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July 10 to July 16 – This Week in Denver Weather History

Sunday, July 10th, 2011 3:30am MDT

July 10 to July 16 - This Week in Denver Weather History

Our look back at this week in Denver weather history demonstrates why July is considered the Mile High City’s stormiest month. Many instances of flooding rains, damaging wind and hail and dangerous lightning are seen in our past.

From the National Weather Service:

1-18

In 1874…a streak of 18 consecutive days of 90 degrees tied for second with another streak that was later set in the summer of 1901. The record of 24 consecutive days was established in the summer of 2008.

6-23

In 1901…a streak of 18 consecutive days of 90 degrees tied for second with another streak set in the summer of 1874. The record of 24 consecutive days was established in the summer of 2008.

7-25

In 1934…a streak of 15 consecutive days of 90 degrees ranked 5th on the list of hot streaks. The record of 24 consecutive days was established in the summer of 2008.

9-10

In 1980…a series of severe thunderstorms hit metro Denver… Dumping heavy rain and producing a spectacular lightning display lasting for several hours. A number of homes were damaged by lightning. Winds gusted to 60 mph at Stapleton International Airport where about half an inch of rain fell in just 10 minutes along with 1/4 inch diameter hail. The evening thunderstorms continued into the early morning hours with total rainfall of 1.35 inches at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1998…thunderstorm rainfall totaled 2.04 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

10

In 1878…a lunar rainbow was observed during a light mist and fog.

In 1895…the temperature warmed to a high of only 53 degrees… The all-time record lowest maximum temperature for the month of July.

In 1967…golf ball size hail damaged aircraft at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield.

In 1983…two people were injured when struck by lightning just southwest of Morrison. A man was injured when he was swept downstream by a flash flood on a tributary of clear creek in the canyon 8 miles west of Golden. Heavy thunderstorm rains caused mudslides which closed several roads. Rainfall amounts included: 1.75 inches in 20 minutes in southeast Denver…1.26 inches in 35 minutes in Boulder…2.14 inches in 2 hours in Lakewood…1.70 inches in 45 minutes in Aurora…and 1.25 inches in 30 minutes atop Floyd Hill in the foothills west of Denver.

In 1992…storm spotters reported 3/4 inch diameter hail near the construction site of the new Denver airport just northeast of the city.

In 1995…microburst winds toppled a pine tree 60 feet high and 2 feet in diameter in Denver. The tree fell and injured a man nearby. Microburst winds to 59 mph broke the glass on a door at the national weather service forecast office at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

In 1998…thunderstorm rainfall totaled 2.35 inches at Denver International Airport.

In 2000…three children were injured…one critically…when lightning hit a nearby tree at panorama point atop Flagstaff Mountain just west of Boulder. Lightning hit the tree…entered the ground…then struck the children. Lightning sparked a grassfire that burned about 50 acres at the Rocky Flats Environmental Test Facility. Also… Lightning sparked at least 6 fires in the Hudson and Keenesburg areas as thunderstorms…accompanied with heavy rain…large hail…and tornadoes…moved through southern Weld County. Over 2 inches of very heavy rain caused flooding along an I-76 exit ramp near Keenesburg. The fire department rescued 15 stranded motorists as high water inundated sections of the exit ramp and adjacent highway. Basements were also flooded in Keenesburg. One home reportedly had 7 feet of standing water in the basement before the rain subsided. A weak tornado (F0) touched down briefly near Brighton…but caused no damage.

In 2001…a severe thunderstorm dumped 7/8 inch diameter hail in wheat ridge.

In 2002…severe thunderstorms pelted the southern suburbs of metro Denver with large hail. Hail as large as 3 inches in diameter fell 6 miles southeast of Parker. Other large hail reports included 2 inch diameter hail around centennial airport and 3/4 inch hail near Sedalia and Deckers. Hail as large as 3/4 inch was also reported in Broomfield. Runoff from heavy thunderstorm rainfall in the Hayman fire burn area flooded lost creek ranch with up to 18 inches of water just off State Highway 126. Floodwaters damaged a very expensive rug in the lodge. A driveway to a residence was washed away. In Douglas County…runoff damaged forest access roads in the Turkey Creek drainage.

