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An approaching front is going to bring about significant change to our weather conditions today. While it will be cooler and perhaps even bring a few flakes of snow, the most notable feature is going to be the potential for extremely strong winds and a corresponding increase in fire danger.
The day starts out relatively mild with readings in the mid to upper 40s. As the front arrives later this morning, temperatures will chill and we will be down to 40 or so by late afternoon. Above, look for mostly to partly sunny skies throughout the day. As the front pushes through around mid-morning, there is a slight chance we may see a few flakes of snow although no accumulation is expected.
The main story today is going to be the wind. We start out breezy but as the front approaches and then passes through this morning, wind speeds will increase. Look for them to peak by noon or so and then they will slowly decrease through the afternoon and evening. Peak speeds to 60 mph will be possible.
A High Wind Watch is in effect and runs through 8:00pm. Additionally, a Red Flag Warning runs from 8:00am to 6:00pm. Any fires that get started will experience rapid and extreme growth so please use caution.
Tonight winds will remain breezy with gusts to 20mph. Temperatures will be dropping to lows in the mid-20s.
How hard is the wind blowing? Keep an eye on our live gauges here.
March is Denver’s snowiest month and it is not unusual for us to receive heavy, wet snows during this time. Our look back at this week in Denver weather history highlights many such events.
From the National Weather Service:
In 1961…snowfall totaled 8.3 inches at Stapleton Airport over the 3-day period with most of the snow…4.4 inches… falling on the 3rd. Winds were generally light gusting to only 23 mph.
In 1971…heavy post-frontal snowfall totaled 7.7 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 28 mph.
In 1992…snow spread from the mountains into the eastern foothills where 19 inches fell in Coal Creek Canyon. Rain fell over lower elevations of metro Denver with 1.12 inches of precipitation recorded at Stapleton International Airport and only one half inch of snow. North winds gusted to 32 mph.
In 2004…snowfall totaled 1.8 inches at the Denver Stapleton site. This was the only measurable snowfall of the month. Northeast winds gusted to 29 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 1931…a cold front with north winds gusting to 35 mph on the evening of the 4th brought snowfall on the 5th into the early morning of the 6th. Heavy snowfall totaled 6.2 inches. Temperatures plunged from a high of 58 degrees on the 4th to a low of only 22 degrees by midnight…which was also the high reading on the 5th.
In 1983…a slow moving moisture laden storm produced heavy snow and rain. Two to three feet of snow fell in the foothills at Wondervu and Nederland. The southern portion of metro Denver was buried with 26 inches of snow in southeast Aurora…25 inches at Franktown…and 19 inches at Littleton. Snowfall totaled 18.7 inches at Stapleton International Airport with most of the snow…18.0 inches… Falling on the 5th. Brighton received only 11 inches of new snow. Boulder was drenched by rain and received no snow. Precipitation from the storm totaled 3.06 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 28 mph. The heavy wet snow snapped many tree limbs…which fell on power and phone lines causing many outages. Numerous highways were closed. Two thousand travelers were stranded at Stapleton International Airport where only one runway was open for a time. Many flights were canceled. One home in Denver was severely damaged when its roof collapsed under the weight of the heavy snow. The 2.68 inches of precipitation on the 5th was the greatest calendar day precipitation ever recorded in the city during March. The 2.79 inches of precipitation on the 4th and 5th was the greatest 24 hour precipitation ever measured during March.
In 1887…the longest snow-free period on record…232 days… Began. The last measurable snowfall of the season…0.1 inch…occurred on the 4th. The first measurable snow of the next season…0.3 inch… Occurred on October 23rd.
In 1900…northwest winds were sustained to 51 mph with gusts to 60 mph. The strong Bora winds warmed the temperature to a high of 44 degrees.
In 1926…post-frontal north winds were sustained to 44 mph with gusts as high as 54 mph. The cold front also produced a thunderstorm.
