On first glance our look at this week in Denver weather history appears to be less eventful than many we have looked at previously. However, the severity of the events that appear on the historical weather calendar this week are enough to make you stand up and pay attention. While August is typically a pretty quiet weather month, it is clear that severe weather can certainly strike and Thornton is mentioned in more than one significant event.
From the National Weather Service:
In 1878…the high temperature reached 100 degrees in downtown Denver.
In 1911…an apparent dry microburst produced sustained west winds to 42 mph.
In 1972…one workman was killed and another injured when a strong gust of wind destroyed a partially completed apartment building in south Denver. Hail to 1 3/4 inch diameter fell in Golden.
In 1973…hail to 3/4 inch diameter was reported in Boulder.
In 1986…a major outbreak of severe thunderstorms occurred along the Front Range. Thunderstorms developed explosively. Some places were hit by large hail twice. Two inch diameter hail broke car windows on I-25 west of Brighton…and up to 1 1/4 inch hail broke windows in Thornton. Baseball size hail damaged several planes near Watkins. Funnel clouds were sighted around Aurora. Hail over 1/2 inch in diameter covered the ground 3 to 4 inches deep at Hudson northeast of Denver. Most of the hail fell north of metro Denver…but 3/4 inch diameter hail was measured at Stapleton International Airport. Total damage from the hail storms this day was estimated at over 10 million dollars.
In 1991…late afternoon thunderstorms produced heavy rain across metro Denver. Two feet of water covered parts of I-25 in southeast Denver…while one foot of water covered parts of U.S. Highway 285 in Englewood. Thunderstorm rainfall totaled 0.50 inch at Stapleton International Airport.
In 2001…severe thunderstorms producing heavy rain and hail… Either washed out or damaged several County roads in the Watkins and Bennett areas. A small tornado (f0) touched down near Bennett…but did no damage. Hail as large as 1 3/4 inches in diameter fell near Watkins. One inch diameter hail was measured near Hudson and Keenesburg.
In 2008…strong winds blew several trees down in Denver… Damaging homes and downing power lines. A peak wind gust of 67 mph occurred at Centennial Airport…with gusts to 60 mph estimated in Denver. A peak wind gust of 37 mph was measured at Denver International Airport. An elderly man was killed when a wind damaged tree broke free and crushed him while he attempted to remove it. The downed power lines caused outages to about 500 Xcel energy customers.
In 1876…grasshoppers were in great abundance in the city and caused considerable damage to gardens and to crops in the surrounding farms and ranches.
In 1951…heavy thunderstorms rumbled across metro Denver through the night. Heavy rain totaled 3.45 inches at Stapleton Airport. This was the greatest 24 hour precipitation ever recorded during the month of august in Denver.
In 2007…heavy rain caused localized flash flooding near Ft. Lupton. Up to 8 inches of water was reported across County road 18. In addition…several other County roads in the immediate area were washed out.
In 1878…the high temperature climbed to 100 degrees in downtown Denver.
In 1900…a thunderstorm produced west winds sustained to 48 mph with gusts to 55 mph…but only a trace of rain.
In 1903…a thunderstorm produced a trace of rainfall and northwest winds sustained to 45 mph with gusts to 60 mph. The high temperature was 99 degrees.
In 1927…a thunderstorm produced hail and sustained north winds to 22 mph.
In 1933…heavy cloudburst rains caused the failure of the Castlewood dam…which resulted in flash flooding on Cherry Creek…the deaths of 7 people in Denver…and flood damage estimated at 1 million dollars. Lower Denver was flooded during the morning by waters pouring down Cherry Creek and its valley from Castlewood Dam…which had broken between midnight and 2:00 am. Heavy rain of 3 to 9 inches in 9 hours in the watershed above the dam resulted in the failure. At 7:30 am…the flow in Cherry Creek was reported at 16 thousand second-feet as compared with a peak flow of 3 thousand second-feet in other years. The flood waters ruined hundreds of acres of crops and drowned scores of farm animals. Six bridges in Denver were swept away. Great deposits of mud were left in the lower sections of the city…including hundreds of basements and lower floors of buildings. At the end of the month…a deadly stench still rose from swampy areas near the lower city limits.
In 1963…heavy thunderstorm rains in the Parker area caused Cherry Creek to overflow…which damaged roads.
In 1985…a tornado touched down briefly about 10 miles northeast of Parker. No damage was reported.
In 1991…upslope northeast winds produced chilly temperature readings and heavy rain across metro Denver. Rainfall… With no thunder…totaled 1.56 inches at Stapleton International Airport where the heavy rain briefly reduced the surface visibility to 7/8 mile. The mercury climbed to a high of only 63 degrees.
In 1992…a thunderstorm wind gust to 64 mph was recorded in Brighton. A wind gust to 60 mph was measured near the construction site of the new Denver International Airport. Lightning started a fire in an Evergreen church…causing over 75 thousand dollars in damage.
