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April 28 to May 4: This Week in Denver Weather History

Monday, April 29th, 2019 6:00am MDT
This week in Denver weather history

April 28 to May 4: This Week in Denver Weather History

As we begin to enter the month of May, Denver’s weather starts to make the move toward spring severe weather and snow becomes less common. Looking back at this week in Denver weather history, there has been some snow but lightning and hail are more typical of the types of extreme weather we would expect to see.

From the National Weather Service:

27-28

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.

28

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.

28-29

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.

29

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.

29-30

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.

29-2

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.

30

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.

30-1

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.

1

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.

1-2

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.

1-5

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.

2

In 1874…strong winds upset two railroad passenger coaches near Georgetown. The baggage was retrieved and placed in a heavy…large wagon. The passengers then seated themselves on top of the baggage. Another strong gust of wind upset the wagon. The driver’s shoulder was dislocated…and a passenger’s leg was badly injured. In Denver…northwest winds increased and blew in gusts and heavy winds were observed on the ridge tops. On the Kansas Pacific R.R. east of Denver…the wind was so strong that it blew the train back several lengths…which caused the train to be about 7 hours late arriving in the city.

In 1901…south winds were sustained to 50 mph with gusts to 60 mph from an apparent thunderstorm with hail.

In 1944…snowfall of 8.3 inches was accompanied by a thunderstorm. This was the last snowfall of the season and the only snow of the month. Northwest winds were sustained to 25 mph.

In 1955…southwest winds at speeds of 37 mph with gusts as high as 58 mph caused some blowing dust at Stapleton Airport.

In 1983…1 inch diameter hail fell a few miles south of Bennett.

In 1984…3/4 inch diameter hail fell in Northglenn.

In 1988…I-70 east of Denver was closed for the second straight day…this time due to snow and blowing snow producing up to 2 foot drifts. While only 2 to 4 inches of snow fell across metro Denver…Strasburg…just east of Denver…received a foot of snow. North winds peaked to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport where snowfall totaled only 1.3 inches.

In 1995…lightning struck a house in Westminster sparking an attic fire.

In 2015…a sudden wind gust associated with a dissipating thunderstorm caught some flags attached to a lift and tipped it. Two men were injured when a lift at Civic Center Park in Denver fell on them during Cinco de Mayo festivities. Both men suffered from head injuries…one was in serious condition.

2-3

In 1979…heavy rain changed to snow on the 2nd. Snowfall totaled 3.9 inches at Stapleton International Airport… Where northwest winds gusted to 26 mph. The greatest depth of snow on the ground was only 1 inch at midday on the 2nd due to melting. Total precipitation for the 2 days was 1.65 inches.

2-4

In 1987…a slow moving storm brought rain…wind…and snow to metro Denver. Rainfall totaled 1.04 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 48 mph on the 3rd. The foothills received 5 to 10 inches of snow.

2-5

In 2001…a very slow moving pacific storm system became parked near the four corners region…which allowed heavy snow to develop above 6500 feet in the foothills with a mix of rain and snow over lower elevations of metro Denver. Snowfall totals included: 21 inches atop Crow Hill and at Idaho Springs; 19 inches near Blackhawk; and 18 inches in Coal Creek Canyon…Genesee…and 11 miles southwest of Morrison. Snowfall totaled 6.2 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. Precipitation (rain and melted snow) totaled 2.09 inches at Denver International Airport where north winds gusted to 30 mph on the 2nd.

3

In 1898…heavy snowfall of 6.2 inches fell over downtown Denver. Most of the snow melted as it fell. The greatest snow depth on the ground was 2.5 inches during the evening.

In 1907…the all-time lowest recorded temperature in the month of May…19 degrees…occurred.

In 1925…an apparent microburst produced sustained northeast winds to 44 mph with gusts to 52 mph. Rainfall was only 0.01 inch in downtown Denver.

In 1981…lightning struck 9 golfers at the south suburban golf course. None were injured seriously.

In 1983…hail 1 1/2 inches in diameter fell at Green Mountain west of Lakewood…with 3/4 inch stones reported in Lakewood.

