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April 25 to May 1: This week in Denver weather history

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 5:03am MDT

This Week in Denver Weather History

Snow continues to be a big part of the weather we can expect this time of year as we peer back in the Denver weather history books.  However, we also see more and more occurrences of spring severe weather including hail, damaging winds, dangerous lightning and even a tornado.


In 1935…heavy wet snow fell across metro Denver.  The storm started as rain on the 23rd and changed to snow early on the morning of the 24th.  There was continuous precipitation for a period of 48 hours.  Snowfall totaled 19.0 inches over the city and 20.0 inches at Denver municipal airport.  However… Due to warm temperatures in the 30’s…much of the snow melted as it fell and did not seriously disrupt traffic. The greatest snow accumulation on the ground downtown was 12 inches…but it quickly melted.  The highest sustained wind speed recorded during the storm was 28 mph from the north on the 23rd.  The storm contained 3.16 inches of moisture.


In 1890…rain changed to snow and totaled 7.0 inches in downtown Denver.

In 1931…heavy snowfall totaled 9.3 inches over downtown Denver.  Winds were light during the storm.

In 1996…the second wind storm in less than a week developed east of the continental divide and spread over metro Denver.  High winds gusted from 60 to 90 mph.  Several power lines and poles were downed.  Some of the stronger wind gusts included:  91 mph atop Squaw Mountain west of Denver…90 mph atop Table Mesa near Boulder…85 mph in Golden Gate Canyon…and 82 mph at Wondervu.  Northwest winds gusted to 41 mph at Denver International Airport on the 25th.


In 1924…post-frontal rain changed to snow…which became heavy and totaled 10.2 inches over downtown Denver.  The greatest amount of snow on the ground was 6.0 inches on the 25th due to melting.  North winds were sustained to 38 mph with gusts to 42 mph on the 24th.


In 1902…northeast winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts to 48 mph.

In 1908…north winds were sustained to 40 mph behind an apparent cold front.  Snowfall was 0.5 inch.

In 1928…rain changed to snow…which became heavy and totaled 7.4 inches in downtown Denver.  Due to melting…the maximum snow depth on the ground was 4.0 inches at 6:00 pm.  This was the last snow of the season.  Southeast winds were sustained to 19 mph with gusts to 20 mph.

In 1976…a south wind gust to 54 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.  The high winds toppled a 70-foot high cottonwood tree onto the rear of house and a neighboring residence in central Denver.

In 1989…lightning caused heavy damage to a radio transmitter in Parker…knocking a Denver area radio station off the air for 3 hours.

In 1994…weather spotters reported dime-size hail at the intersection of U.S. Highway 287 and C470 in Jefferson County.  Marble-size hail covered the ground near Golden to a depth of 1 inch.  Pea-size hail was reported covering the ground to a depth of 3 inches in Arvada.

In 2016…a severe thunderstorm produced hail up to one inch in diameter near Castle Rock.


In 1985…a spring storm brought much rain and snow to metro Denver.  The foothills were buried with 15 inches of snow at conifer and 12 inches at Evergreen.  At lower elevations… An inch or more of rain fell in Denver and Boulder.  The heavy precipitation caused brief power outages in the Denver area.  Precipitation totaled 1.06 inches at Stapleton International Airport…including only 0.7 inch of snowfall.


In 1877…snow ended around 7:00 am on the morning of the 27th… After falling continuously for 48 hours and totaling an estimated 13 inches in the city.  The storm…likely accompanied by strong winds…caused trains to be delayed for 2 to 3 days.  One or two roofs of small buildings were crushed by the weight of the snow…and many tree branches were broken in the city.  There were a number of reports of livestock losses.  One stockman lost 17 horses and several cattle from the snow and cold.  Precipitation totaled 1.30 inches from the storm.


In 1965…while only 0.40 inch of rain fell at Stapleton International Airport…some communities in the foothills west of Denver reported over 30 inches of snow from the storm.