In 1998…3/4 inch hail fell in Jefferson County 15 miles northwest of Arvada.
In 2006…heavy thunderstorm rainfall caused flash flooding along Leyden Creek in unincorporated Jefferson County. An automated rain gauge on upper Leyden Creek…6 miles northwest of Arvada…measured 2.68 inches of rainfall in less than 2 hours. Two to three feet of water covered the roadway at the intersection of 82nd and Quaker Street.
In 1988…two inches of rain fell in 3 hours at both Morrison and Wheat Ridge. Thunderstorm rainfall totaled 0.80 inch overnight at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1889…southwest winds were sustained to 42 mph with an extreme velocity to 52 mph.
In 1924…0.01 inch of rain fell over downtown Denver. This along with the 0.01 inch of rainfall on the 10th was the only rainfall of the month…the driest august on record.
In 1963…heavy rains in the foothills above Idaho Springs caused mud and rock slides which closed U.S. Highways 6 and 40 for a time.
In 1976…hail to 1 inch diameter was reported 12 miles southwest of Denver. Hail to 3/4 inch in diameter was reported in Lakewood. Small hail…1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter…fell at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1982…heavy rain poured through the roof of a clothing store in Aurora…causing widespread water damage. The roof was being repaired when the storm hit.
In 1983…hail up to one inch in diameter fell in Aurora where heavy rain produced street flooding.
In 1984…a Colorado state trooper was struck and injured by lightning in Northglenn.
In 1989…a microburst wind gust to 52 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1997…lightning sparked a small fire in a home in Arvada… Causing minor damage. Several intersections in both Arvada and Westminster were flooded by thunderstorms producing heavy rain. Several cars were damaged by the high waters… And a number of businesses were flooded.
In 1999…flooding and flash flooding problems developed over metro Denver as slow moving thunderstorms dumped from 2 to 3.5 inches of rainfall in about 3 hours. Near the junction of I-25 and U.S. Highway 36…up to 4 feet of water flooded an auto dealership. About 45 cars were ruined. Damage estimates to the dealership alone totaled nearly a half million dollars. Sections of I-25 and U.S. 36 near the interchange were closed due to floodwaters. Floodwaters… Up to 5 feet deep…forced the evacuation of two mobile home parks in Federal Heights. Railroad tracks were washed out near Federal Blvd. and 64th Avenue. Numerous power outages caused widespread blackouts in Thornton and Littleton. Along Massey Draw near Carr St. and Chatfield Reservoir…4 homes were flood damaged and portions of their backyards washed out. Widespread street flooding was also reported in Boulder where several buildings were flood damaged…including the University of Colorado Memorial Center.
In 2004…two golfers were shocked when lightning struck the eighth green of the golf course at Castle Pines North of Castle Rock. The two men suffered only minor injuries. Heavy thunderstorm rain from the same storm caused flash flooding. Floodwaters rushed across parts of U.S. Highway 85 near the entrance to the castle pines golf club. The traffic lanes were covered with up to 6 inches of running water.
In 2008…lightning sparked a grassfire that consumed 300 acres on the northern edge of Green Mountain…in Jefferson County. Gusty winds and very dry conditions allowed the wildfire to quickly spread and threaten several houses. Fortunately…only minor damage was reported to homes due to smoke and melted siding.
In 1881…the low temperature cooled to only 76 degrees…the record high minimum temperature for the month.
In 1889…southwest winds were sustained to 42 mph.
In 1918…hail pelted the city…but was light and caused no damage. Precipitation totaled 0.25 inch. Northwest winds were sustained to 31 mph.
In 1964…lightning struck two boys in Denver while playing ball. One was treated and released from the hospital…but the other boy suffered second degree electrical shock and cardiac arrest and was hospitalized in critical condition for several days.
In 1969…two tornadoes touched down briefly in an open field southeast of Buckley Field in Aurora. No damage was reported.
In 1970…heavy rain in the Indian Hills area in the foothills west of Denver caused flash flooding…which washed out roads and damaged other property. Hail accumulated to a 3 inch depth with stones up to golf ball size; however…most of the damage was from flooding.
In 1982…2.38 inches of rain fell in an hour in Arvada… Causing minor flooding on Ralston Creek. In Westminster… 1 1/2 inches of rain fell…causing damage to streets and culverts. In addition…lightning caused some minor power outages across metro Denver.
In 1983…very heavy thunderstorms hit the southern portion of metro Denver. Heavy rainfall…as much as 2.89 inches in 38 minutes…caused widespread street flooding in southeast Denver. Two feet of water covered a section of I-25. Hail up to golf ball size accompanied the storm in Littleton and Englewood…along with 60 mph winds.
In 1984…a heavy thunderstorm drenched Littleton with up to 2.35 inches of rain in an hour…along with small hail that piled up to 2 inches deep. Flood waters were up to 4 feet deep in parts of town with many basements flooded. There were some power outages caused by lightning.
