70°F
Thornton, Colorado, USA
UpdatedSun, 05-Apr-2020 1:55pm MDT 
 

Navigation

ThorntonWeather.com on Twitter

ThorntonWeather.com on Facebook

 

Weather Geek Stuff - weathergeekstuff.com

Rocky Mountain Weather Network

Tony's Takes Photography



December 29 to January 4: This Week in Denver Weather History

Sunday, December 29th, 2019 4:42am MDT

This Week in Denver Weather History

The end of the year and beginning of the next can be an eventful period in terms of weather in the Denver metro area. Looking back at this week in Denver weather history there are certainly periods of cold and snow but perhaps most notable are the number of damaging wind events.

From the National Weather Service:

25-31

In 1980…temperatures were unusually warm during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. High temperatures for the week ranged from the mid-50’s to the mid-70’s. Four temperature records were set. Record highs occurred on the 26th with 68 degrees…the 27th with 75 degrees…and the 30th with 71 degrees. A record high minimum temperature of 41 degrees occurred on the 27th.

27-29

In 1983…a second surge of bitter cold air in less than a week was less intense. Record breaking low temperatures of 12 degrees below zero on the 28th and 15 degrees below zero on the 29th were accompanied by 3.7 inches of snowfall and northeast winds gusting to 23 mph.

28-29

In 1906…a trace of snow fell on both days…which along with a trace of snow on the 5th…was the only snow of the month…ranking the month the second least snowiest December on record.

In 1970…wind gusts to 87 mph were recorded at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. Winds gusted to only 46 mph in downtown Boulder. Damage was minor.

In 2006…while metro Denver residents were still digging out from the heavy snowfall and blizzard that occurred on December 20-21…the second major winter storm in a week buried the city and the eastern foothills again in more deep snow. Heavy snowfall ranged from 1 to 2 1/2 feet in the foothills and from 6 to 18 inches across the city. Another slow moving storm system centered over the Texas panhandle produced deep upslope flow over the high plains and against the Front Range mountains. The storm produced blizzard conditions over the plains mainly south of Interstate 76. Interstate 70 as well as other roads and highways was closed from Denver to the Kansas line due to snow and blizzard conditions. Greyhound was forced to cancel all bus trips from Denver. The heaviest snow fell in and near the foothills and south of Denver over the palmer divide…where north winds sustained at speeds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph piled the snow into drifts 4 to 14 feet deep. In the city…the heavy snowfall persisted for a total of 29 hours. Snowfall totals across metro Denver included: 17.5 inches at Ken Caryl; 15 inches 3 miles south-southeast of Morrison; 14 inches in Boulder and lone tree; 12 inches in Castle Rock and Highlands Ranch; 11 inches in Wheat Ridge; 10.5 inches in Littleton; 10 inches in Arvada…Broomfield…and Louviers; and 8.5 inches in Lakewood and Thornton. Officially…snowfall totaled 8.0 inches at Denver Stapleton. North winds sustained to 25 mph with gusts to 32 mph produced some blowing snow at Denver International Airport. In the city…this second storm increased the total snowfall for the month to 29.4 inches…making the month the third snowiest on record. In the foothills the snow fell at a rate of 3 to 4 inches an hour at times. Total snowfall in the foothills included: 30 inches near Genesee; 29.5 inches 12 miles northwest of Golden; 25 inches in Evergreen and near Bergen Park; 24 inches near Conifer; 23.5 inches 3 miles southwest of Golden and near Gold Hill; 23 inches near Jamestown; 22.5 inches in Rollinsville; 19.5 inches in Aspen Springs; 19 inches near Blackhawk; 18.5 inches at Nederland; 16 inches in Indian Hills…at Intercanyon…and in Eldora; 15.5 inches at Echo Lake; and 12 inches near Ralston Reservoir. The total cost of snow removal just at Denver International Airport from this storm and the previous storm was in tens of millions of dollars. The airport estimated up to 6.7 million dollars in extra costs for contractors…overtime…equipment…de-icing chemicals…and other expenses. The two storms cost the airport 4.6 million dollars in loss concession revenues. United Airlines reported lost revenue of over 25 million dollars from the two storms…while Frontier Airlines lost an estimated 12.1 million dollars.