In 1972…a spring snow storm accompanied by thunder dumped 15.8 inches of heavy wet snow on metro Denver.  Strong northwest winds gusting to 35 mph produced blowing snow. The storm was quite intense and greatly hampered travel. High winds caused drifts 10 to 15 feet deep in some areas… Blocking roads and stranding hundreds of motorists.  An estimated 500 to 600 people were stranded in the Castle Rock area.  Rescue service was provided by heavy army equipment from Fort Carson.  Power lines were downed…power poles were toppled…and a number of steel towers carrying high voltage power lines were downed.  Some areas northeast of Denver were without power for a week.  A large number of cattle and sheep were killed by the storm.  The greatest snow depth on the ground at Stapleton International Airport was 12 inches.  Warm temperatures following the storm quickly melted the snow.

In 1995…the third major snow storm of the month dumped heavy snow in and near the Front Range foothills.  Six to 12 inches of heavy wet snow fell in the western metro suburbs with the heaviest amounts above 6 thousand feet.  Both Boulder and Golden measured 10 inches of snow.  Only 2.4 inches of snowfall were measured at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.  North winds gusted 28 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 1998…the last in a series of April storms blanketed the foothills with heavy snow.  Snowfall amounts included:  17 inches near Blackhawk…15 inches at Idaho Springs…14 inches at Georgetown…11 inches near Conifer and Morrison. Only a trace of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.  North winds gusted to 28 mph at Denver International Airport.


In 1906…rain changed to heavy snow overnight and totaled 7.0 inches over downtown Denver.  North winds were sustained to 16 mph on both days.  Precipitation totaled 2.16 inches.

In 1932…the temperature remained below freezing for more than 30 consecutive hours.  For about 4 of those hours the temperature hovered around 24 to 25 degrees.  At this time some early cherry trees were in bloom and apple and lilac blossoms were beginning to open.  The leaves of many plants were partly unfurled and vegetation in general was correspondingly advanced due to the warm weather from the 11th to the 22nd.  However…there was little apparent injury to foliage and blossoms…but some of the early cherry and apple blossoms were injured.  Rain changed to snow on the 26th and continued intermittently through the 27th.  Snowfall totaled only 2.0 inches and northeast winds gusted to 22 mph on the 26th.

In 1964…strong winds caused damage to buildings…trees…and power lines.  Sustained winds of 37 mph with gusts of 50 to 60 mph were recorded in metro Denver.  West-northwest winds gusted to 44 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 26th.


In 1955…west winds at 43 mph with gusts as high as 55 mph were recorded at Stapleton Airport where blowing dust briefly reduced the visibility to 3/8 mile.

In 1966…a northwest wind gust to 51 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.


In 1919…rainfall totaled 2.03 inches for the two days… Along with a trace of snowfall.  Northwest winds were sustained to 24 mph with gusts to 26 mph on the 27th.

In 1975…high winds gusting to 85 mph severely damaged a mobile home in Boulder and caused other minor damage. West winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 28th.

In 1996…heavy snow fell over portions of the Front Range foothills west of Denver.  Snowfall amounts ranged from 4 to 7 inches.  Only 0.3 inch of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.  North winds gusted to 41 mph at Denver International Airport on the 27th.


In 1894…southwest winds were sustained to 35 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph.

In 1896…apparent post-frontal Bora winds from the northwest were sustained to 43 mph with gusts as high as 56 mph. Rainfall totaled 0.22 inch.

In 1990…high winds raked the northeastern plains and eastern foothills from Boulder north.  Wind gusts to 70 mph were recorded in Boulder.  West winds gusted to 41 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2001…a 21-year-old man was struck by lightning along the shoulder of I-225 near Parker road.  His brother’s car had broken down and he stopped to help.  The bolt briefly stopped the man’s heart and caused the right side of his body to go numb.

In 2003…severe thunderstorms produced large hail across southern metro Denver.  Hail to 1 3/4 inches in diameter fell in Englewood and 2 miles east of centennial airport. Hail as large as 1 1/2 inches in diameter fell in Aurora near Cherry Creek.  Other large hail reports included 1 inch hail near Bennett…and 7/8 inch hail in greenwood village and at centennial airport.


In 1950…snowfall totaled 6.3 inches at Stapleton Airport…but only 3.5 inches over downtown Denver.

In 1960…heavy snow fell at Stapleton Airport where 8.6 inches of snow were measured.  North winds gusted to 38 mph.  Most of the snow…6.9 inches…fell on the 29th.

