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January 9 to January 15 – This week in Denver weather history

Sunday, January 9th, 2011 3:22am MDT
January 9 to January 15 - This week in Denver weather history

January 9 to January 15 - This week in Denver weather history

Winds along the Front Range this time of year can be a blessing and a curse all at once.  Chinook’s can warm temperatures well above what they normally would but they can also cause a great deal of damage when they are at their hardest.  We see these contrasts in our look back at this week in Denver weather history.

From the National Weather Service

7-10 

In 1962…a major winter storm dumped 13.5 inches of snow on metro Denver.  A foot of the snow fell on the 8th when northeast winds gusted to 30 mph.  The storm was followed by an intense blast of very cold arctic air.  Minimum temperature readings of 24 degrees below zero occurred on both the 9th and 10th.  The temperature never reached above zero on the 9th when a maximum reading of 1 degree below zero was recorded.  Temperatures were below zero for 37 consecutive hours.

8-9

In 1891…heavy dry snowfall totaled 9.7 inches over downtown Denver.  Most of the snow…6.5 inches…occurred on the 8th when north winds were sustained to 12 mph with gusts to 20 mph.
 
In 1939…heavy snowfall totaled 6.7 inches in downtown Denver. The snowfall was the heaviest overnight…particularly during the early morning hours.  The moist snow adhered to the north side of the instrument shelter and other objects to a depth of 2 inches.  Snow accumulated on fences and trees to several inches.  This was the greatest snowfall of the month that year.  The greatest depth on the ground was 6.5 inches.  North to northwest winds were sustained to 24 mph on the 8th and to 27 mph on the 9th.

8-10 

In 1983…winds of 70 to 90 mph howled through Boulder. A wind gust to 100 mph was recorded on Fritz Peak near Rollinsville.  A tree blown down by the wind damaged a house in eastern Boulder County.  The strong winds developed behind a cold front late on the 8th and continued through the 10th.  At Stapleton International Airport…west to northwest winds gusted to 49 mph on the 8th…to 45 mph on the 9th…and to 48 mph on the 10th.

In 1875…the all time lowest recorded official temperature in Denver…29 degrees below zero…occurred between 3:00 am and 4:00 am under clear skies with calm winds.  The temperature climbed to zero at noon and to a high of 8 degrees at 3:00 pm.
 
In 1916…Chinook winds from the southwest sustained to 42 mph with gusts as high as 48 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 57 degrees.
 
In 1917…Chinook winds…southwesterly in direction…sustained at 43 mph with gusts to 48 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 55 degrees.  The low temperature was only 43 degrees.
 
In 1950…strong west winds to 50 mph produced blowing dust… Which briefly reduced visibility to 3/4 mile at Stapleton Airport.
 
In 1957…west-northwest winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton Airport.
 
In 1988…a wind gust to 61 mph was recorded at Echo Lake. West winds gusted to only 16 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
 
In 1989…strong Chinook winds howled along the eastern foothills.  A peak gust to 115 mph was recorded at the Boulder airport where a light plane was severely damaged when the wind flipped it over.  Gusts reached 103 mph at Table Mesa in south Boulder.  Homes in the city suffered damage to roofs…gutters…and siding.  Fences were blown down…and windows in both homes and cars were broken.  A radio station was off the air for 2 1/2 hours when the winds blew the top 80 feet off its 180-foot transmission tower.  A school roof was partially torn off…and a few traffic signals were downed.  Winds 60 to 80 mph were reported at Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield. West winds gusted to 47 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
 
In 1990…high winds buffeted the Front Range foothills for a second straight day.  Wind gusts to 92 mph were recorded at Rollinsville.  Wind gusts of 65 to 90 mph were noted in the Denver-Boulder area.  No significant damage occurred. Northwest winds gusted to 38 mph at Stapleton International Airport where the maximum temperature reached 63 degrees.

9-10 

In 1962…the low temperature plunged to 24 degrees below zero on both days.
 
In 1972…a west wind gust to 60 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport…while in Boulder a wind gust to 86 mph was recorded at the National Bureau of Standards. The roof of a house was blown off…and trees were blown down in Boulder.  The high winds contributed to the damage from a building fire in Boulder.
 
In 2000…heavy snow and strong winds in the mountains spilled into the Front Range foothills.  Ward…northwest of Boulder…received 9 inches of new snow.  Wind gusts to 91 mph were measured in Golden Gate Canyon…with gusts to 77 mph at Loveland Ski Area and to 73 mph along State Highway 93 north of Golden.  West winds gusted to 44 mph at Denver International Airport on the 9th.

