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April 12 to April 18: This week in Denver weather history

Sunday, April 12th, 2020 5:25am MST

This Week in Denver Weather History

A look back at this week in Denver weather history shows quite the variety of weather conditions.  We have seen everything from high winds and snowstorms to hail, thunderstorms and sub-freezing temperatures.

From the National Weather Service:

7-12

In 1959…snow falling over a 5-day period totaled 20 to 30 inches just east of the mountains…while over the plains blizzard conditions closed schools and blocked highways. The second big storm in two weeks dumped 16.4 inches of snowfall on Stapleton Airport with the most…11.6 inches… Occurring on the 8th. East winds gusted to 37 mph on the 9th. Temperatures dipped into the single digits on the mornings of the 7th and 12th when 7 degrees were registered. The cold temperatures caused streets to glaze with ice…resulting in the death of a pedestrian who was struck by a car in Denver. Three people died from heart attacks while shoveling the heavy…wet snow.

9-12

In 1901…rain changed to snow and totaled 10.8 inches in downtown Denver over the 4 days. Northeast winds were sustained to 28 mph with gusts to 31 mph on the 11th. Temperatures hovered in the 30`s.

10-12

In 1997…a pacific storm produced heavy snow on the 10th and the 11th in and near the foothills with 6 to 8 inches at Louisville and turkey creek canyon…5 inches at Morrison… And only 3.5 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. Northeast winds gusted to 24 mph at Denver International Airport. The storm also brought unseasonably cold weather with 5 new temperature records equaled or broken. Record low temperatures of 8 and 6 occurred on the 11th and 12th. Record low maximum temperatures of 20…19…and 30 occurred on the 10th…11th… And 12th respectively. This was also only the second time on record that the temperature had failed to reach the freezing mark for 3 consecutive days in April.

10-14

In 1927…post-frontal rain on the 10th changed to snow on the 11th and continued through the 14th. Snowfall totaled 8.5 inches from precipitation of 1.28 inches. North winds were sustained to 26 mph with gusts to 29 mph on the 13th.

11-12

In 1876…heavy snow began during the late afternoon of the 11th and continued through the night. Light snow ended around mid-morning of the 12th. The amount of snow was not measured…but precipitation totaled 0.70 inch… Which would be around 7 inches of estimated snowfall. Strong winds accompanied the heavy snowfall.

In 1896…post-frontal light rain changed to light snow overnight…but totaled only a trace. Northeast winds were sustained to 45 mph with gusts as high as 62 mph on the 12th.

In 1991…a strong pacific storm dumped heavy snow across metro Denver with amounts of 6 to 15 inches at lower elevations and up to almost 2 feet in the foothills west of Denver. Snowfall reports included: 21 inches at Idaho Springs…19 inches at Aspen Springs…15 inches in Arvada… 14 inches at Rollinsville…10 inches in Boulder… 8 inches in Aurora…and 7.3 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 24 mph on the 11th.

12

In 1906…north winds were sustained to 52 mph in the city.

In 1916…post-frontal north winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 42 mph. Light rain also occurred.

In 1964…strong gusty winds raked metro Denver. Wind gusts estimated to 60 mph or higher caused widespread damage to buildings and power lines. Blowing dust closed some roads. A wind gust to 46 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1967…microburst winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1982…wind gusts to 60 mph were reported in and near the foothills. Wind gusts to 44 mph were recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1987…snow fell over metro Denver… Causing traffic tie-ups on the roads and at Stapleton International Airport where some flights were delayed for 90 minutes. I-25 south of Denver was closed for a time due to numerous traffic accidents. While only 4.2 inches of snow fell in Denver… Foothills to the southwest received 6 to 12 inches of snow. North winds gusted to 33 mph at Stapleton International Airport where the maximum snow depth on the ground was only 2 inches due to melting.

12-13

In 1922…post-frontal rain changed to heavy snow… Which totaled 7.0 inches in downtown Denver. This was the second snow in 3 days. North winds were sustained to 29 mph with gusts to 31 mph on the 12th.

In 1993…heavy snow occurred in the foothills northwest of Denver with 21 inches recorded at the Eldora Ski Area. Only 1.9 inches of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 32 mph on the 13th. Most of the precipitation from the storm fell as rain across the city with 0.62 inch of precipitation measured at Stapleton International Airport.

12-14

In 1933…heavy snowfall of 5.6 inches occurred in downtown Denver on the 12th and 13th behind a vigorous cold front… Which presented an awe-inspiring spectacle as it approached the station during the late afternoon of the 12th. Brilliant white wind-torn cumulus clouds were sandwiched by a brownish- tan dust cloud at the surface and dark blue cumulus clouds above. The dust cloud storm rapidly enveloped the station with northeast winds sustained to 38 mph and gusts to 44 mph producing much blowing dust…which was accompanied by rapidly falling temperatures and rising pressure. Moist snowfall started in about an hour and continued to midday on the 13th. Record low temperatures of 17 and 15 degrees occurred on the 13th and 14th respectively. The high temperature of only 27 degrees on the 13th was a record low maximum for the date.

