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February 21 to February 27: This week in Denver weather history

Sunday, February 21st, 2021 5:05am MST

This Week in Denver Weather History

Snow and wind dominate our look back at this week in Denver weather history.  In 2009, high winds on the Boulder Turnpike blew a trailer into oncoming traffic damaging two cars and injuring one driver.  46 years ago, a protracted cold spell resulted in seven consecutive days with low temperatures dropping to zero or below.  Those are just two of the many events – see more below.

From the National Weather Service:

19-21

In 1971…heavy snowfall totaled 9.0 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to only 16 mph.  Most of the snow occurred on the 19th and 20th. The 24 hour snowfall of 8.2 inches was the greatest in February since 1953.

20-21

In 1997…heavy snow fell in the foothills.  Snowfall totals included:  16 inches at Eldora Ski Area; 15 inches at South Turkey Creek; 14 inches at Conifer and Morrison; and 11 inches at Blackhawk…Evergreen…and Intercanyon.  Only 1.0 inch of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.  Northeast winds gusted to 32 mph at Denver International Airport on the 20th.

In 2014…high winds occurred in and near the foothills of Boulder and Jefferson counties. Peak wind reports included: 93 mph near gold hill; 89 mph at NCAR Mesa Lab; 83 mph at the National Wind Technology Center; 76 mph…in Boulder… 4 miles east-northeast of Nederland and the junction of Colorado highways 72 and 93; and 75 mph at Lyons. Scattered electrical outages were reported in Boulder…Denver and Littleton…which affected 3400 Xcel Energy customers. At Denver International Airport…a peak wind of 50 mph was observed from the west on the 21st.

21

In 1901…northwest winds sustained to 43 mph with gusts to 46 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 55 degrees.

In 1935…strong west to northwest winds sustained to 30 mph with gusts to 34 mph produced considerable blowing dust. The Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 60 degrees.

In 1967…west winds gusting to 53 mph produced some blowing dust at Stapleton International Airport.  Winds were strong and gusty all day.

In 1988…high winds were reported along the foothills with 90 mph in east Boulder where the winds knocked out a few street and traffic lights.  The strong winds whipped a grass and timber fire in Boulder canyon.  The fire threatened some homes for a time…but was extinguished before causing any significant property damage.  West winds gusting to 35 mph at Stapleton International Airport warmed the temperature to a high of 63 degrees.

In 2017…strong winds knocked a huge tree onto a house in Loveland. No one was injured after the tree fell into the house…which included a 10-week-old baby. The house suffered extensive damage and the family was displaced.

21-22

In 1909…a major storm dumped 12.9 inches of heavy snowfall over the city.  North winds were sustained to 37 mph on the 22nd.  Temperatures during the storm hovered in the 20’s.

22

In 1893…northwest winds were sustained to 36 mph with gusts to 50 mph.

In 1900…northwest winds sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 45 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 61 degrees.

In 1910…a cold front caused a remarkably sharp drop in temperature from 43 degrees at 3:00 am to only 3 degrees at 8:30 am.  These were the high and low temperatures for the day.  Early west winds switched to northeast behind the front.

In 1927…west winds were sustained to 42 mph with a measured maximum velocity to 60 mph.

In 1954…strong and gusty west winds persisted throughout the day.  The highest wind gust recorded at Stapleton Airport was 58 mph.

In 1960…snowfall totaled 5.9 inches…producing near-blizzard conditions in snow and blowing snow at Stapleton Airport where northeast wind gusts to 40 mph reduced visibility to 1/2 mile.

In 1986…high winds occurred in the foothills.  Wind gusts of 65 to 70 mph were reported at Golden Gate Canyon…and a peak gust of 83 mph was recorded at Echo Lake.  Northwest winds gusted to only 29 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1988…a wind gust to 83 mph was recorded in Boulder with 80 mph clocked at Rollinsville.  Northwest winds gusted to 45 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1996…wind gusts to 63 mph were reported in western Elbert County.  Southwest winds gusted to 45 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 1999…strong post-frontal…Bora winds developed over the foothills and spread over the northeast plains.  Peak wind gusts included:  87 mph at Golden Gate Canyon; 84 mph at Wondervu; 80 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research mesa lab; 75 mph at the Rocky Flats Environmental Test Facility; 74 mph at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield; 72 mph at the Gamow Tower on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder; and 60 mph at Bennett.  West to northwest winds gusted to 44 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2000…thunder was heard across much of metro Denver. Thunderstorms over southwest metro Denver produced 1/4 to 1/2 inch diameter hail at Pinehurst Country Club.  A thunderstorm at Denver International Airport produced wind gusts to 34 mph.  This was only the 6th time since 1891 that thunder had been reported in February.