10

In 1893…strong west winds in Boulder and the adjacent foothills caused only minor damage.  In Denver…northwest winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph.  The Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 64 degrees and a low of only 40 degrees…which was a record high minimum for the date.
 
In 1911…southwest Chinook winds sustained to 44 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 60 degrees.
 
In 1932…the first thunderstorm ever officially recorded in Denver during January occurred in the early morning. The assistant observer heard two prolonged peals of thunder between 4:20 am and 4:25 am.  Another off-duty observer was awakened by the thunder.  Other people reported both thunder and lightning.  Light snow was falling at the time.  Pellets of graupel or hail were reported from some parts of the city.  Snowfall totaled only 1.8 inches.  Northwest winds gusted to 30 mph.
 
In 1962…as the temperature dipped to a frigid 24 degrees below zero…setting a new record minimum for the date… The pressure adjusted to sea level reached the highest ever recorded in Denver…31.24 inches (1057.8 mb).  The altimeter setting reached 30.70 inches…and the actual station pressure recorded was 25.260 inches.
 
In 1988…strong winds occurred throughout the day in and near the foothills.  Peak gusts to 85 mph were recorded at Rollinsville…84 mph at Echo Lake…and 64 mph in Boulder.
 
In 1990…a third consecutive day of 50 to 85 mph wind gusts occurred in and along the eastern foothills.  A 5 mile portion of the Denver-Boulder turnpike was closed after clouds of blowing dust and gravel caused several multicar accidents near Broomfield.  One 59-year-old woman was killed and two others injured.  A wind gust to 81 mph was recorded at the nearby Jefferson County Airport.  In Boulder…wind gusts to 85 mph were blamed for ripping off a portion of a roof on a house…as well as blowing out the large picture window.  West winds gusted to 41 mph at Stapleton International Airport.  The warm Chinook winds set a record high temperature of 71 degrees in Denver for the date.
 
In 1996…strong northwest winds developed behind a pacific cold front that moved rapidly across northeast Colorado. A peak wind gust to 64 mph was recorded at the Rocky Flats Environmental Test Facility in Jefferson County.  North- northeast winds gusted to 38 mph at Denver International Airport.

10-11

In 1948…strong winds were reported in Boulder and Lakewood. Winds of 50 to 60 mph were reported at Valmont…just east of Boulder.  Only minor damage was reported.
 
In 1980…strong winds of 60 to 95 mph howled across metro Denver…causing some brief power outages and some broken windows.  A wind gust to 111 mph was recorded at Wondervu. Northwest winds gusted to 40 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 10th.
 
In 1999…high winds gusting to 100 mph blasted the foothills. Peak wind gusts included:  100 mph at central city…98 mph at Wondervu…82 mph at Aspen Springs and Golden Gate Canyon… 81 mph at the NCAR Mesa Lab in Boulder and near Nederland… 78 mph atop Blue Mountain near Coal Creek Canyon…and 72 mph at the Rocky Flats Environmental Test Facility.  West winds gusted to 38 mph and warmed the temperature to a high of 63 degrees at Denver International Airport on the 11th.

10-12

In 1997…heavy snow fell over the Front Range foothills. A foot of new snow was measured at Blackhawk with 7 inches recorded in Coal Creek Canyon.  Only 3.3 inches of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.  East-northeast winds gusted to 18 mph at Denver International Airport on the 11th.

10-13

In 1963…a arctic cold wave plunged temperatures well below zero across metro Denver.  Temperatures were below zero for a total of 64 consecutive hours.  Low temperatures reached 25 degrees below zero on both the 11th and 12th.  The high temperature of 9 degrees below zero on the 11th was the coldest ever recorded at Stapleton Airport and equaled the record low maximum for the month first set on January 19…1883…in downtown Denver.  The high temperature on the 12th reached only 1 degree below zero.  On the 12th…an 18-year-old youth died of exposure from the extreme cold in Denver.  There were many losses and damage to property from frozen water systems…stalled cars…and over-burdened heating systems.  Light snow accompanied the arctic blast. At Stapleton Airport…2.3 inches of snow fell on the 10th and 11th.

11

In 1887…northwest winds were sustained to 40 mph in the city.
 
In 1893…northwest winds to 48 mph were recorded in the city.
 
In 1901…northwest winds were sustained to 45 mph with an extreme velocity of 47 mph.
 