29

In 1997…high winds persisted mainly in and near the foothills. Strong cross winds gusting between 60 and 70 mph blew a rental truck off the roadway in northern Jefferson County near the Coal Creek Canyon road. West winds gusted to 33 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2005…high winds were recorded across metro Denver. Peak wind gusts included 75 mph near Chatfield Reservoir and 64 mph at Denver International Airport. No damage was reported.

29-30

In 1898…heavy snowfall totaled 6.2 inches in downtown Denver. Northeast winds were sustained to 35 mph with gusts to 40 mph on the 29th.

In 1912…strong winds buffeted Boulder…causing hundreds of dollars damage. The winds were described as one of the most terrific in the history of the city.

In 1923…a cold wave caused temperatures to plunge 58 degrees in 24 hours. The temperature was 54 degrees at 2:00 pm on the 29th and only 4 degrees below zero at the same time on the 30th. The low temperature of 14 degrees on the 29th was the high temperature on the 30th. The low temperature on the 30th dipped to 10 degrees below zero. Light snowfall totaled only 0.7 inch. Northeast winds were sustained to 23 mph on the 29th.

In 2008…very strong Chinook winds blasted areas in and near the foothills of Boulder and Jefferson counties. The wind blew down trees and power poles…downed electrical lines and fences…and damaged homes and vehicles. Scattered power outages were reported along the Front Range. In metropolitan Denver alone…24000 Xcel customers were affected by the outages. Four planed were damaged at the Vance Brand Municipal Airport in Longmont…one was heavily damaged. Insurance companies estimated up to 7 million dollars in damage. Peak wind gusts included 87 mph at the national wind technology center…86 mph…2 miles north of Longmont; 77 mph at Erie…and 75 mph at Lafayette. On the 30th…a peak wind gust to 47 mph was recorded at Denver International Airport. .

30

In 1875…snow fell from the early morning into the early evening. While the amount of snowfall was not recorded… Precipitation from melted snow totaled 0.53 inch. Good sleighing was reported…so snowfall must have been 5 inches or more.

In 1895…northwest winds were sustained to 60 mph in the city.

In 1897…west winds sustained to 52 mph with gusts to 60 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 55 degrees.

In 1912…west winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts to 52 mph. The Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 50 degrees.

In 1928…snowfall was 0.1 inch in downtown Denver. This was the only measurable snow of the month…ranking the month the third least snowiest on record in the city.

In 1990…strong downslope winds buffeted the eastern foothills. Wind gusts to 91 mph were recorded atop Table Mesa in southwest Boulder…while a gust to 94 mph was clocked at Rollinsville. The high winds caused whiteout conditions due to blowing snow along some highways south and north of Boulder. The high winds downed power lines near the Rocky Flats plant south of Boulder.

In 1998…high winds continued to buffet areas in and near the foothills. Near Evergreen…a 100-foot-high blue spruce crashed down on the roof of a home…splitting the corrugated metal roof in half. Fortunately…the tree… Which measured 10 feet in circumference…only penetrated the home’s interior in a few places. Peak wind reports included: 90 mph at Wondervu…88 mph at the Rocky Flats test facility…83 mph near Conifer…and 82 mph atop Blue Mountain near Coal Creek Canyon. West winds gusted to 39 mph at Denver International Airport.

30-31

In 1886…heavy snow totaled 6.5 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow…4.5 inches…fell on the 31st. North winds were sustained to 18 mph.

In 1928…snowfall of 0.6 inch was the only measurable snow of the month in the city.

In 1947…post-frontal heavy snow totaled 6.3 inches over downtown Denver. Most of the snow fell on the 30th. North winds were sustained to 17 mph on the 30th.

In 1995…the foothills west of Denver received 5 to 9 inches of new snow…except for Bailey where 11 inches of snow were measured. No snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

31

In 1890…northeast winds were sustained to 46 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph behind an apparent cold front. A trace of sleet fell.

In 1899…northwest winds were sustained to 44 mph with gusts as high as 48 mph. The Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 49 degrees.

In 1927…the temperature was below zero all day. The high temperature of 3 degrees below zero was a record low maximum for the date. The low temperature was 11 degrees below zero.

