never seek shelter under an isolated tree. During thunderstorms, stay off corded telephones, away from electrical devices, and away from plumbing. Also get out of shower stalls, bath tubs, swimming pools and lakes when lightning is nearby.

You should wait at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder before resuming outdoor activities. When thunder roars…go indoors.

Floods and Flash Floods

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

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

When flooding or flash flooding is possible, you should remain alert and be ready to quickly evacuate to higher ground or climb to safety. Flash floods often occur suddenly and without warning. You need to follow some basic flood safety rules:

  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
  • If you are near a river, be aware of water levels and be prepared to move to higher ground if river levels rise.
  • Do not enter areas that are already flooded.
  • If walking or fishing along a river, be aware that erosion from swift running water can cause river banks to collapse.
  • Never let your children play around high water, storm drains, viaducts or arroyos.

At least half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle related. While driving your automobile, look out for flooding at highway dips, bridges and low areas. Two feet of moving water will carry away most vehicles. Never attempt to drive across a flooded road. And be especially cautious at night when it is difficult to see flood dangers.

Strong Straight-Line Winds

Straight-line winds from thunderstorms, including microbursts, can become quite strong, even reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph in extreme cases. When thunderstorms approach, high winds can suddenly develop, causing things on the ground to become swift moving airborne missiles with a potential force to injure or kill. As with any thunderstorm, seek shelter before the storm arrives.

Hail

This is one of the largest recorded hail stones which is more than 7 inches in diameter and fell in Nebraska in 2003. (NOAA)

This is one of the largest recorded hail stones which is more than 7 inches in diameter and fell in Nebraska in 2003. (NOAA)

Large hail can pose a danger to animals and people. Hail also produces considerable damage to crops and personal property each year in Colorado. Again, get indoors before thunderstorms arrive. A fall of small hail can suddenly change to a fall of very large ice missiles which can injure or kill. Make efforts to protect personal property before storms threaten.

Warning Notification

When thunderstorms threaten, tune to NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio, The Weather Channel, or your local radio or television stations. Also check the Internet web site from the National Weather Service office serving your area. And if you have a relatively new cell phone you should receive Tornado and Flash Flood Warnings on your phone if you are in the area of the warning.

During threatening weather days, plan the actions you will need to take so that you will be prepared if dangerous weather conditions actually develop.

NOAA’s National Weather Service wishes you a safe severe weather season.

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Colorado concludes today. During the past week we have presented information and safety rules for tornadoes, lightning and wildfires, floods and flash floods, straight-line thunderstorm winds, hail, and our warning programs.

 

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Temperatures warm up for Thornton’s weekend but periods of wind will continue

Friday, April 15th, 2022 5:02am MDT

Some good, some not-so-good in the forecast for us. Temperatures will climb to above average levels however, we will also see some wind (although not as bad as some of the recent days).

For Friday, lots of sun will be above as we head for a high in the mid to upper 60s. Winds will be breezy again adding to the need for another Red Flag Warning. Tonight, it will remain breezy for much of the nighttime hours. Skies will be mostly clear with an overnight low near freezing.

Saturday sees an increase in cloud cover but bit of a break in the wind. Highs will top out in the mid-60s under partly sunny skies. Saturday night, the evening and overnight hours bring just a slight chance for a rain shower. Overnight lows will be in the upper 30s.

Sunday brings a return of the sun – and the wind. Sunny skies will be above with highs in the mid to upper 60s. Winds will again be breezy.

Have a great weekend!

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Severe Weather 101 – Lightning and lightning safety

Friday, April 15th, 2022 5:00am 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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Thursday temperatures warm to near normal but we still get the wind

Thursday, April 14th, 2022 5:02am MDT

Boy, this really blows. Thornton will see temps warm up today with a good dose of sun but winds will return,

The day starts out with clear skies that will be with us through the morning. The afternoon will bring just a few clouds. High temperatures will be topping out around the 60 degree mark. As for the wind, it will ramp up this morning then be quite blustery for the majority of the day.

The wind coupled with dry fuels and low humidity have prompted a Red Flag Warning to be issued due to elevated fire danger. Be careful!

Tonight, winds will begin to ease around sunset. Overnight, skies will be mostly clear with lows around freezing.

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