In 1988…strong Chinook winds blew throughout the day along the eastern foothills.  Winds peaked to 75 mph in Boulder… Breaking at least one window.  West winds gusted to 49 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
 
In 1989…2 to 3 inches of snow fell across metro Denver causing near gridlock conditions during the morning rush hour and two-hour delays at Stapleton International Airport.  Two to 6 inches of snow whitened Boulder where many traffic accidents were reported.  Snowfall measured 2.9 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 21 mph.
 
In 1995…high winds developed in the foothills.  A gust to 67 mph was recorded at Rocky Flats in northern Jefferson County.  West winds gusted to only 32 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
 
In 1996…very strong winds were reported in the Front Range foothills for a brief time.  Wind gusts to 85 mph were recorded at Golden Gate Canyon…with 95 mph at Wondervu.

11-12

In 1972…high winds howled along the Front Range foothills. A wind gust to 144 mph was recorded at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.  A wind gust to 105 mph was recorded at the Rocky Flats plant south of Boulder. Wind gusts to 90 mph were recorded in downtown Boulder. The greatest damage from the windstorm occurred in Boulder where 25 or more mobile homes were destroyed either by wind or the fires which resulted when they were overturned. Car windows were blown out; many buildings damaged; utility poles…power lines…trees…and traffic lights blown down. As many as 75 families were evacuated from a recently completed apartment building because of severe structural damage.  Government and private office buildings and industrial plants were evacuated because of danger from flying glass and debris.  Twelve people were treated at the hospital…mostly for cuts from flying glass.  At least 15 small planes were seriously damaged and hangar doors were blown off at the Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield.  Wind damage in Boulder alone totaled 2 million dollars.  At Stapleton International Airport…west winds gusted to 53 mph on the 11th and to 47 mph on the 12th. The strong Chinook winds warmed temperatures into the mid 50’s on both days.

11-14

In 1997…cold arctic air plunged temperatures below zero across metro Denver.  The temperature was below zero for 60 consecutive hours from the afternoon on the 11th to around daybreak on the 14th.  The high temperature of only 1 degree below zero on the 12th equaled the record low maximum for the date last set in 1963.  The low temperature dipped to 14 degrees below zero on the 12th.

12

In 1888…gale force winds toppled the weather instrument shelter in downtown Denver.  The strong winds in the foothills blew a train off the track at Georgetown. Northwest winds were sustained to 60 mph in the city. The strong winds warmed the temperature to a high of 50 degrees.
 
In 1980…strong winds in Boulder peaked to 95 mph at Table Mesa.  Northwest winds gusted to only 29 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
 
In 1992…a strong pacific storm system dumped heavy snow across portions of metro Denver.  Conifer…in the foothills southwest of Denver…received 17.5 inches of snow.  Eleven inches fell at Lake Eldora west of Boulder…with 7 inches recorded at Morrison and 6 inches at Castle Rock.  At Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 31 mph…the snowfall totaled only 4.4 inches.  Strong winds forced the closure of some highways.
 
In 1998…very strong winds and heavy snow caused blizzard conditions in the mountains to spread over portions of the Front Range foothills.  Just east of the continental divide…sustained winds from 80 to 85 mph with gusts to 100 mph were recorded at Silver Spruce Ranch near Ward… Resulting in whiteout conditions.  Only a trace of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.  North winds gusted to only 28 mph at Denver International Airport.
 
In 2009…a fast moving storm system brought heavy snow to the foothills of Boulder and Jefferson counties…as well as the western and southern Denver suburbs.  Storm totals generally ranged from 4 to 9 inches.  The snowfall measurement at Denver International Airport was 3.0 inches.

12-13

In 1936…strong winds in Boulder blew roofs off homes.  Wind gusts over 60 mph were recorded at the University of Colorado and a gust to 55 mph measured at Valmont.
 
In 2002…high winds developed in the foothills on the 12th and spread over the plains on the 13th.  Winds gusted to 76 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research on the mesa in Boulder on the 12th.  Northwest winds gusted to 49 mph…the highest wind of the month…at Denver International Airport on the 13th.  The strongest winds were north and northeast of metro Denver.

13

In 1875…the low temperature dipped to 20 degrees below zero… A record low for the date and climbed to a high of only 2 degrees below zero…a record low maximum for the date.
 
In 1880…the worst wind storm ever experienced in Boulder caused some damage and personal injuries.
 
In 1893…northwest winds were sustained to 42 mph in the city.
 
In 1904…northwest winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts as high as 50 mph.  The Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 63 degrees.  The low temperature remained above freezing…dipping to only 34 degrees.
 
In 1919…snowfall was 1.8 inches in downtown Denver.  Melted snow resulted in only 0.12 inch of precipitation.  This was the only snowfall and precipitation for the month.
 
