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January 25 to January 31: This week in Denver weather history

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 5:26am MST
This Week In Denver Weather History

January 25 to January 31: This week in Denver weather history

High winds and nasty cold are the two dominant things we see in our look back at this week in Denver weather history. Also notable are some significant snowstorms and even some record-setting high temperatures into the 70s.

From the National Weather Service:

22-26

In 1948…the longest period of snowfall on record (92 hours and 3 minutes) occurred in downtown Denver where a total of 13.6 inches of snow fell. At Stapleton Airport…19.0 inches of snow fell…making it the heaviest snow in January and the 5th heaviest snow of record at that time. North winds were sustained to a velocity of 23 mph on the 25th…but generally the winds were light throughout the storm. The snow disrupted traffic…but street clearing was begun soon after it became apparent that the snow would be heavy. Over the 5 days…temperatures ranged from a high of 48 degrees on the 22nd to a low of 1 degree on the 26th. Most readings were in the teens and 20’s during the storm.

24-25

In 1916…a trace of light rain…rare in Denver for January… Occurred on both days.

In 1946…high winds occurred in Boulder and along the foothills to the north. A wind gust to 72 mph was recorded at Valmont.

In 1947…strong winds were measured in Boulder. Hourly wind gusts averaged 72 mph at Valmont east of Boulder.

In 1950…heavy snowfall totaled 7.1 inches at Stapleton Airport and 6.8 inches in downtown Denver.

24-26

In 1970…a wind gust to 122 mph was recorded at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder on the 24th. Winds also gusted to 109 mph at NCAR on the 26th. Most winds were estimated between 60 and 70 mph in Boulder. Damage…in most cases…was from broken windows and tree limbs and downed power lines. A roof was blown off a house in Eldorado Springs south of Boulder. A building under construction was damaged in Boulder. Reported damage totaled 25 hundred dollars in Boulder. Northwest winds gusted to 47 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 24th. In Denver…the Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a record high of 68 degrees on the 24th.

25

In 1872…the greatest temperature change in one day…66 degrees…from a low of 20 degrees below zero…a record low for the date…to a high of 46 degrees…occurred.

In 1888…west winds sustained to 42 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 58 degrees.

In 1890…northwest Chinook winds gusting as high as 48 mph resulted in two temperature records. High temperature of 72 degrees was a record maximum for the date. Low temperature of only 48 degrees was a record high minimum for the date.

In 1914…Chinook winds from the northwest sustained to 46 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 52 degrees. The low temperature was only 39 degrees.

In 1923…snowfall of 1.3 inches was the only measurable snow of the month.

In 1931…snowfall of 0.1 inch was the only measurable snow of the month. The melted snow totaled only 0.02 inch of precipitation…which was the only measurable amount of the month. This resulted in the 4th driest January on record.

In 1964…high winds occurred in Boulder…Golden…and Broomfield where a wind gust to 80 mph was recorded at Jefferson County Airport. Some power lines were downed. Damage to buildings and vehicles was also reported. West-northwest winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1971…the highest recorded wind gust in the state of Colorado…147 mph…occurred at the National Center for Atmospheric Research on the mesa in southwest Boulder. Wind gusts to 91 mph were measured at the National Bureau of Standards and to 87 mph in downtown Boulder. A wind gust to 75 mph was recorded at Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield. The strong winds caused widespread minor damage in Boulder. Northwest winds gusting to 32 mph at Stapleton International Airport warmed the temperature to a high of 55 degrees.

In 1980…a blizzard struck Denver right at the evening rush hours…causing massive traffic snarls and forcing the closure of I-25 north of Denver and I-70 east of the city as well as many other roads. Hundreds of travelers were stranded. Multi-car accidents involving as many as 50 cars were common. Air traffic at Stapleton International Airport was stalled for 3 hours. Winds gusted to 50 or 60 mph with visibility reduced to zero at times. The high winds knocked out electrical power in Broomfield. During the height of the storm…temperatures plunged from the freezing mark at mid-afternoon to only 5 degrees before midnight. Initial snowfall from the storm was only 3 to 5 inches across metro Denver with 4.1 inches measured at Stapleton International Airport where north wind gusts to 58 mph were recorded.