In 1970…warm Chinook winds whistled through Boulder. A wind gust to 92 mph was recorded at the National Center for Atmospheric Research…while at the National Bureau of Standards…winds peaked to 70 mph. Northwest winds gusting to 30 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 60 degrees at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1993…occasional high winds occurred northwest of Denver and in the foothills. A wind gust to 85 mph was recorded at Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield. Wind gusts to 86 mph occurred on Squaw Mountain with 75 mph recorded at Rollinsville. West winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2011…an intense and fast moving storm system…produced a powerful windstorm across the Front Range. In the mountains and foothills…several locations recorded wind gusts in excess of 100 mph. Numerous trees were knocked down throughout Arapahoe National Forest. One man was killed when he was impaled by a falling tree limb while driving along U.S. Highway 36…north of Boulder. The strong winds produced extensive damage to fences and roofs… And also knocked down trees which resulted in power outages that affected 19 thousand residents along the Front Range. In the mountains and foothills…peak wind gusts included: 111 mph…3 miles south-southeast of Pinecliffe; 101 mph…1 mile west of Lyons; 94 mph atop Berthoud Pass; 86 mph…3 miles south of Golden; 84 mph… 4 miles northwest of Boulder; 81 mph in Boulder; 79 mph at Kenosha Pass…NCAR Mesa Lab and the junction of U.S. Highways 72 and 93; 77 mph at the National Wind Technology Center; and 76 mph…3 miles north-northwest of Morrison. Peak wind gusts for the urban corridor included: 80 mph…3 mile east of Cedar Point; 77 mph in north Longmont; 67 mph…10 miles east of Parker; 64 mph at Buckley AFB and Lakewood; 60 mph at Bennett and Front Range Airport in Watkins; 59 mph at Denver International Airport and Deer Trail; 58 mph at Rocky Mountain Regional Airport in Broomfield and 2 miles north-northwest of Louisville.

31-1

In 1900…low temperatures dipped to 19 degrees below zero on both days to establish daily record minimum temperatures.

In 1975…only 4.2 inches of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport…while north of Denver a major blizzard raged. All roads north of Denver into Wyoming were closed when strong winds whipped snow into 5 to 6 foot drifts. North winds gusted to 43 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 31st…causing some blowing snow. Freezing drizzle also fell on the 31st.

In 1984…heavy snow fell in the foothills with 8 inches at Boulder and 6 inches in southern and western metro Denver. Only 1.5 inches of snow fell overnight at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1991…a New Year’s Eve snow storm dumped 2 to 8 inches of snow across northeastern Colorado. Snowfall totaled 3.4 inches at Stapleton International Airport. The 1.9 inches of snow that fell on the 31st was the only measurable snowfall of the month.

In 2008…another brief period of high winds occurred in and near the foothills of Boulder and Jefferson counties. In Nederland…the strong wind snapped a blue spruce which landed on a nearby propane tank. Some roofs in the immediate area were damaged and power lines were downed; which left 126 residences without electricity for six hours. Peak wind gusts included 90 mph at the national wind technology center…and 89 mph; 6 miles northwest of Boulder. At Denver International Airport…a peak wind gust of 23 mph was measured from the southwest.

31-6

In 1973…the 31st marked the start of a protracted cold spell that extended into January of 1974 when temperatures dipped below zero on 7 consecutive days. Record daily minimum readings occurred on the 3rd and 5th when the temperature plunged to 17 degrees below zero on both days. A record low daily maximum temperature of only 4 degrees occurred on the 5th.

31-7

In 1941…a protracted cold spell through January 7…1942… Produced below zero low temperatures on 7 of the 8 days. A low temperature of 2 degrees on the 3rd prevented a string of 8 days below zero. The coldest days during the period were the 1st with a high of 2 degrees and a low of 9 degrees below zero…the 4th with a high of 2 degrees and a low of 11 degrees below zero…and the 5th with a high of 26 degrees and a low of 12 degrees below zero.

1

In 1875…the temperature fell 27 degrees between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm. The high for the day was 43 degrees…and the low was 8 degrees. Occasional snow flurries fell during the day…but not enough to cover the ground.

In 1885…dense smoke choked the skies over downtown Denver until midday.

In 1910…a rare trace of light rain fell during the morning.

In 1911…post-frontal northeast winds were sustained to 40 mph. Only a trace of snow fell in downtown Denver.