In 1990…a thunderstorm dumped 1.25 inches of rain in 12 minutes near Tower and Smoky Hill roads in southeast Aurora. Minor street flooding was reported in the area.
In 1992…a pilot reported two funnel clouds near Cheery Creek Reservoir. Both dissipated quickly. Dime size hail fell near Franktown.
In 1994…one inch diameter hail fell near Strasburg. No damage was reported.
In 1999…a dog kennel east of Denver International Airport… Was flooded when a small dam…upstream in Elbert County… Was breached. The floodwaters…up to 4 feet deep…washed away some 6-foot fences and other small buildings. Ten of the 70 dogs boarded at the kennel drowned.
In 2002…a mail carrier was struck by lightning as he inserted a key into a multi-unit mailbox in Bailey. The shock knocked the man back against the mail truck. He suffered minor injuries. Lightning struck a residence in Commerce City. The resulting fire destroyed the roof of a detached garage and damaged much of its contents. Hail as large as 1 3/4 inches in diameter pelted pine. One inch diameter hail fell in Arvada and southwest Denver. Heavy rain triggered a mudslide along U.S. Highway 285 near bailey. Both lanes of traffic had to be closed until debris could be removed from the highway. Several residences in the Bailey and Glenisle areas were also flooded.
In 2004…heavy thunderstorm rainfall caused localized flash flooding in Virginia Canyon near Idaho Springs. Sections of the Virginia Canyon Road had to be closed due to the floodwaters.
In 2008…a severe thunderstorm produced large hail…up to 1 1/4 inches in diameter…northeast of Parker. Several automobiles were damaged.
In 1877…a severe rain…hail…and wind storm struck Denver. The storm produced a one minute sustained wind speed of 75 mph. Rainfall totaled 1.00 inch in 25 minutes. The hail storm damaged vegetable gardens in the city.
In 1954…an unconfirmed tornado was reported in Westminster. A funnel cloud was sighted in the area…but it was not certain if it had touched down. No damage was reported.
In 1980…the temperature reached 100 degrees…setting a new record high for the date.
In 1982…3/4 inch diameter hail was reported in north Denver. Heavy rain caused street flooding in central Denver where 4 to 5 feet of water inundated I-25…closing the freeway for a while. Rainfall across metro Denver ranged up to 2.35 inches in just over an hour. An estimated 2000 basements were flooded. Only 0.01 inch of rain fell at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1991…heavy rain caused flooding at the junction of I-25 and I-70. Dime size hail was reported northeast of Boulder near Niwot.
In 1995…microburst winds gusting as high as 58 mph caused minor damage to an apartment complex in Broomfield. Some homes under construction were also damaged when the winds knocked over 2 by 4 wood beams along with some insulation and roofing materials…which broke a few windows. Microburst winds also overturned a camper near Barr Lake.
In 1996…hail ranging in size from 1 to 1 1/2 inches fell near Bennett.
In 2001…3/4 inch hail fell in the foothills near Conifer.
In 2008…a record daily rainfall record was set at Denver International Airport. The record of 1.29 inches in 24 hours broke the previous record of 1.10 inches set in 1929.
In 1948…a brief west moving tornado was sighted 3 miles north-northeast of Stapleton Airport. The white funnel silhouetted against a gray cloud background was very narrow…nearly vertical…and estimated at nearly 5 thousand feet high. A dust cloud formed on the ground around the funnel. No damage was reported.
In 1952…a thunderstorm wind gust to 52 mph was recorded at Stapleton Airport.
In 1874…swarms of grasshoppers invaded the city. Millions of them were seen cruising through the air. The insects were apparently picked up by a thunderstorm gust front and carried into the city. The grasshoppers had ravaged crops in surrounding counties for the last month.
In 1878…the highest temperature ever recorded in Denver…105 degrees…occurred at 3:20 pm. This temperature was equaled on July 20th in 2005.
In 1969…the temperature reached 100 degrees at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1976…in Thornton…a 13 year old boy riding a bicycle was struck and killed by lightning.
In 2000…lightning struck three homes in central Arapahoe County east of Denver. Damage was estimated at 47 thousand dollars.
In 2003…hail to 1 inch in diameter pelted Denver. Hail to 7/8 inch was measured in Boulder.
In 2008…heavy rain also caused flash flooding over south Denver and its nearby suburbs. Heavy rain…from 2.5 to 4 inches…fell in less than 90 minutes. Firefighters rescued 20 people as the water quickly rose along creeks…flooded roadways…and stranded motorists. Three people had to be rescued along Cherry Creek when the bike path flooded. In Evergreen…a man suffered minor injuries when he was struck by lightning. It entered his finger…traveled down his body… And exited his foot.
In 1979…heavy thunderstorm rains on each of three consecutive days dumped a total of 2.22 inches of rain at Stapleton International Airport. The heaviest rain… 0.95 inches…fell on the 9th. Small hail to 1/8 inch diameter fell on the 8th.
In 1875…clouds of grasshoppers were seen flying through the air on the prevailing winds during each day.