In 1988…high winds pummeled the eastern foothills with a peak gust to 96 mph recorded near Rollinsville. A gust to 109 mph was recorded at Echo Lake. West winds gusted to 48 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1996…heavy snow fell along the Front Range foothills. Snow accumulations of 4 to 8 inches were measured from I-25 west into the foothills with lighter accumulations reported elsewhere. Snowfall totaled only 0.9 inch at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

In 2004…locally heavy snow fell across metro Denver. The heaviest snow was south of Denver and in the foothills. Snowfall totals included: 9 inches near Indian Hills… 8.5 inches near Franktown and 9 miles southwest of Sedalia…8 inches 7 miles southwest of Aurora…and 6 inches in Highlands Ranch. Snowfall was only 2.8 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North winds gusted to 35 mph at Denver International Airport

In 2008…strong westerly winds blew out three windows at a Chipotle restaurant in Louisville. Two people were taken to the hospital for minor cuts. At Denver International Airport…northeast winds gusted to 35 mph.

25-26

In 1910…gale force westerly winds of great velocity struck Boulder. Some damage was reported. West winds were sustained to 45 mph in Denver on the 25th.

25-27

In 1897…a cold spell resulted in three temperature records. Low temperature of 14 degrees below zero on the 27th was a record minimum for the date. High temperatures of only 3 degrees on the 25th and 2 degrees on the 26th were record low maximums for the dates. Very light snow or flurries fell on the 25th and 26th at times.

26

In 1902…the low temperature dipped to 20 degrees below zero.

In 1916…sleet…grains of ice…a rare occurrence in Denver… Fell for 3 hours and 15 minutes…covering the ground.

In 1999…high winds developed in and near the foothills. Peak wind reports included: 82 mph in Boulder and at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield…79 mph at the Rocky Flats Environmental Test Facility…and 72 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research mesa lab near Boulder. West winds gusted to 40 mph at Denver International Airport where the temperature warmed to a high of 54 degrees.

26-27

In 1944…heavy snowfall totaled 8.0 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow…7.0 inches…occurred on the 26th when northwest winds were sustained to 17 mph.

In 1973…at Stapleton International Airport…only 3.8 inches of snowfall were measured and north winds gusted to 40 mph causing some blowing snow…while over the Colorado eastern plains heavy snow accompanied by high winds created widespread blizzard conditions closing many highways.

In 1994…the combination of an upper level storm system and moist upslope winds brought heavy snow and cold temperatures to metro Denver and much of eastern Colorado. Snowfall across metro Denver averaged 5 to 7 inches. Snowfall totaled 3.8 inches at Stapleton International Airport where east winds gusted to 21 mph on the 26th.

In 2000…snow…heavy in the mountains…spread over the foothills and metro Denver. Eight inches of snow were measured at Bergen Park and near Evergreen. Snowfall totaled 3.8 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

26-1

In 1888…a protracted warm spell lasted a week. Maximum temperatures ranged from 62 degrees on the 29th to an all-time record high for the month of 76 degrees on the 27th. Daily record high temperatures of 76…69…and 71 occurred on the 27th…28th…and 30th respectively. Record high minimum temperatures of 47 and 34 occurred on the 26th and 27th.

27

In 1888…the highest recorded temperature in January…76 degrees…occurred.

In 1967…strong winds caused a power outage in Boulder.

In 1984…this was the last day of 63 consecutive days with snow cover of one inch or more in Denver. This longest period of snow cover on record began with the Thanksgiving weekend blizzard on November 26-27…1983… When 21.5 inches of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport. Additional snowfall during December and January prolonged the event. Snow depth on the ground to the nearest inch was measured once daily at 5:00 am MST.