22-23

In 1985…a snowstorm struck the eastern foothills with 8 to 15 inches of new snow.  Three to 7 inches of new snow fell across metro Denver and parts of I-70 were closed at times. Snowfall totaled only 3.3 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast wind gusts to 29 mph were recorded.

In 1992…a snow storm dumped heavy snow in the Front Range foothills.  Conifer received 12 inches of new snow with 7.5 inches at Aspen Springs.  Snow only dusted the plains and metro Denver…but winds were strong with a gust to 43 mph from the north at Stapleton International Airport where snowfall totaled only 0.3 inch.  This was the only measurable snowfall of the month…equaling the record for the least snowiest February first set in 1970.  Rare thunder for February accompanied the snow during the early morning hours of the 23rd.

In 1999…strong Chinook winds developed on a very localized scale overnight in and near the foothills of northern Jefferson and southern Boulder counties.  Peak wind reports included:  82 mph at the Rocky Flats Environmental Test Facility…80 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research mesa lab in Boulder…77 mph near Nederland…and 75 mph atop the Gamow Tower on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder.

In 2012…a strong upper level jet stream produced high winds along the Front Range. In Boulder…the strong winds snapped power poles and toppled trees. As a result…about 7 thousand Xcel Energy customers were without power for several hours. The high winds overturned a tractor-trailer on foothills highway overpass…north of Valmont road. The driver suffered minor injuries. A parked car was totaled when it was crushed by a fallen tree near the University of Boulder. The strong winds were also responsible for two Boulder County wildfires which consumed a total of 65 acres. Colorado department of transportation officials closed U.S. 36 at McCaslin Boulevard in both directions after the wind caused damage to the pedestrian overpass. Metal siding from the overpass fell into highway; fortunately there were no injuries. In total…electrical outages affected 46 thousand customers along the Front Range. Damage to roofs…siding… Garage doors and fences was also reported. Peak wind gusts included: 93 mph near Lyons; 88 mph at NCAR Mesa Lab; 85 mph…2 miles southwest of Rocky Flats; 82 mph… 5 miles northwest of Boulder; 81 mph…2 miles north of Longmont… 4 miles east-northeast of Nederland…the National Wind Technology Center and near Wondervu; 80 mph at the junction of highways 72 and 93; 79 mph at the Boulder Municipal Airport; 78 mph…6 miles northwest of Boulder; 77 mph at Rocky Mountain Municipal Airport; 76 mph atop Berthoud Pass; 75 mph near Aspen Springs; 70 mph at Longmont Municipal Airport; 64 mph at Erie Municipal Airport. At Denver International Airport…peak wind gusts of 53 mph on the 22nd and 55 mph on the 23rd were observed.

22-29

In 1960…heavy snowfall of 6.1 inches at Stapleton Airport on the 22nd and 23rd marked the beginning of a protracted cold spell which lasted until the end of the month.  The cloudy… Cold weather was accompanied by occasional light snow or flurries and fog.  New record low temperatures for the dates were set on the 24th thru the 29th with the lowest temperature of 11 degrees below zero on the 28th.  The seven consecutive days of low temperatures of zero or below had been exceeded in duration only 4 times previously.  New low maximum temperatures for the dates were set on the 23rd… 24th…and the 26th thru the 29th with the lowest maximum temperature of 8 degrees recorded on the 26th.

23

In 1904…west winds sustained to 42 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 63 degrees.

In 1907…a thunderstorm…relatively rare in February…was observed over the city.  The chance of occurrence is around once every ten years.

In 1977…while 60 to 100 mph winds produced a huge dust storm over much of eastern Colorado…only an experimental windmill at the Rocky Flats nuclear plant was destroyed in the Denver area.  Winds at Rocky Flats were clocked to 90 mph.  Northwest winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1986…wind gusts to 79 mph were clocked at Echo Lake in the foothills west of Denver.

In 1992…a rare February thunderstorm occurred.  This was only the 5th time since 1891 that thunder has been heard in February.

In 1994…periodic high winds occurred over the higher elevations of the Front Range eastern foothills.  The strongest wind gusts reached 87 mph atop Squaw Mountain near Idaho Springs.  Southwest winds gusted to only 25 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1996…high winds gusting as high as 76 mph were reported along the Front Range foothills and adjacent urban corridor. Wind gusts to 70 mph were reported atop Table Mesa near Boulder and to 63 mph in Broomfield.  West winds gusted to 38 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2012…bands of moderate to heavy snow… Associated with a strong upper level jet…formed over the southern Front Range foothills…Palmer Divide and southern Denver suburbs. Storm totals included: 10 inches…2 miles west-northwest of Highlands Ranch and Kiowa; 9.5 inches near Castle Rock and Littleton; 8 inches at Aspen Springs and Marston Reservoir; 7.5 inches at Evergreen and Louviers; 7 inches…5 miles south-southwest of Arapahoe Park; with 4 to 6 inches elsewhere. Officially…Denver International Airport observed 1.9 inches of snowfall.