In 2017…a late spring storm brought heavy snow to areas in and near the Front Range Foothills and Palmer Divide. Storm totals included: 25 inches near Genesee…19 inches at Evergreen…18 inches near Nederland…16.5 inches near Idledale…16 inches near Pinecliffe…15 inches at Kittredge…14 inches at Ken Caryl and near Roxborough State Park…12.5 inches near Elizabeth…12 inches in Eldorado Springs…11 inches near Brookvale and 12 miles northwest of Golden…with 10.5 inches at Lone Tree. Heavier snow occurred over the western and southern suburbs of Denver. Storm totals included: 10 inches in Littleton…8 inches at Centennial…3 miles southeast of Denver and near Greenwood Village…7 inches near Wheat Ridge…6 inches in Arvada and Castle Pines…with 5 inches in Boulder. Across the northern part of Denver…lesser amounts of 1 to 4 inches were reported. At Denver International Airport…2.4 inches of snowfall was observed.


In 1898…apparent thunderstorm winds were sustained from the southwest to 58 mph with gusts to 66 mph.

In 1909…north winds were sustained to 44 mph behind an apparent cold front.  These were the strongest measured winds of the month that year.

In 1962…heavy snowfall totaled 6.4 inches at Stapleton Airport where northeast winds gusted to only 17 mph. Snow fell all day…but the most on the ground was only 1 inch due to melting.

In 1991…two men were struck by lightning while golfing in cherry hills just south of Denver.  The two received only minor burns.  Shortly afterward…lightning struck a home in cherry hills village several times…leaving numerous holes in the roof.  No injuries were reported.

In 1993…localized strong winds occurred at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield where gusts to 63 mph were recorded. The strong winds were the result of a probable microburst.

In 2000…several severe thunderstorms producing large hail and destructive winds rumbled across northern metro Denver. Thunderstorm wind gusts reached 81 mph near Hudson with hail as large as 3/4 inch in diameter at Longmont.  Several homes and vehicles sustained damage.  The strong winds uprooted trees and downed utility poles…causing scattered outages.  Lightning sparked a house fire in Boulder.  The fire damaged a portion of the roof and a bedroom on the third floor.  Thunderstorm winds gusted to 53 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2003…lightning struck a chimney at a residence in Hiwan in Evergreen…sending stones flying as far as 150 feet. Electrical equipment in some nearby homes also failed. Damage to the residence…in addition to electrical equipment…was estimated at 100 thousand dollars. Severe thunderstorms produced large hail to 1 inch in diameter near Hudson and Sedalia and to 3/4 inch near Parker.  Hail as large as 1 3/4 inches was measured 9 miles north of Sedalia.

In 2014…high winds occured east of Interstate 25. Peak wind gusts included: 71 mph just north of Strasburg; 68 mph at Denver International Airport; 62 mph near Elizabeth; 58 mph at Front Range Airport in Watkins and 11 miles east of Parker.


In 1964…several weeks of dry weather and windy conditions across the great plains to the east caused noticeable suspended dust to invade metro Denver.  At Stapleton International Airport east winds gusted to 28 mph and visibility was reduced to 5 miles.

In 1989…a late season snowstorm dropped 2 to 4 inches of snow across metro Denver with 6 to 12 inches in the foothills.  Snowfall totaled 3.9 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 23 mph and the greatest snow depth on the ground was 2 inches due to melting.

In 1991…a Pacific storm dumped heavy wet snow across metro Denver.  The foothills were hit the hardest where snowfall amounts ranged from 16 inches at Evergreen to 5 inches at Idaho Springs.  Lower elevations of metro Denver received 5 to 9 inches of snowfall with 5 inches in Boulder and 7.0 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 25 mph.  The weight of the snow caused power lines to fall and tree limbs to snap…producing power outages in parts of Denver…Aurora…and Westminster.

In 1999…heavy snow fell overnight in the foothills above 7500 feet elevation.  Snowfall totals included:  13 inches near Rollinsville…10 inches near Evergreen…8 inches at Blackhawk and Nederland…and 7 inches at Conifer.  Only rain fell across the city with 2.13 inches recorded at Denver International Airport.