11

In 1872…heavy rainfall started at 4:00 pm and continued into the night. The heavy rainfall damaged homes and buildings in all parts of the city. Rainfall totaled 1.64 inches.

In 1888…the temperature reached 100 degrees in downtown Denver.

In 1954…the high temperature climbed to 102 degrees at Stapleton Airport.

In 1970…a girl walking in a park in southeast Denver received eye and facial injuries when lightning struck nearby. Lightning also caused numerous power outages and heavy rainfall produced local flooding at several locations across metro Denver.

In 1974…large hail up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter fell in Thornton.

In 1990…the worst hailstorm in American history in terms of dollar damage at the time battered metro Denver. Storm damage totaled 605 million dollars…as it cut a 5-to 10-mile wide swath from just southeast of Estes Park to northeast of Colorado Springs. Hail as large as baseballs (2.75 inches) pounded metro Denver. Hardest hit areas were southeast Boulder County…the Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield… Arvada…east Wheat Ridge…southwest and south-central Westminster…west Thornton…northwest…west-central and downtown Denver…northeast and east-central Lakewood…just east of Littleton…portions of Arapahoe County west of I-25… And northern and central Douglas County near Castle Rock and Franktown. Golf ball to baseball size hail severely damaged roofs on thousands of homes and buildings…battered tens of thousands of automobiles…windows…signs…street lights…and traffic signals…stripped paint…awnings…and trim from buildings…punched holes in the roofs of two homes in Arvada…knocked out power and telephone service to thousands of homes and businesses…defoliated thousands of trees…ripped up greens and fairways on a number of golf courses…and severely damaged several aircraft tied down at Jefferson County Airport. Hail the size of baseballs fell for several minutes in old town Arvada. Later…golf ball size hail and heavy rain pummeled two northwest Denver amusement parks. Hardest hit was Elitch Gardens Amusement Park where 47 people were injured and received treatment for bumps…cuts…and bruises at local hospitals. Many of the injured were stranded on rides during the storm when power failed. Hail clogged storm sewers…causing rain water to back up 3 to 6 feet deep on some roads and intersections in Arvada. Several basements were flooded. In some places hail was washed into drifts several feet deep. In addition… The storm spawned 2 small tornadoes. One touched down briefly in Lakewood near 6th avenue and Kipling Blvd….but did no damage. In Castle Rock…a tornado (F1) did heavy damage to some homes and vehicles in the Founders Village development near Ridge Road.

In 2001…lightning struck two homes in Thornton. Most of the damage was confined to the attics of both homes. Hail as large as 3/4 inch in diameter fell in Keenesburg…Longmont… And near Boulder.

11-12

In 1872…heavy rain from 4:00 pm until 2:00 am caused much damage. Rainfall totaled 1.76 inches.

12

In 1881…during the early evening…a brisk rain fell for 30 minutes from a nearly clear sky containing not one tenth of clouds with the sun shining brightly. Rainfall was 0.16 inch.

In 1885…thunderstorms produced widespread lightning across the city during the evening. Several people were injured when their homes were struck by lightning.

In 1954…the high temperature reached 101 degrees at Stapleton Airport.

In 1962…lightning struck and killed a Denver man…while he was assisting a co-worker with his car.

In 1971…the temperature climbed to a high of 101 degrees at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1974…hail to 3/4 inch in diameter fell in Castle Rock.

In 1991…hail to 2 inches in diameter fell in Thornton with golf ball size hail in Brighton. Dime size hail was recorded in the city of Denver. Very heavy rain caused flooding across metro Denver. Water was up to 2 feet deep in parts of Golden where one foot of water was reported in the lot of a mobile home park. Flood water washed away part of a parking lot at the Colorado school of mines in Golden. Heavy rain caused a rock slide and flooding along I-70 in the foothills just west of Denver. Flood waters were a foot deep at the intersection of I-70 and I-25 just north of downtown Denver. A funnel cloud was sighted just east of the rocky mountain arsenal.