In 1932…snowfall totaled 3.4 inches in downtown Denver. North winds gusted to 22 mph.
 
In 1967…high winds in Boulder gusted to 70 mph downtown. Some damage occurred.  Northwest winds gusting to 38 mph at Stapleton International Airport produced some blowing dust.
 
In 1988…high winds occurred in Boulder with a wind gust to 70 mph at Table Mesa.  In the foothills a wind gust to 82 mph was measured at Rollinsville.  West winds gusted to 33 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

13-14

In 1960…snowfall totaled only 4.4 inches and northeast winds gusted to 28 mph at Stapleton Airport…while over southeast Colorado a near blizzard closed roads with drifts 3 to 6 feet deep.

13-16

In 1888…a cold air mass settled over the city and caused temperatures to plunge well below zero on four consecutive days…but only one temperature record was set.  Minimum temperatures dipped to 4 degrees below zero on the 13th… 19 degrees below zero on the 14th…20 degrees below zero on the 15th…and 11 degrees below zero on the 16th.  The maximum temperature of only 4 degrees below zero on the 14th was a record low maximum for the date.  North winds were sustained to 30 mph on the 13th.

14

In 1873…winds were brisk all day.  After sunset…northeast sustained winds produced a perfect gale…behind an apparent cold front.
 
In 1875…the temperature remained below zero all day with a general northeast wind.  At 9:00 pm the temperature was 1 degree above zero which was the official high for the day.  The wind suddenly veered to the southwest and the temperature climbed 19 degrees in 15 minutes…7 more degrees in the next 5 minutes…and by 9:30 pm had risen to 36 degrees.  By 9:35 pm the temperature had reached 40 degrees…a rise of 48 degrees in one hour and 39 degrees in half an hour.  The sudden rise in temperature could be attributed to a receding arctic air mass and downsloping surface winds.
 
In 1906…the temperature climbed to a high of 56 degrees before an apparent cold front produced northeast winds sustained to 40 mph and a trace of snow in the afternoon.
 
In 1921…west winds were sustained to 44 mph with gusts to 46 mph.  The downslope winds warmed the temperature to a high of 49 degrees.
 
In 1967…3.7 inches of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport with 7.7 inches measured in Boulder.
 
In 1982…strong Chinook winds buffeted Boulder…tearing the roof off a small apartment building.  A gust to 88 mph was measured in Lakewood.  Wind gusts of 60 to 80 mph were common along the foothills from Denver north to Fort Collins.  Four people sustained minor injuries…mostly from flying glass.  At least one person was knocked down by the winds.  Several tractor trailer rigs were blown off I-70 near Golden…and numerous camper shells were blown off pick-up trucks.

14-15

In 1908…heavy post-frontal snowfall totaled 6.5 inches overnight.  North winds were sustained to 32 mph.  The temperature dropped 41 degrees in 24 hours from a reading of 48 degrees at 8:00 pm on the 14th to only 7 degrees at 8:00 pm on the 15th.
 
In 1950…strong winds occurred in Boulder and Louisville. Winds in excess of 60 mph were recorded at Valmont.  Minor damage was reported.  Southwest winds gusted to 50 mph at Stapleton Airport.
 
In 1959…a total of 5.5 inches of snow fell at Stapleton Airport.
 
In 1992…snow spread from the mountains across metro Denver. The heaviest snow was across the northern portion of the area where 7 inches fell at Thornton.  At Stapleton International Airport…only 3.4 inches of snowfall were recorded and northeast winds gusting to 37 mph caused some blowing snow on the 14th.
 
In 1999…high winds howled across metro Denver.  In Commerce City…strong winds toppled 3 utility poles resulting in a power outage to 600 homes.  High wind reports included: 108 mph at Wondervu…80 mph at the Hiwan Golf Course in Evergreen…76 mph at Aspen Springs…75 mph at the Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield…74 mph in Boulder…and 70 mph at Georgetown.  West to northwest winds gusted to 48 mph…the highest wind gust of the month…and warmed the temperature to a high of 60 degrees at Denver International Airport on the 15th.

14-21

In 1930…a protracted cold spell occurred when low temperatures plunged below zero on 8 consecutive days.  The coldest low temperatures of 20 degrees below zero on the 17th and 19 degrees below zero on the 16th were record minimums for the dates.  High temperatures during the period ranged from 18 on the 18th to zero on the 20th.  Two degrees on the 15th was a record low maximum temperature for the date.