In 1952…snowfall of 0.03 inch was the only measurable snowfall of the month and resulted in 0.01 inch of melted snow…the only precipitation of the month.

In 1956…west-northwest winds gusted to 52 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1996…the first snow storm of the new year dumped more than a foot of snow in the Front Range foothills with 4 to 9 inches across the western and southern sections of metro Denver. Snow totals included: 14 inches at Conifer; 11 inches at Evergreen; and 10 inches at Eldora Ski Resort…west of Boulder. Snowfall totaled only 1.2 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North-northeast winds gusted to 30 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2003…only a trace of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. This…along with a trace of snow on the 22nd…was the only snow of the month…which equaled the 1934 record for the least snowiest January.

1-2

In 1896…warm Chinook winds on the 1st became cold bora winds on the 2nd. Southwest winds sustained to 60 mph with gusts as high as 66 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 55 degrees on the 1st. Northwest winds sustained to 54 mph with gusts to 60 mph resulted in snowfall of 0.3 inch and a high temperature of only 31 degrees on the 2nd.

1-5

In 1940…the first days of the month were characterized by a mixture of drizzle…light snow…and fog. Fog occurred on each day. On the 4th and 5th considerable glazing resulted from freezing drizzle. All objects were coated with a glaze on the windward side. This resulted in very slippery streets…which caused several minor traffic accidents. The glaze was not heavy enough to damage wires and cables.

2

In 1972…strong northwest Chinook winds in advance of a cold front gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport and caused temperatures to warm to a high of 55 degrees.

In 1986…high winds occurred along the Front Range foothills. The strongest recorded gust was 82 mph in the Table Mesa area of Boulder. Other places in Boulder reported gusts from 68 to 80 mph. West winds gusted to 43 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1989…high winds between 60 and 70 mph were recorded in Boulder and along the eastern foothills. No damage was reported. West winds gusted to 49 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

2-3

In 1971…a major storm dumped a total of 8.4 inches of snow at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 23 mph.

In 1972…a strong cold front late on the 2nd produced north wind gusts to 35 mph at Stapleton International Airport. Snow…heavy at times on the 3rd…totaled 6.4 inches as temperatures hovered only in the single digits.

In 2000…heavy snow fell over the higher terrain of the palmer divide to the south of metro Denver. Snowfall totaled 7 inches 5 miles southwest of Sedalia. Only 1.5 inches of snowfall were measured at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

2-4

In 1949…the worst blizzard in many years struck metro Denver and all of northern Colorado. The storm produced blizzard conditions with wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph all day on the 3rd when temperatures were only in the single digits. This resulted in extremely cold wind chill temperatures of 40 to 55 degrees below zero. Stapleton Airport received 13.3 inches of snow from the storm… While downtown Denver received 11.8 inches. The snow fell for 51 consecutive hours downtown. Numerous lives were lost…and livestock losses were high across the northeastern plains of Colorado where extensive airlift operations were needed to bring supplies and food to isolated communities.

2-5

In 1959…very cold temperatures…to near zero and below…caused power and gas lines…water pipes…and automatic sprinkler systems to break. In Boulder… Merchandise and furnishings were water damaged when pipes burst in a department store…flooding three floors. The temperature was below zero for 38 consecutive hours at Stapleton Airport on the 2nd…3rd…and 4th and plunged to a low of 13 degrees below zero on the 4th.

3

In 1874…heavy snowfall totaled 6 inches with 5 inches falling in 3 hours. Melted snow totaled 0.40 inches of precipitation. Northeast winds were sustained to 24 mph.

In 1887…west winds were sustained to 44 mph in the city.

In 1913…northwest Chinook winds sustained to 42 mph with gusts to 52 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 58 degrees. The low temperature was only 40 degrees.

In 1951…northwest winds gusted to 56 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1967…a strong Chinook wind reached 90 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. In downtown Boulder winds only gusted to 35 mph. Northwest winds gusting to 49 mph produced some blowing dust at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1986…winds gusted to 63 mph at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield and reached 73 mph at Echo Lake in the foothills west of Denver. West winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1994…high winds raked the eastern foothills. Wind gusts to 99 mph were recorded on Squaw Mountain…south of Idaho Springs…and gusts to 85 mph occurred at the Rocky Flats facility in northwest Jefferson County. Northwest winds gusted to 41 mph at Stapleton International Airport. No significant damage was reported.