27-28

In 1899…snowfall totaled 6.2 inches in the city. Northeast winds were sustained to 36 mph with gusts to 40 mph on the 28th.

In 1965…high winds raked the Front Range foothills. West winds gusted to 89 mph on Table Mountain in Boulder…87 mph at Rocky Flats…and 54 mph at Stapleton International Airport. Damage and minor injuries occurred in Boulder and western metro Denver. Four men were injured by wind- caused accidents while working on construction…2 in Denver and 2 in Boulder. There was extensive damage to power lines… Buildings…signs…and trees. Some minor accidents were caused by blowing dust and debris. Blown dust accumulated 2 to 3 feet deep on some lawns in northern metro Denver suburbs. Dust blew into buildings and homes.

In 1989…the heaviest snowstorm of the winter dumped 9 to 15 inches of snow across metro Denver. Snowfall totaled 8.8 inches at Stapleton International Airport with most of the snow…8.6 inches…falling on the 28th. Strong north winds gusting to 46 mph whipped the snow into 2-foot drifts and reduced visibility in blowing snow. The foothills received up to 18 inches of snow. The snow fell on a weekend…so closures and other disruptions were minimal. The public reported thunder in Arvada…Wheat Ridge…and Boulder on the evening of the 27th. A thunderstorm produced snow pellets at Stapleton International Airport during the early morning hours of the 28th. This was the first thunderstorm in the city during January since 1932.

In 1996…winds to hurricane force were reported across the Front Range foothills in the wake of a pacific storm system. Recorded wind speeds included: 86 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research southwest of Boulder…86 mph atop Squaw Mountain west of Denver…and 75 mph at Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield. West-northwest winds gusted to 48 mph at Denver International Airport on the 28th.

In 2009…high winds buffeted the foothills of Boulder and Jefferson counties. Peak wind gusts included: 101 mph at Eldora Ski Resort…100 mph…6 miles northwest of Boulder; 84 mph at NCAR Mesa Lab…79 mph…5 miles northwest of Boulder; and 75 mph at the National Wind Technology Center. In Nederland…a wind turbine recently installed was damaged by the high winds. A peak wind gust of 38 mph occurred at Denver International Airport on the 28th.

27-31

In 1951…a major storm dumped 10.1 inches of snowfall at Stapleton Airport. Most of the snow…8.3 inches…fell on the 29th. Cold arctic air accompanied the snow. Several temperature records were set…including record low maximum temperatures of 4 on the 28th and 4 below zero on the 29th and record low temperatures of 12 below zero on the 29th and 24 below zero on the 31st. Temperatures were below zero for 45 consecutive hours.

28

In 1872…the low temperature dipped to 22 degrees below zero… A record minimum for the date.

In 1909…gale force north winds were sustained to 45 mph behind an apparent cold front…which also produced a trace of snow.

In 1986…a wind gust to 67 mph was recorded in Boulder. West winds gusted to 41 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
28-29 in 1956…snowfall totaled 5.5 inches at Stapleton Airport where east winds gusted to 32 mph on the 28th.

In 1972…cold west winds buffeted Boulder. A wind gust to 92 mph was recorded at the National Bureau of Standards…while a gust to 76 mph was measured in downtown Boulder. Two mobile homes were overturned in Boulder. Other damage was minor. Northwest winds gusted to 40 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 28th.

In 1987…strong winds buffeted the Front Range foothills and spread east over the plains. The highest wind recorded was 99 mph on the 29th at both the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder and the Rocky Flats plant south of Boulder. Wind gusts in excess of 80 mph were common. A northwest wind gust to 54 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport on the 28th with a gust to 41 mph on the 29th. Planes were damaged at both the Boulder and Jefferson County Airports. Hangars were also damaged at Jefferson County Airport. Many windows were broken…signs toppled…and trees downed. A brick wall was blown onto parked cars in Lakewood. A couple of houses in Lakewood were unroofed…while falling trees damaged others. Two people were injured by flying debris in Lakewood and Golden. Total insured damage along the Front Range was 10 million dollars making the wind storm the second most costly on record in Colorado at the time.