15

In 1875…the wind backed from the southwest to the northeast before noon.  The temperature fell 48 degrees in one hour… From a high of 52 degrees to only 4 degrees between 11:30 am and 12:30 pm…as cold arctic air surged back over the city.
 
In 1888…the low temperature dipped to 20 degrees below zero.
 
In 1906…southwest winds were sustained to 44 mph.
 
In 1921…south winds were sustained to 44 mph with gusts to 48 mph.  The winds warmed the temperature to a high of 63 degrees.  The low temperature of only 47 degrees was a record high minimum for the date.
 
In 1943…strong Chinook winds struck the Front Range foothills.  Wind gusts to 96 mph were recorded at Valmont in east Boulder…with 90 mph measured at Boulder airport. Some damage occurred.
 
In 1976…strong Chinook winds with peak gusts of 70 to 80 mph were recorded along the foothills.  Northwest winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
 
In 1982…a vigorous cold front plunged temperatures 22 degrees in an hour from 39 to 17 degrees.  Strong northeast winds at 30 mph with gusts to 46 mph…along with some snow flurries…reduced the visibility to 1 mile in blowing dust at Stapleton International Airport.
 
In 1987…heavy snow hit metro Denver.  Snowfall totaled 10.3 inches at Stapleton International Airport…but amounts across the area ranged from 3 inches in southeast Aurora to 18 inches in the western and southwestern suburbs.  Only an inch of snow was measured at Castle Rock.  A half foot to a foot of snow fell in the foothills west of Denver and Boulder.  Some schools were closed due to the storm. Temperatures hovered in the teens most of the day at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 30 mph.
 
In 1988…high winds were clocked in Boulder with a gust to 70 mph recorded at Table Mesa.
 
In 1998…strong winds developed in and near the Front Range foothills.  Winds gusted to 71 mph at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield.  South-southwest winds gusted to only 25 mph at Denver International Airport.

15-16

In 1967…a major windstorm struck Boulder.  The storm was described at the time as the worst single windstorm in the history of Boulder in terms of damage.  Winds reached 125 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and at Boulder airport.  Winds gusted to 84 mph downtown.  Damage totaled a half million dollars in Boulder where some minor injuries were reported.  At the Boulder municipal airport… 14 light airplanes were severely damaged.  The second floor of a warehouse was blown down…damaging two nearby moving vans.  A mobile home was blown over south of Boulder… Injuring one woman.  The roof of a department store was blown in.  There was widespread damage to houses…autos… And power lines from wind and flying debris.  Strong winds also occurred in Denver and Golden…but damage was only minor.  At Stapleton International Airport…west winds gusted to 43 mph on the 15th and to 45 mph on the 16th.
 
In 1981…heavy snow of 6 to 10 inches accumulated across metro Denver.  Snowfall totaled only 1.8 inches at Stapleton International Airport where east winds gusted to 21 mph on the 15th.
 
In 1991…a pacific storm system moved across metro Denver. Snowfall totaled 3 to 7 inches with 3 inches in Aurora… Denver…and Castle Rock…4 inches in Arvada…and 7 inches at South Platte station just southwest of Denver. Snowfall totaled only 2.9 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 21 mph on the 16th.
 
In 2001…heavy snow fell across the Front Range foothills and urban corridor.  The combination of careless driving and snowpacked highways resulted in 3 multi-vehicle accidents involving 30 vehicles…along I-25 in Douglas County.  Eleven people were injured and one was killed. Snow amounts included:  11 inches in Evergreen; 10 inches at Eldorado Springs and Genesee; 8 inches at Broomfield… Ken Caryl Ranch…and Thornton; and 5 to 7 inches in Arvada…Bailey…Crow Hill…Gross Reservoir…Lakewood… Louisville…Westminster…and near Loveland.  Snowfall totaled 2.7 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

15-23

In 1962…a protracted cold spell kept metro Denver in the deep freeze for more than a week.  From the 15th thru the 23rd…low temperatures were zero or below for 9 consecutive days…but a daily record low was set only on the 22nd when the temperature dipped to 14 degrees below zero.  A record low maximum for the date was also set on the 22nd when the temperature climbed to only 11 degrees.  The coldest high temperature was 3 degrees above zero on the 21st…which did not break the record.  The protracted cold was broken for only a few hours on the afternoon of the 20th when Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 38 degrees before another surge of cold arctic air plunged temperatures back into the deep freeze that evening.  The severe cold caused much damage to water systems.  A woman was frozen to death at Morrison.  There were other deaths attributable to the weather…including traffic deaths and heart attacks from overexertion.

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