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March 28 to April 3 – This week in Denver weather history

Sunday, March 28th, 2010 6:20am MST
March 28 to April 3 - This week in Denver weather history

March 28 to April 3 - This week in Denver weather history

Looking at historical weather records can oftentimes provide insight into what weather we can expect over a given period of time.  As we saw this past week, while the calendar says spring, Old Man Winter can return very quickly.  Our look at this week in Denver weather history we see much of the same – major snowstorms and blizzards that impact travel and knock out power to residents.  Also, these spring snowstorms are often moisture-laden and their sheer weight can be damaging. 

27-28

In 1951…heavy snowfall totaled 6.5 inches at Stapleton Airport where north winds gusted to 38 mph on the 27th and 41 mph on the 28th.
 
In 1972…heavy snowfall of 6.2 inches was measured at Stapleton International Airport…where northeast winds gusted to only 21 mph.
 
In 1980…a major blizzard struck the northeastern Colorado plains…closing both I-70 and I-76 to the east of Denver for a time.  Some areas received 1 to 2 feet of snow.  Drifts were 4 to 8 feet high.  The storm killed many young livestock.  At Stapleton International Airport…snowfall totaled 6.7 inches from the storm and north winds gusted to 29 mph.
 
In 2002…high winds developed in the foothills west of metro Denver.  Winds gusted to 81 mph near Fritz Peak…72 mph at Rollinsville…and 70 mph at Blackhawk.  West winds gusted to 51 mph on the 27th and to 45 mph on the 28th at Denver International Airport where the temperature warmed to a high of 69 degrees on the 28th.

27-29

In 1948…high winds raked Boulder.  A wind gust to 75 mph was recorded at Valmont.  Sustained winds in excess of 35 mph were estimated in Boulder.  Minor damage was reported.
 
In 1961…heavy snowfall totaled 9.5 inches at Stapleton Airport over the 3 day period.  Most of the snow…5.3 inches…fell on the 28th.  Winds were generally light and gusted to only 22 mph from the north.

28   

In 1886…the lowest recorded temperature in March…11 degrees below zero…occurred.
 
In 1911…a thunderstorm produced snowfall of 0.4 inch…which was the only measurable snowfall of the month…making the month the second least snowiest March on record.
 
In 1962…a vigorous cold front produced strong winds across eastern Colorado.  North winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton Airport where visibility was briefly reduced to 3/4 mile in blowing dust.  A construction worker was injured in Aurora when he was struck by a windblown piece of plywood.

28-29

In 1891…rain changed to snow and totaled 9.7 inches in the city.  Northeast winds were sustained to 12 mph with gusts to 28 mph on the 28th.
 
In 1910…a strong cold front brought much wind…rain…and snow to the city.  Rain on the 28th changed to snow early on the 29th.  Snowfall totaled only 2.8 inches…but north winds were sustained to 50 mph on the 29th. Precipitation from the storm totaled 0.96 inch.
 
In 1994…moist upslope winds combined with an upper level system to dump 5 to 7 inches of snow along the eastern foothills and across metro Denver.  Snowfall totaled 6.3 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 39 mph.  Thirteen inches of new snow were measured at the Eldora Ski Area west of Boulder.

28-30

In 1949…a major winter storm dumped 11.3 inches of snow over downtown Denver.  Snowfall totaled 10.4 inches at Stapleton Airport.  North to northeast winds were sustained to 17 mph.
 
In 1985…a slow moving snow storm moved across the state. Denver received only 4.0 inches of snowfall with amounts in the foothills totaling 1 to 2 feet.  Still…this was enough snow in Denver to cause flight delays of up to 6 hours at Stapleton International Airport on the night of the 29th. East winds gusted to 28 mph on the 28th.

29  

In 1887…west winds sustained to 44 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 62 degrees.
 
In 1921…post-frontal northeast winds were sustained to 46 mph with gusts to 52 mph.
 
In 1925…southeast winds were sustained to 46 mph with gusts to 48 mph.  These were the strongest winds of the month that year.  The winds warmed the temperature to a high of 72 degrees.
 