In 1995…deepening upslope winds along the eastern foothills on the 28th gave way to periods of heavy snow during the night and early morning hours of the 29th. Snow fell to a depth of 8 inches in both Golden and Boulder with up to a foot in the foothills. Only 1.9 inches of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport…where east winds gusted to 22 mph on the 28th.

In 2001…heavy snow fell across metro Denver. The heaviest snowfall occurred from just south of Denver to around Castle Rock. Snow amounts included: 12 inches east of Parker…9 inches near Elizabeth and in Littleton…8 inches near Castle Rock and in Parker…and 7 inches in Aurora. Snowfall totaled 6.0 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

28-30

In 1887…winds were strong and gusty for three days in the city. West and northwest winds were sustained to 56 mph on both the 28th and 29th and to 44 mph on the 30th. Temperatures warmed to a high of 57 degrees on the 29th.

29

In 1900…northwest winds were sustained to 45 mph with an extreme velocity of 46 mph.

In 1914…this was the last day of 60 consecutive days with snow cover of one inch or more in Denver. This third longest period of snow cover on record began with the record breaking snow and blizzard on December 1-5… 1913 when a total of 45.7 inches of snow fell in downtown Denver. Additional snowfall during December and January prolonged the event. Snow depth on the ground to the nearest tenth of an inch was measured once daily at 6:00 pm MST.

In 1927…west winds were sustained at 40 mph with gusts to 42 mph.

In 1942…heavy snowfall totaled 6.2 inches in downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 17 mph.

In 1965…strong winds occurred in Boulder for the third consecutive day. Only limited minor damage was reported. Northwest winds gusted to 40 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1984…highs winds in and near the foothills produced wind gusts as high as 71 mph in Boulder. A plane was flipped over at Jefferson County Airport and damaged beyond repair. In Lakewood…two construction trailers were damaged by the gusts. North winds gusted to only 38 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1990…gale to hurricane force winds gusts raked the foothills. Wind gusts of 50 to 90 mph were common in Boulder County. A peak wind of 94 mph was clocked at Table Mesa in southwest Boulder. Scattered power outages and minor property damage were reported. West winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

29-30

In 1985…an arctic air mass with snow closed I-70 for a time in Denver and east of Denver. Snowfall totaled 5.4 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 29 mph on the 29th.

29-31

In 1883…a major winter storm dumped 19.3 inches of snow on downtown Denver. Most of the snow…12.2 inches…fell on the 31st. This was the heaviest snowfall to hit the city in years. Temperatures plunged from a high of 52 degrees on the 29th to a low of 13 degrees on the 31st. Precipitation from the storm totaled 2.23 inches. The 1.22 inches of precipitation on the 31st was the greatest calendar day and 24 hour precipitation ever recorded in the city during the month of January.

30

In 1886…west winds were sustained to 42 mph and were the strongest winds of the month that year. The winds warmed the temperature to a high of 52 degrees in the city.

In 1890…west winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 48 mph in the city.

In 1971…a wind gust to 102 mph was recorded in Boulder at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Elsewhere in Boulder…winds gusted to 76 mph. Northwest winds gusting to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport warmed temperatures to a high of 66 degrees.

In 1976…a rapid moving cold front produced wind gusts 50 to 70 mph causing visibilities to be reduced to less than 1/2 mile in blowing dust for 1 to 2 hours closing some major highways. A north wind gust to 55 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2003…strong winds developed in and near the foothills. Recorded wind gusts included: 86 mph near Rollinsville… 76 mph in Evergreen…and 75 mph in central Boulder. West winds gusted to 43 mph at Denver International Airport.

30-31

In 1908…an apparent strong cold front plunged temperatures 45 degrees in 24 hours from 47 degrees at noon on the 30th to only 2 degrees at noon on the 31st. North winds were sustained to 30 mph on the 30th. Snowfall was only 0.8 inch on the 31st.