In 1996…very heavy rainfall from a fast moving thunderstorm dumped 2 to 3 inches of rain within an hour over southern Jefferson County. Two people were killed near the town of Buffalo Creek when a 20-foot wall of water flooded the area. Utility poles and trees were uprooted; cars… Propane tanks…and bridges were destroyed in the flood’s path. Entire buildings were moved from their foundations and heavily damaged by the floodwaters. The first fatality occurred along State Highway 126 when the driver of a pick-up truck was washed off the road by the deadly wall of water. The second death occurred farther upstream when a man in a 5th-wheel trailer was washed away. This was the second disaster to strike the area in the last couple of months. The community was already recovering from a wildfire which burned about 12 thousand acres of forest land in late May. With the forest burned by fire…very little vegetation was available to slow the storm’s runoff…which resulted in the flash flood. Power…water…and sewer service were heavily damaged in the flood and…in some cases…beyond repair. The cost of repairing the roads and water system in the area was estimated at around a half million dollars. Elsewhere across metro Denver…severe thunderstorms produced hail…damaging winds…and small tornadoes. Weak tornadoes (F0) were reported in Broomfield… 3 miles east of Englewood…and in Dacono. No damage was reported…except a trampoline was blown into a window and several trees were downed in Broomfield. Thunderstorm wind gusts estimated as high as 60 mph blew a fence down in Louisville where winds also toppled a tree near a house. The house received only minor damage. Large hail…strong winds and heavy rain caused substantial property damage in portions of southeastern Boulder and northern Jefferson counties. Damage estimates in the Broomfield area alone were about 1 million dollars. Winds gusted to 81 mph in Broomfield. Large hail…3/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter fell in Evergreen…Lakewood…Englewood…Broomfield…near Morrison…northeast of Boulder…and just east of Denver International Airport.

In 2000…heavy rain fell across a portion of the hi meadow fire burn area near buffalo creek…causing localized flooding. About 3/4 inch of rain fell in 30 minutes over miller gulch. Some culverts become plugged by debris from the fire. As a result…small sections of a U.S. Forest Service road along Miller Creek were washed out. Lightning struck a home in Castle Rock…causing extensive damage to the roof…attic…and second floor.

13

In 1902…west winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts to 48 mph.

In 1910…an apparent dry microburst produced northeast winds sustained to 41 mph.

In 1961…hail as large as 1 inch in diameter was reported near Commerce City.

In 1982…a tornado touched down briefly south of Parker. No damage was reported.

In 1985…thunderstorms drenched the Highlands Ranch area of northern Douglas County with 1.50 inches of rain in just 30 minutes. Half an inch of rain fell in 15 minutes in Littleton.

In 1986…a lightning bolt struck a church steeple in Littleton…toppling it to the ground.

In 1989…thunderstorm winds blew down trees and bent a metal basketball fixture just north of Castle Rock in the Surrey Ridge area.

In 1993…1 inch diameter hail was measured in Lakewood.

In 1995…lightning struck and injured an assistant coach during a baseball game at Highlands Ranch south of Denver.

In 1996…3/4 inch diameter hail fell in Lochbuie with 1 1/2 inch hail measured in Brighton. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 69 mph at Bennett. The strong winds were responsible for flipping three semi-trailer trucks onto their sides along I-70…3 miles east of Bennett. A few cars were also overturned.

In 2001…heavy thunderstorm rain caused flash flooding over south metro Denver. Three inches of rain reportedly fell near the greenwood village police department in the span of 15 minutes. The heavy rain caused toll gate creek to overflow…flooding low lying areas along Parker road. Heavy rainfall also caused local flooding along streets near the Denver technology center. A severe thunderstorm dumped hail to 1 3/4 inches in diameter near Castle Rock.