23-24

In 1935…northwest winds sustained to 37 mph with gusts as high as 47 mph produced considerable blowing dust behind a cold front on the 23rd.  The dust was dampened by 7.0 inches of snowfall over downtown Denver from the late evening of the 23rd through the evening of the 24th.

In 1997…heavy snow fell in the foothills.  Snowfall totals included 8 inches at sunshine canyon northwest of Boulder… And 6 inches at Morrison.  Snowfall totaled only 2.4 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. East winds gusted to only 22 mph at Denver International Airport on the 23rd.

23-25

In 1912…a severe winter storm dumped 14.2 inches of snowfall over downtown Denver.  Snow fell continuously from 9:40 am on the 23rd until 9:15 pm on the 25th with most of the snow… 9.2 inches…on the 24th.  Temperatures were mostly in the 20’s.  Northeast winds were sustained to 20 mph on the 24th.

24

In 1908…a duststorm occured in the city from mid-morning through mid-day.  North winds were sustained from 30 to 35 mph.

In 1927…northwest winds were sustained to 42 mph with an extreme velocity to 46 mph.

In 1924…fog deposited a light coating of glaze…which was very thin and only accumulated on the windward side of cold objects.  Streets and sidewalks became slippery.

In 1956…a strong cold front produced north wind gusts to 54 mph…but left only 2.0 inches of snowfall at Stapleton Airport.

In 1959…heavy snowfall totaled 7.5 inches at Stapleton Airport…where north-northeast winds gusted to only 18 mph.

In 1968…west-northwest winds gusted to 49 mph at Stapleton International Airport.  The strong Chinook winds warmed the maximum temperature to 61 degrees…the highest temperature of the month that year.

In 1986…wind gusts to 65 mph were reported at Table Mesa in Boulder.  West winds gusted to only 28 mph at Stapleton International Airport where the high temperature of 70 degrees equaled the record for the date.

In 1991…the only measurable snowfall for the month totaled only 0.8 inch at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 28 mph.  The light snow fell for most of the day.

In 1994…high winds raked the eastern foothills.  Wind speeds of 70 to 80 mph were common.  Wind gusts to 110 mph were recorded at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in south Boulder…while in north Boulder winds gusted to 95 mph.  The strong winds blew the roof off a building at red rocks community college in Lakewood…causing the evacuation of about 1500 people.  A semi-trailer and a delivery truck were overturned.  In Lakewood…a home under construction was destroyed by the winds.  There were numerous reports of vehicles damaged by flying debris…and many automobile windshields were shattered.  West wind gusts to 47 mph were recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2013…a storm system near the four corners region produced heavy upslope snowfall in and near the Front Range with blizzard conditions further east as it made its way across southern Colorado. In the Front Range mountains and foothills storm totals included: 27 inches near Pinecliffe; 24 inches…13 miles northwest of Golden; 20 inches near Genesee; 17 inches near Conifer; 15 inches near Jamestown; 14 inches…just southwest of Eldorado Springs; 12.5 inches near Aspen Springs; 12 inches near Evergreen and Ward; 10 inches at Eldora Ski Area; with 8 inches near Gross Reservoir…Idaho Springs and Nederland. Across the urban corridor storm totals included: 12 inches in Aurora; 11.5 inches near Highlands Ranch; 11 inches in Lakewood; 10.5 inches just north of Longmont and Westminster; 10 inches in Lone Tree and Thornton; 8.5 inches in Aurora…6 miles southwest of Denver and near Loveland; 8 inches at Boulder… Broomfield…and Ralston Reservoir; 7.5 inches near Frederick…with 7 inches at Commerce City. The storm prompted the cancellation of 200 flights in and out of Denver International Airport. Officially…the storm system produced 9.1 inches of snow at DIA which established a new daily snowfall record in Denver for the date. Along and south of the I-70 corridor and east of Denver…the combination of heavy snow and strong wind produced blizzard conditions. Storm totals included: 14 inches…10 miles south-southeast of Buckley AFB…10.5 inches… 8 miles southeast of Watkins; with 6 inches near Byers. Northerly winds of 25 to 30 mph were common with gusts to 40 mph. At DIA…a peak wind gust of 32 mph was observed.

25

In 1887…northwest winds were sustained to 47 mph.

In 1904…the low temperature cooled to only 49 degrees…the all-time record high minimum temperature for February.

In 1957…north winds gusted to 49 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1998…a Bora wind storm developed in the Front Range foothills and adjacent plains as winds gusted between 60 and 75 mph.  Peak wind gusts during the storm included: 75 mph atop Blue Mountain near Wondervu…60 mph in south Boulder and at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield. West winds gusted to 32 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2000…high winds occurred in and near the foothills. Winds gusted to 84 mph at the Rocky Flats Environmental Test Facility south of Boulder and to 71 mph atop Niwot Ridge in the mountains west of Boulder.  West winds gusted to only 36 mph at Denver International Airport.