In 1990…the southern portion of metro Denver was hit by a line of thunderstorms. Heavy rain…0.90 to 2.40 inches… And pea to marble size hail piled to a depth of 2 to 3 inches over portions of northern and eastern Douglas and western Arapahoe counties. Thunderstorm winds to 50 mph were clocked at Centennial airport. Thunderstorm rainfall was 0.62 inch at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1935…3.0 inches of snow fell in downtown Denver. This was the only measurable snow of the month. Northwest winds gusted to 29 mph on the 5th.
In 1940…heavy snowfall totaled 9.1 inches over downtown Denver. North winds gusted to 22 mph.
In 2000…high winds developed in and near the foothills just prior to the passage of an upper level storm system moving in from the west. Peak gusts from the windstorm included: 88 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research near Boulder…82 mph in Boulder…80 mph at the national wind technology center south of Boulder…79 mph on Rocky Flats…and 71 mph in Golden Gate Canyon. Several power lines were downed causing a few brief outages. Thunderstorms produced southeast wind gusts to 51 mph at Denver International Airport on the 5th.
In 2003…high winds spread from the mountains down the eastern slopes. The highest wind gusts were 85 mph atop the Gamow Tower on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder and 70 mph at the national wind technology center on Rocky Flats west of Broomfield. West winds gusted to 44 mph at Denver International Airport on the 6th.
In 1900…west winds were sustained to 41 mph with gusts to 49 mph.
In 1920…the high temperature warmed to only 6 degrees… The all-time record low maximum temperature for the month of March. The same reading also occurred on March 10…1948.
In 1972…a wind gust to 100 mph was recorded at Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield. Winds gusted in Boulder at speeds of 50 to 65 mph. A light plane was overturned… And there was damage to other planes at Boulder airport. The roof of a garage was blown off…and a mobile home was overturned in Boulder. A truck was blown off the highway 15 miles east of Boulder. West winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport. The warm Chinook winds were responsible for setting a new record high temperature for the date of 75 degrees…exceeding the old record of 72 degrees set in 1925.
In 1990…a blizzard pummeled metro Denver. Snow fell at a rate of 2 to 3 inches an hour. Gusty north winds whipped the snow into 2- to 3-foot drifts by noon. During the afternoon many stores and schools closed. By rush hour sustained winds of 35 to 46 mph and gusts to 58 mph reduced visibilities to near zero and whipped the new snow into 3- to 4-foot drifts. Many residential as well as secondary and primary roads became impassable. I-25 and I-70 were closed in and out of the city. Road crews cleared drifts as high as 12 feet in southeast Boulder and northwest Adams counties. Several hundred rush hour commuters…including the state’s governor…were caught in the blizzard conditions along a 15-mile stretch of the Denver-Boulder turnpike. Many remained snowbound in their vehicles up to 8 hours until rescued by police and the National Guard. The highway remained closed until mid-day on the 7th. Shelters for stranded commuters and travelers were opened in Broomfield and Castle Rock. Many workers didn’t even try to go home…but filled downtown hotels to near capacity. By early evening…Stapleton International Airport was shut down after an airliner with 82 passengers aboard skidded off a runway. Snowfall totals for the storm varied from 18 to 50 inches in the foothills above 6 thousand feet…9 to 24 inches west of I-25…and 2 to 12 inches over eastern metro Denver. Snowfall from the storm totaled 11.8 inches at Stapleton International Airport where the maximum snow depth on the ground was 7 inches due to melting.
In 2004…very strong downslope winds developed in and near the eastern foothills…causing numerous traffic accidents and extensive property damage to roofs and aluminum sheds. Three semi-trucks were toppled by the strong winds near the I-70 and C-470 interchange. One of the trucks was carrying a modular home…while another was hauling hazardous material. I-70 had to be closed in both directions until the accidents could be cleaned up. Strong winds forced the closure of State Highway 93 between Golden and Boulder…when the road became icy and snowpacked from localized ground blizzards. Another semi- truck was blown over near the intersection of State Highways 72 and 93 atop Rocky Flats. Scattered power outages were reported across northern and western sections of metro Denver…affecting around 2000 residents. In Boulder…several pine trees were uprooted by the high winds.