In 1965…a major storm dumped 10.4 inches of snow over metro Denver. After 5 inches of snow fell in Boulder… Strong Chinook winds developed…warming the temperature 25 degrees in 90 minutes. Wind gusts to 97 mph were recorded on Table Mountain in Boulder. Winds gusts to 53 mph were measured in downtown Boulder where some damage occurred. Minor wind damage also occurred in western suburbs of Denver. West winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 31st.

In 2005…a winter storm brought heavy snow to the Front Range foothills. Storm totals included: 17 inches at Aspen Springs…13 inches 7 miles southwest of Boulder and at Lake Eldora…12.5 inches near Blackhawk…11.5 inches at Rollinsville and near Nederland…11 inches near Evergreen and Golden and at Gross Reservoir…and 10 inches at cabin creek. Lesser amounts of snow fell over the city. Only 1.9 inches of snow were measured overnight at Denver Stapleton. North winds gusted to 30 mph at Denver International Airport…where freezing fog during the early morning of the 30th reduced the surface visibility to as low as 1/8 mile. Light rainfall… Rare in January…totaled 0.06 inch at Denver Stapleton on the early morning of the 30th.

30-7

In 1985…a cold front on the 29th produced a protracted cold spell as arctic air remained entrenched across metro Denver. While the only daily temperature record set was a low maximum reading of 2 degrees on February 3rd…minimum temperatures plunged well below zero on 9 consecutive days. The coldest readings were 15 degrees below zero on January 31st and 14 degrees below zero on February 5th.

31

In 1876…hurricane force winds caused some damage in Boulder.

In 1951…the low temperature plunged to 24 degrees below zero.

In 1933…snowfall was 0.2 inch in downtown Denver. This was the only measurable snowfall of the month and resulted in 0.01 inch of melted snow…the only measurable precipitation of the month.

In 1964…high winds blew down a sidewalk cover where a building was under construction…injuring a young woman. Three men were injured when a brick wall at a construction site toppled on them. All were treated for face…leg…and neck injuries. A west-northwest wind gust to 47 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1969…high winds struck Boulder with gusts to 115 mph recorded at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and 83 mph in downtown Boulder. Schools were closed because of danger from flying debris. Some damage and minor injuries occurred. Northwest winds gusted to 35 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1985…bitterly cold weather froze pipes and cars and forced some schools to close across metro Denver. Minimum temperatures dipped to as low as 15 below to 20 below zero across metro Denver. The low temperature was 15 below zero at Stapleton International Airport.

31-1

In 1963…high winds struck metro Denver. The strong Chinook winds reached 101 mph in Littleton…80 mph in Denver…and 90 mph at Rocky Flats. Among the hardest hit areas were Boulder where buildings under construction were blown down…porches and roofs blown off buildings…and power lines damaged. Damage totaled 100 thousand dollars in Boulder alone. In other areas…utility lines were damaged and many signs…antennas…and road markers were blown down. At Stapleton Airport…west winds gusted to 44 mph on the 31st and 66 mph on the 1st. The Chinook winds warmed maximum temperatures to 65 degrees on the 31st and to 70 degrees on the 1st.

31-8

In 1963…warm weather that began with the strong Chinook winds on the 31st and 1st continued through the 8th. Maximum temperatures through the period ranged from 52 degrees on the 2nd to 76 degrees on the 5th…which was a new record high for that date.

31-12

In 1899…a protracted cold spell lasted almost two weeks. Low temperatures plunged below zero on all days but February 9th with a reading of 6 degrees. The coldest low temperature of 22 degrees below zero on February 6th was a record low for the date. Low temperatures of 20 degrees below zero occurred on both February 11th and 12th… But only the 11th remains as the record minimum for the date. High temperature of only 5 degrees below zero on February 11th was a record low maximum for the date. High temperatures climbed to only zero degrees on both February 2nd and 3rd…but were not records. Intermittent light snow or flurries fell during the period. The most snowfall…2.0 inches…occurred on February 2nd.

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