12-15

In 1927…snowfall totaled 8.5 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow fell on the 14th. Northwest winds were sustained to 27 mph during the storm.

13

In 1873…heavy snow started with fresh and brisk north winds around 9:00 am…and continued heavy until 2:00 pm and lightly until 7:00 pm. Temperatures were below freezing for most of the day…but the snow melted almost as fast as it fell. Precipitation from the melted snow totaled 0.70 inches. This would be around 7.0 inches of estimated snowfall.

In 1912…a severe wind and dust storm struck the city. West winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 42 mph.

In 1967…a late season snow storm affected areas along the eastern foothills from Denver south. Snowfall between 2 and 3 feet closed I-25 between Denver and Colorado springs. In Denver…snowfall was only 3.6 inches… But precipitation from the storm totaled 3.25 inches…the greatest 24-hour precipitation ever recorded during the month of April. North winds gusted to 35 mph at Stapleton International Airport. Temperatures across the city were in the 30`s most of the day.

In 1974…a major spring snow storm dumped 8.5 inches of heavy wet snow at Stapleton International Airport where north wind gusts to 38 mph produced some blowing snow. The storm caused minor damage to public utilities.

In 1986…strong winds howled across metro Denver. Boulder reported a peak gust of 79 mph. Wind gusts of 55 to 60 mph were common across all of metro Denver. There were power outages. The wind toppled a brick wall under construction in Arvada…and also damaged luxury sky boxes under construction atop Mile High Stadium in Denver. Road signs in Arvada were damaged. West winds gusted to 56 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2014…a storm system brought heavy snow to areas in and near the Front Range foothills. Storm totals included: 13 inches near Conifer; 12.5 inches near Ward; 11.5 inches near Nederland; 10 inches near Allenspark…Golden and Gold Hill; with 8.5 inches at Roxborough State Park.

13-14

In 1968…high winds struck Boulder. Sustained winds of 50 mph with gusts as high as 102 mph were recorded at the National Center for Atmospheric Research…while in downtown Boulder winds peaked to 73 mph. The winds damaged a building under construction and some homes in south Boulder. Northwest winds gusted to 35 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 13th.

In 1996…a potent spring storm strengthened just east of Denver. Blizzard conditions developed over eastern Adams and eastern Arapahoe counties. Strong northerly winds ranging from 25 to 50 mph…cold temperatures… And heavy snowfall combined to create very hazardous conditions. The strong winds whipped snow in drifts 3 to 4 feet high. High winds and heavy wet snow downed power lines and caused traffic accidents. Some roads were closed. Snowfall totaled 15 inches at Strasburg…while only 2.1 inches of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North winds gusted to 40 mph at Denver International Airport on the 13th.

In 2011…a potent spring snowstorm brought heavy snow to Front Range mountains and foothills. Storm totals included: 16.5 inches near Blackhawk; 16 inches at Nederland; 15.5 inches at Coal Creek Canyon and 5 miles northeast of Ward; 15 inches at Allenspark; 12.5 inches… 5 miles northwest of Idaho Springs; 12 inches at Echo Mountain ski area; and 10.5 inches near Georgetown.

13-15

In 1945…heavy snowfall totaled 9.8 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow…4.8 inches… Fell on the 14th. Snow fell for a total of 53 consecutive hours. This was the second big snow in less than 2 weeks. The air mass was very cold for April. High temperatures of 21 degrees on the 14th and 32 degrees on the 15th were record low maximums for those dates.

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.

14

In 1872…high winds damaged buildings in the city. At 9:00 am west winds commenced to blow a perfect gale… Averaging 40 mph sustained until 9:00 pm.

In 1904…west winds sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 48 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 74 degrees.

In 1918…a thunderstorm produced hail that covered the ground to a depth of 1/2 inch. The stones varied in size from small shot to a cherry stone. Rain and melted hail totaled 0.70 inch. There was no reported damage.

In 1935…northeast winds sustained to 30 mph caused a dust storm across the city. The visibility was greatly reduced by blowing dense dust.

In 1970…strong winds caused mostly light but widespread damage to trees…roofs…power lines… And other property across the northeastern Colorado plains. Wind gusts of 45 to 60 mph were common. Southwest wind gusts to 44 mph occurred at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1995…high winds spread from the foothills onto the plains. West winds gusted between 70 and 90 mph in the foothills and 50 to 70 mph on the plains. West winds were clocked to 51 mph at Denver International Airport. Most of the significant wind damage occurred north and east of metro Denver.

14-15

In 1873…north winds blew a gale during the afternoon on both days. Winds were brisk throughout each day.

In 1902…snowfall totaled 6.0 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow melted as it fell. Northeast winds were sustained to 20 mph.

In 1910…strong winds occurred on both days. Northeast winds were sustained to 52 mph on the 14th. North winds were sustained to 44 mph on the 15th.

In 1921…heavy snowfall and strong winds produced near- blizzard conditions in the city. Snowfall totaled 10.0 inches. Strong north winds sustained to 48 mph with gusts to 54 mph on the 15th produced drifts to several feet in depth. The heavy wet snow caused extensive damage to trees…utility poles… And buildings. Precipitation from the storm was 1.73 inches. Very heavy snow also fell in the foothills. At Silver Lake…in the mountains west of Boulder…95 inches of snow fell in 32.5 hours on the 14th and 15th.