In 1934…a construction worker was killed by lightning as he walked with a shovel on his shoulder along Cherry Creek in the city.  The thunderstorm produced light rain.
 
In 1967…a southwest wind gust to 52 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.  The warm Chinook winds warmed the temperature to 79 degrees equaling the record for the date.
 
In 1979…a tornado touched down 4 miles southwest of Parker… But caused no reported damage.
 
In 1998…four children attending a birthday party in Denver were injured when an apparent dry microburst produced a sudden strong wind gust which blew an inflatable playhouse they were occupying into a neighbor’s yard.  The playhouse scraped the roof of the host’s two-story house…then landed in the adjoining yard.  The children were treated for minor head injuries and cuts.

29-30

In 1938…overnight heavy snowfall was 6.3 inches over downtown Denver.
 
In 1982…strong winds buffeted metro Denver…breaking windows and damaging roofs.  Wind gusts to 90 mph were recorded in Boulder and 51 mph at Stapleton Airport.  The strong winds flattened a condominium under construction in Lakewood.
 
In 1991…1 to 6 inches of snow fell across metro Denver with the heaviest snow confined to the foothills.  Six inches of snow was recorded at South Platte in the foothills southwest of Denver and 3 inches at Castle Rock.  Snowfall totaled only 0.7 inch at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 33 mph on the 29th.

29-31

In 1970…snowfall totaled 6.0 inches at Stapleton International Airport.  Heavy snow accumulation in Boulder on the 29th caused the collapse of a carport at an apartment building…damaging 11 automobiles.  Northeast winds gusted to 24 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

30   

In 1895…rain changed to sleet…then snow…and totaled 8.0 inches in downtown Denver.  Strong post-frontal northeast winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts to 61 mph. Temperatures hovered around 30 degrees all day.
 
In 1968…microburst winds associated with virga and brief light rain gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
 
In 1983…winds gusted to 82 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder with peak gusts of 70 to 80 mph in the foothills.  Minor damage occurred at a construction site and to some homes in Boulder.  West winds gusted to 39 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

30-31

In 1896…heavy snowfall totaled 7.5 inches in downtown Denver.  Northwest winds gusted to 26 mph.
 
In 1897…rain changed to snow during the early morning of the 30th and totaled 6.2 inches before ending during the late morning of the 31st.  Northwest winds were sustained to 35 mph with gusts to 46 mph.
 
In 1929…heavy snowfall of 7.0 inches was recorded over downtown Denver.  Northwest winds were sustained to 23 mph on the 30th.
 
In 1953…heavy snowfall totaled 8.6 inches at Stapleton Airport where northeast winds gusted to 23 mph.
 
In 1955…a vigorous cold front produced north winds at 40 mph with gusts as high as 54 mph at Stapleton Airport.  Rain and snow showers and blowing dust accompanied the front. Snowfall totaled only 0.1 inch at Stapleton Airport on the 31st.
 
In 1988…snow began falling on the afternoon of the 30th and continued through the 31st…burying metro Denver.  Twelve to 18 inches of snow fell in the foothills to the west of Denver and Boulder with 6 to 12 inches across the rest of metro Denver.  The storm disrupted aircraft operations at Stapleton International Airport where snowfall totaled 7.1 inches and north winds gusting to 32 mph reduced the visibility to less than 1/4 mile at times…causing air traffic delays of 2 to 3 hours.
 
In 2000…heavy snow once again developed over the foothills and the higher terrain to the south of metro Denver. Snowfall totals from the storm included:  16 inches atop squaw mountain…15 inches near Rollinsville…13 inches near Evergreen…12 inches near Morrison…11 inches in Coal Creek Canyon…10 inches near Blackhawk and in Eldorado Springs…9 inches at Ken Caryl Ranch and Larkspur… And 8 inches near Elizabeth.  Snowfall totaled only 4.1 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.  North winds gusted to 32 mph at Denver International Airport on the 30th.
 