In 2003…maximum temperature of 100 degrees was a record high for the date.

In 2009…severe thunderstorms produced wind gusts to 70 mph near Parker and Strasburg. At Denver International Airport…west-northwest winds gusted to 40 mph.

13-5

In 2008…a streak of 24 consecutive days of 90 degrees shattered the previous record of 18 consecutive days established in 1901 and 1874. Ironically…no new single day record high temperatures were set in the month of July. In August however…a record of 104 degrees was set on the 1st…and another record of 103 degrees was set on the 2nd. In addition…a record low min of 70 degrees was set on August 2nd.

14

In 1878…the temperature reached a high of 100 degrees in downtown Denver.

In 1906…a thunderstorm produced north winds sustained to 52 mph and 0.53 inch of rain in 10 minutes.

In 1912…a heavy thunderstorm cloudburst in the late afternoon combined with a similar storm to the south of the city to produce widespread flooding on Cherry Creek in downtown Denver…which resulted in two deaths and several injuries. The flooding was the worst since 1864 and covered around 3 square miles of lower downtown. Bridges along Cherry Creek were washed out and water lapped at the floor of the Broadway bridge over the South Platte River…causing authorities to declare it unsafe except for pedestrians. By nightfall… Union Depot was under 2 to 3 feet of water…and railroad and street car traffic was stalled. Those forced from their homes by the surging flood waters took refuge in the Denver auditorium. The flood waters caused great damage to the sewerage system…parkways…bridges and residences and commercial warehouses near Cherry Creek in the wholesale district. Flood damage was estimated at several million dollars. Heavy thunderstorm rainfall of 2.00 inches…of which nearly 1.75 inch fell in 30 minutes in central Denver… Was accompanied by severe thunderstorm winds sustained to 55 mph with gusts as high as 74 mph.

In 1933…thunderstorm rainfall was only 0.01 inch…but northwest winds sustained to 37 mph with gusts to 47 mph produced a dust storm for about 10 minutes during the late afternoon.

In 1967…heavy rain flooded areas of north and west metro Denver…and high water closed street intersections in the city. Crops were damaged…and 200 chickens drowned by flooding northwest of Denver where farm buildings and irrigation facilities were also damaged.

In 1969…a thunderstorm wind gust to 51 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1975…heavy rains caused locally heavy flash flooding along Niver Creek south of Thornton and in other parts of north metro Denver. Over 40 thousand dollars in damage to public property was reported…and numerous homes and yards were damaged.

In 1986…thunderstorm winds blew down a power line in west- central Jefferson County. The storm…as it moved into Denver…snapped tree limbs and damaged a fence near Washington Park. Wind gusts in the area were estimated at 80 to 85 mph.

In 1990…thunderstorm wind gusts to 58 mph were recorded at Buckley Field in Aurora. No damage was reported. Winds gusted to 44 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1993…a severe thunderstorm moved across southern sections of metro Denver. Dime size hail fell in Lakewood…and hail up to one inch diameter was measured at Cheery Creek Reservoir. Later in the afternoon…hail to one inch diameter fell in Golden and Arvada.

In 1994…hail to 1 1/4 inches in diameter fell north of Bennett.

In 1998…dry microburst winds estimated to 70 mph snapped tree branches up to 4 inches in diameter in Brighton where some road signs were twisted and blown down. At Denver International Airport…dry microburst winds gusted to 61 mph.

In 1995…thunderstorm winds gusted to 62 mph near Strasburg.

In 2001…a severe thunderstorm dumped hail to 3/4 inch in diameter in the foothills about 10 miles northwest of Golden.

14-15

In 1985…thunderstorms dumped heavy rain and hail at numerous locations along the Front Range from Denver north. Some of the heaviest rain fell in northern and western suburbs of Denver. Up to 2.6 inches of rain drenched Arvada…and Thornton was soaked with 2 inches in 45 minutes. At least 5 homes in Arvada suffered extensive damage from water and mud…and many streets and basements were flooded. In southern Jefferson County…11 homes were struck by lightning.