In 1935…dense dust…apparently behind a dry cold front… Enveloped the city at 1:00 pm on the 14th and persisted through the night. The dust blew into the city on northeast winds sustained to 30 mph with gusts to 32 mph. By mid-morning on the 15th…the dust had become light and continued as such into the evening. North winds were sustained to only 13 mph on the 15th.

In 1999…a spring storm dumped heavy snow over portions of metro Denver. Nearly 2 feet of snow fell in the foothills with half a foot to a foot over western and southern suburbs. The heavy snow alleviated drought conditions and associated high fire danger that prevailed during much of the winter season. Snowfall totals included: 22 inches in Coal Creek Canyon…20 inches at Wondervu… 19 inches at Genesee…17 inches near Evergreen and Nederland and at Idaho Springs and tiny town…14 inches at Georgetown… 13 inches at Morrison…10 inches near Sedalia…9 inches in south Boulder… 8 inches at Highlands Ranch and Wheat Ridge…and 7 inches at Littleton and Parker. Only 3.4 inches of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North- northwest winds gusted to 41 mph on the 15th at Denver International Airport.

15

In 1874…light snow developed around daybreak and became moderate to heavy by mid-morning and continued into the early evening. While most of the snow melted as it fell… Total precipitation from the melted snow was 0.95 inch. This would make the estimated snowfall nearly 10 inches.

In 1963…high winds were widespread across metro Denver. West winds gusted to 63 mph in Denver at Stapleton Airport with sustained winds of 35 mph and gusts to 70 mph in downtown Boulder. The winds caused extensive damage to buildings and other property. Visibility was briefly reduced to 1/2 mile in blowing dust at Stapleton Airport.

In 1998…another spring storm brought heavy snow to the foothills. Thirty to 40 vehicles were involved in accidents along I-70 near Georgetown. The combination of poor visibilities…slick roads… And careless drivers led to the multi-car pileups. Only minor injuries were reported. The accidents forced the closure of all of I-70`s eastbound lanes. Snowfall totals included 12 inches at Genesee and 10 inches at Aspen Springs…Chief Hosa…Georgetown…near Morrison… And on North Turkey Creek. Only 0.1 inch of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. East winds gusted to 30 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2002…unseasonable warm weather resulted in two records being broken. The high temperature of 84 degrees was a record maximum for the date. The low temperature of 57 degrees was a record high minimum for the date.

15-16

In 1900…heavy rainfall totaled 2.33 inches. A trace of snow was mixed with the rain at times.

In 1950…thunderstorms and heavy rain behind a cold front produced 2.13 inches of rain in 24 hours at Stapleton Airport.

In 2003…a fast moving pacific storm system moved across Colorado allowing strong winds to develop over the eastern foothills and metro Denver. Northwest winds gusted to 59 mph at Denver International Airport late in the evening of the 15th.

In 2016…1.22 inches of precipitation was measured at Denver International Airport which was the greatest daily amount for the month.

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

In 1960…a wind storm struck all of metro Denver. Estimated wind gusts up to 80 mph were registered in Boulder. At Stapleton Airport sustained west-northwest winds over 50 mph with gusts as high as 70 mph produced some blowing dust. The high winds damaged buildings…power and telephone lines…and signs. Five people were injured in metro Denver as a result of the wind storm. Blowing dust reduced visibility at times. The winds were strong and gusty for most of the day.

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.
18-19 in 1884…a major storm dumped 13.8 inches of snowfall on downtown Denver. Most of the snow…10.0 inches… Fell on the 18th. Light rain on the early morning of the 18th changed to heavy snow at 8:00 am and became light after 2:00 pm but continued until 4:00 am on the 19th. The snow melted nearly as fast as it fell. There were only 3 inches on the ground early on the morning of the 19th.

In 1941…heavy snowfall totaled 8.4 inches over downtown Denver. Northeast winds were sustained to 17 mph.

In 1993…sporadic high winds occurred across metro Denver. Significant wind gusts included 97 mph at Rollinsville… 80 mph in southwest Boulder…and 55 mph at Stapleton International Airport. The strong winds snapped a pine tree top…about 15 feet long and 8 inches in diameter… Which crashed through the roof of a church in Evergreen…causing one thousand dollars in damage. Wind gusts of 50 to 60 mph caused structural damage to 3 homes under construction in Broomfield. Northwest winds gusted to 55 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1995…the second spring storm of the month dumped heavy snow in the foothills. The upslope flow along with areas of thunder snow dropped 6 to 12 inches of snow in the foothills west of Denver and Boulder. Snowfall totaled 4.6 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport…but most of the snow melted as it fell. East winds gusted to 29 mph at Denver International Airport on the 18th.

18-20

In 1966…sub-freezing temperatures caused thousands of dollars in damage to fruit trees across metro Denver. Minimum temperatures were in the teens each morning and failed to reach above freezing on the 19th. The low temperature of 13 on the 20th set a new record minimum for the date. Snowfall totaled 5.7 inches at Stapleton International Airport during the period.

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