In 1954…a major storm dumped 10.1 inches of snowfall at Stapleton Airport.  Most of the snow…7.5 inches…fell on the 29th and 30th.  The maximum snow depth on the ground was 5 inches on the 30th due to melting.  No strong winds accompanied the storm.


In 1896…northwest winds were sustained to 55 mph with gusts as high as 64 mph in the city.

In 1960…the minimum temperature dipped to 22 degrees at Stapleton Airport.  The sub-freezing cold damaged fruit trees and some other crops in the area.

In 1967…west winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport.  Winds were strong and gusty across all of metro Denver.

In 1972…hail 1/2 to 3/4 inches in diameter fell at Stapleton International Airport.  Northwest winds gusted to 35 mph.

In 1980…a cold air funnel touched down several times near Louisville.

In 1983…mothball-size hail fell in Wheat Ridge.

In 1992…the all-time highest recorded temperature in April… 90 degrees…occurred.  This is also the earliest 90 degree reading for the season.  In addition…the temperature dipped to a low of only 56 degrees…setting a record high minimum for the date.

In 1995…hail…up to 3/4 inch in diameter…fell at Denver International Airport.  The hail was soft…lasted for only 8 to 10 minutes…and caused no damage.

In 2002…drought conditions started to have an effect on greater metro Denver.  April…normally the third snowiest month of the year in Denver averaging just over 9 inches of snow…ended with only a trace of snow…ranking the month… Along with previous Aprils…the 2nd least snowiest on record.  The month ended with only 0.23 inch of liquid precipitation making the month the 3rd driest on record. Mountain snowpack was less than half of normal for this time of year.  A statewide drought emergency was declared by the governor.

In 2003…a small tornado touched down 10 miles east of Hudson… But did no damage.  Hail as large as 3/4 inch in diameter fell in Aurora near Cherry Creek.

In 2004…post-frontal upslope flow produced light snowfall across metro Denver.  Snowfall was 4.0 inches at Denver Stapleton…while the temperature hovered in the lower 30’s all day.  The high temperature was only 33 degrees…a record low maximum for the date.  The low temperature of 30 degrees was not a record.  North winds gusted to 20 mph at Denver International Airport.


In 1980…to the west of Denver…heavy rain changing to snow buried the foothills above 7 thousand feet in 4 to 8 inches of snow.  Precipitation in the foothills ranged from 1 to 3 inches…which caused some local flooding.  Rain fell at lower elevations.  Rainfall at Stapleton International Airport totaled 1.05 inches from the storm.


In 1902…northwest winds were sustained to 68 mph with gusts as high as 74 mph in the city during the early morning.  The apparent very strong Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 78 degrees.

In 1912…south winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts as high as 58 mph.  South to southwest winds were strong all afternoon.

In 1935…a moderate duststorm blew into the city at around 2:00 pm on northwest winds sustained to 17 mph with gusts to 19 mph.  Later in the afternoon…the dust receded to the east in advance of a rainstorm from the west.

In 1988…very strong winds behind a vigorous cold front produced a blinding dust storm that closed I-70 east of Denver.  Northeast winds over metro Denver peaked to 45 mph at Stapleton International Airport…but only kicked up some blowing dust.  The temperature plunged from a high of 76 degrees at midday to 36 degrees at midnight as light rain changed to light snow.

In 1991…3/4 inch diameter hail fell at Standley Lake in northwest metro Denver.

In 1999…heavy snow developed in the foothills above 7 thousand feet elevation.  Snow totals included: 10 inches at Rollinsville…7 inches near Conifer…and 6 inches atop Crow Hill.  Rain fell across metro Denver.

In 2015…a teenager was critically injured when he struck by lightning near Town Center Mall in Aurora. He was standing on a hill in an open field. A severe thunderstorm produced hail up to quarter size near Evergreen.


In 1903…post-frontal rain changed to light snow overnight… But totaled only 2.0 inches.  This was the last snow of the season.  Northeast winds were sustained to 45 mph with gusts to 48 mph on the 1st.


In 1898…snowfall totaled 15.5 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow…6.2 inches…fell on the 3rd.  Most of the snow melted as it fell.  The greatest snow depth on the ground was only 2.5 inches on the 3rd at 8:00 pm. This was the only snowfall during the month.  Northeast winds were sustained to 22 mph on the 1st.

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