15

In 1879…a terrific hail storm occurred in the vicinity of Buffalo Station on the South Park Railroad in the South Platte River canyon about 39 miles south of Denver. Stones as large as hen’s eggs fell thick and fast and broke nearly every pane of glass in the windows of the building. A “waterspout” or cloudburst caused much loss of property from flash flooding on a nearby gulch. The torrent of water caused a deafening roar as it uprooted trees and carried huge Boulders and other debris. It struck the house and sawmill simultaneously and carried them away like straws…leaving little behind. The water continued to rush down the gulch for several hours. Serious damage was done to the South Park Railroad. The track and roadbed were destroyed for several miles. At about the same time…heavy rains in the vicinity of the headwaters of Cherry Creek produced a rapid rise in the creek…which drowned a few head of cattle and washed away two footbridges and some fences. Only 0.10 inch of rainfall was recorded in Denver.

In 1896…a thunderstorm produced sustained southwest winds to 40 mph with gusts to 46 mph.

In 1902…the temperature reached a high of 100 degrees in downtown Denver…which was a record maximum for the date.

In 1929…a thunderstorm did considerable damage to property in the eastern portion of the city. Heavy hail ranging in size from 1/4 to 3/4 inch in diameter…severe lightning… And high winds accompanied the heavy rain. Basements were flooded…and streets were impassable in places for several hours due to the heavy rainfall. Lightning damaged several telephone poles. Hail did extensive damage to gardens and flowers. The hail was up to a foot deep in places. There was no estimate of damage from the storm. A thunderstorm produced only a trace of rain and east winds to 24 mph in downtown Denver.

In 1959…thunderstorm rain totaled 0.41 inch in 8 minutes and winds gusted to an estimated 50 mph near downtown Aurora where half inch diameter hail was also reported. After the storm moved to the east…complete double rainbows were observed from the weather bureau office at Stapleton Airport.

In 1962…hail pelted the area in Adams County around Henderson and Brighton…causing extensive damage to corn…grain…beets…and row crops. Crop damage was estimated at 250 thousand dollars.

In 1963…a man received severe burns when struck by lightning while painting a building in south Denver.

In 1965…a state patrolman sighted a tornado near Bennett. It touched down over open ground…but caused no damage.

In 1967…heavy rains flooded streets and underpasses in south Denver. Heavy rain and minor wind damage were reported in Wheat Ridge…Aurora…Englewood…and Littleton. Basements were flooded and power disrupted. The clouds and rain resulted in a high temperature of only 72 degrees…which was a record low maximum for the date.

In 1974…a severe lightning storm damaged several homes and caused a number of power outages in both Denver and western Arapahoe counties.

In 1975…lightning killed a girl west of Boulder.

In 1982…winds gusted to 60 mph at Stapleton International Airport…and strong winds blew down walls at a construction site in Aurora where a nearby tree was uprooted.

In 1985…0.79 inch of rain fell in 30 minutes at Castle Rock. Much of the town lost power when lightning struck the town’s transformer.

In 1992…a man was struck by lightning while horseback riding near Castle Rock. Two people were struck by lightning near Highlands Ranch in south metro Denver. A man was struck by lightning while riding in the back of a pick-up truck in Franktown. All received minor injuries. Strong thunderstorms moved through east metro Denver…producing large hail and flash flooding. Hail up to 1 1/4 inches in diameter fell near Buckley Air National Guard base. Rainfall of 1 to 3 inches fell in Aurora in less than an hour…leaving water up to 18 inches deep in some areas. Thunderstorm rainfall was measured at 0.97 inch at Stapleton International Airport…where 3/8th inch diameter hail fell and south winds gusted to 44 mph.

In 1993…dime size hail fell in Golden. National weather service observers at Stapleton International Airport sighted a small rope-like funnel overhead for about 3 minutes before it dissipated.