25-26

In 1971…a wind gust to 100 mph was recorded in Boulder at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.  The cold west winds gusted to 53 mph in downtown Boulder.  No damage was reported.  Northwest winds gusted to 31 mph on the 25th and to 38 mph on the 26th at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1984…a heavy snow storm left 1 to 2 feet of new snow in the foothills west of Denver.  I-70 was closed…stranding skiers returning from the mountains.  Most had to spend several hours in Idaho Springs.  The snow spread over metro Denver with 9 inches at Littleton…Castle Rock…and Boulder and up to 5 inches in Aurora and Denver.  Snowfall totaled only 3.6 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 31 mph.

26

In 1884…heavy snowfall totaled 6.0 inches in downtown Denver.

In 1908…a duststorm occurred in the city during the afternoon.  Northwest winds were sustained from 14 to 24 mph.

In 1918…pre-frontal Chinook winds from the southwest… Sustained to 43 mph with a maximum velocity to 52 mph… Warmed temperatures to a high of 62 degrees.

In 1954…strong Chinook winds gusting to 52 mph during the morning warmed the temperature in Denver to a balmy 65 degrees by early afternoon.  A vigorous Canadian cold front during the late afternoon produced north winds at sustained speeds of 52 mph with gusts as high as 65 mph and billows of blowing dust…which reduced the visibility to as low as 1 mile at Stapleton Airport.  Showers left half an inch of snow on the ground as the temperature dipped to a low of 27 degrees before midnight.

In 1989…a brief rain shower produced a microburst wind gust to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1997…snowfall totaled 4 to 6 inches in and near the foothills.  Only 0.8 inch of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.  Northeast winds gusted to 29 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2013…a storm system produced heavy snow in the Front Range foothills. Storm totals included: 12 inches near Black Mountain and Pine Junction…10 inches near Conifer and Nederland; 9 inches…12 miles northwest of Golden; 8 inches near Evergreen…with 6 inches near Eldorado Springs. Snow and blowing snow produced blizzard conditions along and south of the Interstate 70 corridor…just east of Denver. Storm totals generally ranged from 3 to 7 inches. North winds of 25 to 30 mph were reported with gusts around 40 mph. Roads became impassable as snow and blowing snow produced 3 to 4 ft snow drifts. Interstate 70 was closed from Aurora to the Kansas state line. At Denver International Airport…a peak wind gust to 31 mph was reported along with 1.0 inch of snow.

26-27

In 1893…heavy snowfall totaled 7.9 inches in downtown Denver.  Most of the snow…6.7 inches…fell on the 27th. Northeast winds were sustained to 18 mph with gusts to 30 mph behind an apparent cold front.

In 1939…heavy snowfall of 8.1 inches was the heaviest of the month in downtown Denver.  North winds sustained to 21 mph on the 26th and to 28 mph on the 27th caused much drifting.  The greatest snow depth on the ground was 7.8 inches at noon on the 27th.

In 1987…a snowstorm dropped 4 to 8 inches of snow across metro Denver…causing flight delays at Stapleton International Airport where snowfall totaled 3.8 inches and north winds gusted to 24 mph.  Both I-70 and I-25 were closed for a time to the east and south of Denver.

27

In 1896…northwest winds were sustained to 46 mph with gusts to 58 mph.

In 1902…northwest winds were sustained to 50 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph.  The high temperature was 44 degrees.

In 1918…a post-frontal heavy snow storm developed over downtown Denver.  Snowfall totaled 8.4 inches and north winds were sustained to 30 mph with a maximum velocity to 32 mph.

In 1963…west winds gusted to 55 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1974…a wind gust to 99 mph was recorded in Boulder. West winds gusted to 43 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2009…a strong wind gusts blew a trailer in the path of two vehicles along State Highway 36…between Boulder and Lyons.  The two vehicles were in the northbound lane when a wind gust blew a fifth-wheel trailer into their path… As it approached from the opposite lane.  The trailer left the road surface…and collided with the top left side of the first car; causing extensive damage.  A van following the first vehicle then struck the trailer. The driver of the van suffered facial injuries.

27-28

In 1918…heavy snowfall totaled 9.6 inches in downtown Denver.  Most of the snow…8.4 inches…fell on the 27th.

In 1931…a major winter storm dumped 12.0 inches of heavy snowfall over downtown Denver.  This is the greatest 24 hour snowfall ever recorded during the month of February. North winds gusted to 18 mph on the 28th.

In 2006…a warm spell resulted in 3 temperature records. The high temperature of 73 degrees on the 27th equaled the record high for the date.  High temperature of 77 degrees on the 28th was a record high for the date and equaled the all time record high temperature for February first set on February 4…1890.

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