In 2005…a strong spring storm intensified over the eastern plains of Colorado and produced near-blizzard conditions to the east and southeast of Denver overnight. North to northwest winds from 20 to 35 mph with gusts to 50 mph produced extensive blowing snow and caused near zero visibilities at times and snow drifts from 2 to 4 feet in depth.  Snowfall amounts included: 12 inches near Bennett…8 inches around Castle Rock… 7 inches near Sedalia…and 6 inches near Parker. Only 0.3 inch of snow was reported at Denver Stapleton. At Denver International Airport…north winds gusted to 37 mph on the 30th and 36 mph on the 31st.

31   

In 1873…high winds damaged buildings in the city. Northwest winds with sustained velocities to near 40 mph blew from 9:00 am until sunset.
 
In 1937…north to northeast winds sustained to 25 mph with gusts to 32 mph produced a light dust storm in the city during the afternoon.
 
In 1971…wind gusts to 92 mph were recorded in the south hills area of Boulder.  At the National Bureau of Standards in Boulder sustained winds of 46 mph with gusts to 83 mph were measured.  Damage was minor.  Northwest winds gusted to 41 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
 
In 1983…high winds with gusts to 70 mph in Boulder caused minor damage.

31-1 

In 1876…heavy snow began during the night and lasted all day on the 31st and through the morning of the 1st.  The average depth of snow fall was 10 to 12 inches…but strong winds whipped the snow into drifts of 8 to 10 feet deep on the streets of the city.  Precipitation from the storm was 1.03 inches on the 31st and 0.37 inch on the 1st.
 
In 1891…heavy moist snowfall totaled 18.0 inches in the city.  Northeast winds were sustained to 20 mph with gusts to 24 mph on the 31st.
 
In 1936…northeast winds sustained to 21 mph produced a light dust storm in the city.
 
In 1975…a major storm dumped 9.3 inches of snowfall at Stapleton International Airport where northwest winds gusted to 41 mph.  Rain changed to snow on the afternoon of the 31st…reducing the visibility to as low as 1/8 mile. Snow continued all day on the 1st and accumulated to a depth of 8 inches on the ground.  The minimum temperature of 10 degrees on the 1st set a new record low for the date.

31-2 

In 1980…the second major blizzard in 5 days buried much of eastern Colorado under 6 to 12 inches of snow.  Some drifts were up to 22 feet high.  Hundreds of travelers were stranded.  Over 3000 families were without power. Livestock losses were high.  Metro Denver escaped the main brunt of this storm.  At Stapleton International Airport…only 6.3 inches of snow fell over the 3-day period and north winds gusted to only 22 mph on the 1st.

31-3 

In 1979…total snowfall of 6.6 inches was measured at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 31 mph on the 31st.  The greatest accumulation of snow on the ground was 3 inches on the 1st.

31-4 

In 1905…much rain and some snow occurred over the 5 days behind an apparent cold front.  Precipitation totaled 2.00 inches.  There was a thunderstorm on the 3rd.  Snowfall totaled 3.0 inches on the 4th.  North winds were sustained to 34 mph on the 1st and 2nd and to 30 mph on the 3rd. High temperatures during the period ranged from the upper 30’s to the lower 40’s.  Low temperatures were in the upper 20’s and lower 30’s.

1    

In 1987…a vigorous cold front produced 2.3 inches of snowfall at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 39 mph.  The temperature dropped from a maximum of 59 degrees at mid-morning to a low of 25 degrees at midnight.

1-2  

In 1963…strong winds buffeted metro Denver…while wind- whipped fires consumed grassland on the plains.  A child was injured by a windblown falling tree in Castle Rock. Southwest winds gusted to 52 mph at Stapleton Airport… Causing some blowing dust.  The worst fire storm burned over 25 thousand acres of grazing land in southern weld County near Roggen northeast of Denver.
 
In 1984…a snowstorm with near-blizzard conditions over eastern Colorado closed many roads…including I-70 and I-76 east of Denver and I-25 between Denver and Colorado springs. At Stapleton International Airport…snowfall totaled only 2.5 inches…but north winds gusted to 45 mph on the 2nd.
 