In 1986…a thunderstorm wind gust to 51 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

3-5

In 1908…rain changed to snow on the evening of the 3rd and continued through the early evening of the 5th. Snowfall totaled 10.0 inches over downtown Denver. This was the last measurable snow of the season. Precipitation totaled 1.51 inches. North winds were sustained to 23 mph on the 3rd…33 mph on the 4th…and 21 mph on the 5th. Three temperature records were set. High temperatures of 30 degrees on the 4th and 38 degrees on the 5th were record low maximum temperatures for the dates. The reading on the 4th was also the all-time record low maximum for the month of May.

In 2007…a slow moving pacific storm system…from the desert southwest…brought a period of unsettled weather to the region. During the 3-day period…locally heavy snow was reported over parts of the Front Range foothills. Storm totals included: 15 inches near Conifer…14.5 inches west of Jamestown…13.5 inches; 6 miles southwest of Evergreen…and 12.5 inches at pine junction. Severe thunderstorms…producing large hail…up to one inch in diameter were observed in the vicinity of Boulder and Hudson. Lightning struck a residence in Jefferson County. The roof was hit…causing the attic to catch fire. At Denver International Airport…lightning struck a United Airlines jet as it was pushing away from the gate. The passengers were taken off the jet and put on another plane.

4

In 1893…northwest winds were sustained to 42 mph.

In 1971…a funnel cloud was sighted 10 miles southwest of Boulder. Hail stones to 1 inch in diameter fell in southeast Denver…but caused only minor damage.

In 2006…a severe thunderstorm produced hail to 1.00 inch in diameter in Aurora near Cheery Creek Reservoir.

In 2010…high winds downed trees and power lines across parts of the Front Range foothills and urban corridor. Downed power lines sparked a 12-acre wildfire near Conifer. In Boulder…Longmont and Louisville…the wind damaged roofs and broke windows and skylights. Peak wind gusts included: 75 mph in northwest Longmont…71 mph at the national wind technology center and 4 miles south- southwest of superior…61 mph at Broomfield and 56 mph in Erie. At Denver International Airport…a peak wind gust to 46 mph was observed.

4-5

In 1986…high winds buffeted the foothills. Wind speeds of 60 to 75 mph were recorded in Boulder. At Stapleton International Airport…west winds gusted to 45 mph on the 4th and to 40 mph on the 5th.

In 2000…a brief warm spell resulted in setting two daily high temperature records. The temperature climbed to highs of 87 degrees on the 4th and 89 degrees on the 5th.

4-8

In 1969…heavy rains caused flooding on Boulder Creek in Boulder…which resulted in one death on the 7th. Flooding also occurred on Bear Creek in Sheridan and on the South Platte River in Denver. Rain over most of the eastern foothills started late on the 4th and continued with only brief interruptions in many areas until the morning of the 8th. Very high rates of rainfall occurred on the 6th and 7th with the greatest intensities in a band along the foothills from about 25 miles southwest of Denver northward to Estes Park. Storm totals by both official and unofficial measurements exceeded 10 inches over much of this area and were over 12 inches in some localities. Heavy snow fell in the higher mountains and in the foothills later in the period. The saturation of the soil resulted in numerous rock and landslides…and the heavy run-off caused severe damage along many streams and flooding on the South Platte River. Many foothill communities were isolated as highways were blocked and communications disrupted. Roads were severely damaged over a wide area…and a large number of bridges washed out. Many roads were closed due to the danger from falling rocks. A building in Georgetown collapsed from the weight of heavy wet snow. In Boulder…a man drowned when caught by the flooding waters of Boulder Creek…and a patrolman was injured. Rainfall totaled 7.60 inches in Boulder with 9.34 inches recorded at the public service company electric plant in Boulder Canyon. In Morrison…rainfall totaled 11.27 inches in 4 days. Heavy rainfall totaled 4.68 inches at Stapleton International Airport over 3 days from the 5th through the 7th. Rainfall of 3.14 inches was recorded in 24 hours on the 6th and 7th. Downstream flooding continued along the South Platte River until the 12th when the flood crest reached the Nebraska line.

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