In 1994…a small…short-lived tornado caused damage to a house under construction in Parker.

In 1995…thunderstorm winds of unknown strength downed trees and branches…damaging a porch and nearby cars in Denver.

In 1998…hail to 7/8 inch in diameter fell near Keenesburg.

In 2000…this date marked the end of a near record hot streak for metro Denver. The high temperature at Denver International Airport equaled or exceeded the 90-degree mark for 17 consecutive days…from June 29th. This was one day short of equaling the all time record. The record of 18 consecutive days was set in two different years…July 1st-18th…1874 and July 6th-23rd…1901.

In 2005…severe thunderstorms produced large hail over southeast metro Denver. Hail as large as 1.75 inches in diameter fell in southwest Aurora along with 7/8 inch hail in centennial. Hail to 3/4 inch in diameter was measured near Centennial Airport and near Watkins.

15-16

In 2006…a brief mid July hot spell resulted in two 100 plus degree high temperatures and two daily maximum temperature records. The high temperature climbed to 101 degrees on the 15th and 103 degrees on the 16th at Denver International Airport.

16

In 1911…thunderstorm winds were sustained to 44 mph from the northwest.

In 1959…a thunderstorm produced 3/8 inch diameter hail and a wind gust to 60 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1972…two tornadoes were sighted by the public to the southeast of Aurora. No damage was reported.

In 1978…a thunderstorm wind gust to 52 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1980…a severe thunderstorm ripped through metro Denver… Producing torrential rain…large hail…and strong winds. In Aurora…winds gusted to 65 mph with hail up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter and half an inch of rain in just 10 minutes. Stapleton International Airport was closed for an hour. Large hail also fell in southeast Denver…Lakewood…Parker… And Castle Rock. Up to 1 1/2 inches of rain fell in just 40 minutes. Heavy rains in wheat ridge flooded a shopping center…breaking windows and doors…while causing 100 thousand dollars in damage. Some roofs and windows were damaged throughout metro Denver. At Stapleton International Airport where west winds gusted to 49 mph…1/4 inch hail and 0.77 inch of rain fell.

In 1983…severe thunderstorms dumped large hail over much of metro Denver. Hail to 3/4 inch in diameter fell in Littleton and Northglenn…with 3/4 to 1 inch hail in Arvada…1 to 1 1/2 inch hail in extreme northwest Denver…1 3/4 inch hail in Lakewood…1 1/2 inch hail in south Arvada and just northeast of Aurora…and 1 5/8 inch hail on Green Mountain.

In 1994…spotters reported a brief tornado touchdown in an open field just north of Fort Lupton. No damage or injuries were reported.

In 2000…very moist and unstable weather conditions…along with low level upslope flow during the late afternoon and evening…combined to produce heavy thunderstorm rainfall… Which caused urban and small stream flooding across metro Denver. Rainfall amounts generally ranged from 1 to 3 inches with the heaviest rainfall occurring during the evening hours. Two miles east of white ranch in northern Jefferson County… An automated rain gage measured 3.86 inches of rain. Since the rain fell in a relatively open area…no flood damage was reported. However…in greenwood village near the intersection of Peoria and Belleview…the streets were closed for several hours with as much as 2 feet of standing water covering the roadways. Two campers near Mt. Evans were injured by lightning and stranded overnight by the inclement weather. Both received minor injuries.

In 2003…the high temperature of 101 degrees was a record maximum temperature for the date.

In 2004…locally heavy rainfall of unknown amount caused parts of the Virginia Canyon Road near Idaho Springs to wash out. The road had to be closed temporarily.

In 2005…the temperature climbed to a high of 102 degrees at Denver International Airport. This was a new record maximum temperature for the date at the time.

16-18

In 1997…an extended hot spell resulted in 3 temperature records being set. The maximum temperature reached 98 degrees on each of the days…setting records on the 16th and 18th. The low temperature of 71 degrees on the 17th was a record high minimum for the date. The high temperature reached 100 degrees on the 17th at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

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