In 1999…moist upslope conditions allowed heavy snow to develop in the Front Range foothills where snowfall totals included:  10 inches at Aspen Park and Evergreen; 9 inches at Turkey Creek; 8 inches at Idaho Springs and Genesee; 7 inches at Aspen Springs…Crow Hill…Intercanyon…and Lake George.  In metro Denver snowfall totals included: 10 inches south of Sedalia; 8 inches in Littleton; 7 inches at Morrison; 6 inches at Highlands Ranch; and 4 to 5 inches in Northglenn…Parker and near Louisville.  Snowfall totaled 4.7 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

1-3  

In 1945…snow fell across metro Denver for a total of 51 consecutive hours.  While the storm was not accompanied by excessive snow…the long duration made the event a heavy snow producer.  Snowfall totaled 10.7 inches in downtown Denver with 9.5 inches recorded at Stapleton Airport.  North winds were sustained to 21 mph on the 1st; otherwise winds were not strong.  The air mass was very cold for April. The high temperatures of 26 on the 2nd and 17 on the 3rd were record low maximums for the dates.  The latter was also a record low maximum for the month.  Warm weather following the storm quickly melted the snow.
 
In 1973…heavy snow fell at Stapleton International Airport where 8.7 inches were measured.  Snow began late on the 1st and continued through early morning on the 3rd.  Thunder accompanied the snow during the late morning and afternoon of the 2nd.  North winds gusted to 33 mph on the 2nd and 37 mph on the 3rd.  Snow only accumulated to a depth of 5 inches on the ground due to melting.
 
In 1977 a foot of snow fell in Boulder and Broomfield.  The Denver-Boulder turnpike was closed for an hour after numerous minor traffic accidents.  At Stapleton International Airport…snowfall totaled 4.7 inches and southeast winds gusted to 32 mph on the 2nd.  The greatest depth of snow on the ground was only 3 inches due to melting.

2    

In 1894…northwest winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts to 48 mph.  The warm Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 70 degrees.
 
In 1925…north winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 42 mph.
 
In 1957…a heavy snow storm dumped 17.3 inches of snow at Stapleton Airport.  Strong gusty north winds to 31 mph reduced visibilities to 1/8 mile at times and created blizzard conditions.  The 24-hour snowfall had been exceeded only twice in previous records…and the 24 hour precipitation of 2.05 inches was the third heaviest of previous record during April.
 
In 1959…a cold front produced strong gusty winds across metro Denver.  North winds gusting to 50 and 60 mph caused some minor damage to power lines and signs and caused dust storms on the plains east of Denver.  A wind gust to 49 mph was recorded at Stapleton Airport.
 
In 1966…northwest winds gusting to 52 mph produced blowing dust…which briefly reduced the visibility to 1 mile at Stapleton International Airport.
 
In 1975…the all-time lowest recorded temperature in April… 2 degrees below zero…occurred.  This is also the latest below zero reading for the season.
 
In 1982…a strong windstorm struck all of metro Denver… Causing minor damage.  Wind gusts to 127 mph were recorded at Rocky Flats south of Boulder…116 mph at Wondervu…100 mph at Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield…and 56 mph at Stapleton International Airport.  The strong winds whipped up blowing dust…briefly reducing the visibility to 3/4 mile.
 
In 1986…heavy thunderstorms produced wind gusts to about 70 mph in Boulder.  A severe thunderstorm wind gust to 62 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.  The strong winds kicked up thick clouds of blowing dust severely restricting surface visibility.
 
In 1997…a pacific storm left heavy snow in the foothills with lesser amounts across the city.  Snowfall totaled 12 inches near Blackhawk…11 inches at Golden Gate Canyon…10 inches at Conifer and Crow Hill…9 inches at Evergreen…5 inches at Sedalia…and 4 inches at Castle Rock and Morrison.  Only 2.1 inches of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.  Northwest winds gusted to 21 mph at Denver International Airport.
 