The unseasonably warm weather of recent weeks returns for this weekend. We will enjoy three days with lots of sun and very mild temperatures.
For today we start out with clear skies and other than a cloud here and there, the sun will rule. Temperatures will be climbing toward a high in the mid-60s, well above the 51 degree average for the date. Overall conditions will be dry and calm. Overnight tonight temperatures will be dropping toward the freezing mark.
Saturday looks to be quite similar to today but with even higher mercury readings. Lots of sun will be above and conditions calm and dry as we head toward a high near the 70 degree mark. Overnight Saturday night into Sunday morning the temperatures will dip to the mid-30s.
We close out the weekend on Sunday with the warmest temperatures of the period. Highs will be in the low-70s. A few more clouds will be possible and the late afternoon and evening have the potential to bring some breezy winds.
Have a great weekend!
The month of February was extraordinarily dry and warm for Thornton. Will March bring any relief, particularly on the precipitation front? History would say yes but long range forecasts do not look good.
March usually offers healthy snowfall giving us an opportunity to add to those numbers. While there is good snow potential in March, the month also typically brings much warmer temperatures.
March is historically Denver’s snowiest month and brings about 20% of our annual snowfall. Heavy, wet spring snow storms can oftentimes bring the entire month’s snowfall total in one monstrous snow.
We also start the transition to spring and severe weather season and the month typically brings our first thunderstorms of the year. Temperatures climb throughout the month and by the end our average daytime highs are near 60 degrees.
We will be enjoying a very pleasant, typical early March day today. Look for a healthy dose of sun above and temperatures right near average.
The day starts with sunny skies and while there will be a few clouds this afternoon, they won’t intrude much at all. Winds will be relatively light and out of the west. Temperatures will top out right near the average for today’s date of 50 degrees, perhaps a degree or two warmer.
Tonight, it will be partly cloudy and we will go for an overnight low in the mid-20s.
Our latest storm system has moved out after delivering a brief shot of snow late in the day yesterday. In its wake temperatures are going to remain chilly and we will see some breezy winds but there will be a return of sunny skies.
We start out the day with clear skies and other than a few clouds later, there will be plenty of sun throughout. Temperatures are starting out cold and while we will warm up, it will be cooler than normal. Look for a high today of around 42 degrees.
Winds are going to be a bit tricky today with the foothills bearing the brunt of them. There will be periods our way though when it will be breezy with gusts to 25mph being possible.
Mother Nature mixes things up for us a bit today with a brief return to cold and some light snow. The weather system won’t be anything extraordinary though and by this weekend we will see a return to spring-like conditions.
For today cloudy skies above will be the general rule before some clear is seen in the late evening and overnight hours. Temperatures will be chilly with highs only expected to reach the upper 30s. By mid to late afternoon some breezy winds will be thrown into the mix and last through the overnight hours.
In terms of snowfall, a few flurries may be seen this morning. Best chances for snow come from about 11:00am through 7:00pm. Right now we expect less than an inch in our area however we are going to need to keep watch on the possibility of stronger bands of snow setting up.
Looking ahead, we will see a gradual warmup Wednesday and Thursday then mercury readings approach 60 on Friday and well into the 60s Saturday and Sunday. Get more details in the extended forecast here.
Following on our chilly weekend we will warm up to levels near or just above normal. An approaching trough will influence things this afternoon in the form of increased clouds and breezy winds.
We start out the day with mostly clear skies and cold temperatures in the upper teens. We’ll warm up to a comfortable high of 52 degrees.
Early afternoon will see clouds start increasing and by sunset we will be seeing only partly sunny skies. Winds will also be picking up after noon with gusts to 25mph or so being possible into the evening.
Overnight tonight mostly cloudy skies will be above and we will drop to a low in the low 20s.