In 1996…very strong Chinook winds gusting to 104 mph blasted the Front Range foothills and portions of metro Denver. Three people were injured in separate incidents. One man was injured when strong crosswinds toppled his moving van into oncoming traffic along Colorado 93 south of Boulder. Two other people received minor injuries from flying debris. At the Rocky Flats Environmental Test Facility…eleven hazardous waste storage facilities received at least 100 thousand dollars in damage. In addition…several power lines were downed leaving 3 thousand homes and stores without power. Hundreds of car windows were shattered…and several signs were toppled from buildings. Some of the strongest wind gusts included: 104 mph at Boulder municipal airport…98 mph in south Boulder…96 mph at Jefferson County Airport…94 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research southwest of Boulder…91 mph at the Rocky Flats Environmental Test Facility…and 90 mph at Wondervu southwest of Boulder. West-northwest winds gusted to only 39 mph at Denver International Airport where the Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 52 degrees.

In 2004…bands of heavy snow fell across metro Denver. Snowfall totals included 6.5 inches in Broomfield and 6 inches in Westminster…Arvada…and near Hudson. Only 0.5 inch of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. More snow fell in the foothills with 9 inches recorded near Jamestown. Southeast winds gusted to 25 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2006…locally high winds developed in northern Jefferson County over and near Rocky Flats. Peak wind gusts from 75 to 91 mph were recorded during the afternoon. A semi-trailer truck was blown onto its side on State Highway 93 atop Rocky Flats. Strong winds also spread across metro Denver. West winds gusted to 44 mph at Denver International Airport.

3-4

In 1982…wind gusting to 85 mph in the Table Mesa area of Boulder caused a few power failures. West winds gusted to only 32 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2000…high winds buffeted the foothills of Boulder County. Wind gusts were reported to 91 mph at Nederland and 81 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research on the mesa southwest of Boulder. Southwest winds gusted to only 31 mph at Denver International Airport on the 4th.

3-5

In 2017…the first in a series of powerful winter storms brought a period of heavy snow to the north central mountains… Front Range Foothills and Urban Corridor. In the mountains and foothills…the heaviest snowfall occurred along and north of the Interstate 70 corridor. Storm totals ranged from one to around three feet. Eastbound I-70 was closed at Vail and Silverthorne because of poor conditions and several spun-out vehicles. Across the Interstate 25 corridor…heavy snow fell over northern parts of metro Denver north to Loveland. At Denver International Airport…145 flights were canceled. Storm totals in the mountains and foothills included: 19.7 inches 5 miles northeast of Ward…18 inches…17 inches near Brainard Lake and Copeland Lakes; 16 inches…5 miles east-northeast of Nederland and Niwot Ridge SNOTEL; 15.7 inches at Eldora… 14.5 inches at Berthoud Pass; 14 inches at Allenspark and 12 inches at Gross Reservoir. Along the I-25 Corridor…storm totals included: 13.8 inches in Boulder…12 inches at Marston Reservoir…9.5 inches in Niwot…9 inches at Flatiron Reservoir… 8.3 inches in Northglenn; 8 inches at Hygiene…7 inches in Arvada…5 miles west-northwest of Brighton…Frederick… Lafayette…Loveland and 5 miles northeast of Westminster; with 6.5 inches at Ralston Reservoir and Wheat Ridge. At Denver International Airport…there was a mix of rain and snow with only 0.10 inches of snowfall observed on the morning of the 4th.

4

In 1893…the low temperature dipped to only 52 degrees…the highest minimum temperature ever recorded in January. The high temperature was 64 degrees. The spring-like weather was the result of northwest Chinook winds sustained to 20 mph with gusts as high as 38 mph.

4-5

In 1996…snow began falling across the Front Range foothills and portions of metro Denver on the 4th. Most snowfall amounts ranged from 4 to 6 inches. Icy roads and blowing snow caused a 22 car accident on I-25 north of Denver… Resulting in an 8-mile traffic back-up for several hours. Snowfall totaled 3.2 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North-northeast winds gusted to 22 mph at Denver International Airport on the 4th.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Comment

*