In 1998…a major spring storm brought heavy snow to metro Denver and the foothills.  Snowfall totals ranged from 12 to 22 inches in the foothills with 4 to 12 inches across metro Denver.  Snowfall totals included:  22.5 inches near Conifer; 13 inches in Coal Creek Canyon; 12 inches near Blackhawk…Eldora…and Genesee; 10 inches near Evergreen and Nederland; 9 inches in Lakewood; 8 inches in Broomfield and northwest Denver; and 7.0 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.  Northeast winds gusted to 31 mph at Denver International Airport.
 
In 2002…snowfall was only a trace at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.  This was the only snowfall of the month…ranking the month…along with previous months… The 2nd least snowiest on record.

2-3  

In 1955…strong west to southwest winds raked metro Denver on both days.  Sustained winds as high as 37 mph with gusts to 60 mph were recorded at Stapleton Airport where the visibility was reduced to 1/4 mile in blowing dust.
 
In 1974…a heavy snowfall of 6.7 inches was accompanied by northeast wind gusts to 33 mph which produced some blowing snow across metro Denver.  Over eastern Colorado many highways and schools were closed due to near-blizzard conditions from the storm.
 
In 1986…the worst snow storm of the season blasted metro Denver.  Heavy snow and high winds combined to close roads… Schools…and airports.  Portions of all interstate highways out of Denver were closed at times.  The snow came after an exceptionally mild late winter and early spring;  trees and bushes had already bloomed and leafed out.  The snow and wind snapped many of these…causing power outages.  Total snowfall amounts in metro Denver ranged from 1 to 2 feet with 2 to 3 feet in the foothills.  Snowfall totaled 12.6 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusting to 39 mph reduced the visibility to 1/8 mile in snow and blowing snow.  Most of the snow fell on the 3rd when temperatures hovered around 30 degrees for most of the day. The heavy snow halted traffic and closed businesses.  A 59- year-old man was found dead from exposure in northwest Denver.  The roof of a toy store in Northglenn collapsed. A 100 thousand square foot section of a greenhouse roof collapsed in Golden…destroying over a million dollars worth of plants.
 
In 2000…a combination of strong instability and moist upslope winds allowed for a heavy…wet spring snowstorm to develop in and near the Front Range foothills.  The heaviest snow occurred in southern Jefferson County.  Storm totals included:  14 inches near Conifer…12 inches near Evergreen and on Floyd Hill; 11 inches near Blackhawk…Morrison…and Tiny Town; 10 inches at Aspen Springs and Eldora Ski Area; 9 inches at Chief Hosa; and 8 inches at both Golden Gate Canyon and Rollinsville.  Only 2.1 inches of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North winds gusted to 36 mph at Denver International Airport on the 2nd.

2-4  

In 1934…snowfall totaled 8.2 inches in downtown Denver from the afternoon of the 2nd through the early morning of the 4th.  Most of the snow…6.8 inches…fell on the 3rd. Rain changed to snow behind a strong cold front on the afternoon of the 2nd.  The cold front first appeared as a long-cigar shaped squall cloud to the north of the city. Strong north winds at sustained speeds of 33 mph with gusts to 43 mph produced much blowing dust and an abrupt fall in temperature…from a high of 68 on the 2nd to a low of 22 on the 3rd.
 
In 1964…a major storm dumped 10.9 inches of heavy wet snow on Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 35 mph.  Most of the snow…10.0 inches…fell on the 3rd.

2-5  

In 1918…snowfall totaled 12.4 inches over downtown Denver. Most of the snow fell on the 3rd and 4th.  Temperatures were in the 20’s and 30’s.  Northwest winds were sustained to 24 mph on the 2nd.

3    

In 1872…skies were cloudy and threatening until 11:30 am when it commenced to rain and continued to rain until 3:00 pm…when it turned into heavy snow with a very brisk north wind.  Snow continued all night.  Telegraph wires were downed between Denver and Cheyenne…and the night report could not be sent.  Precipitation (rain and melted snow) measured 0.82 inch.
 
In 1887…north winds were sustained to 43 mph.
 
In 1894…northwest winds were sustained to 41 mph with gusts to 50 mph.  The warm Chinook winds on the 2nd became a Bora as the temperature warmed to a high of only 52 degrees.
 
In 1900…southeast winds were sustained to 52 mph with gusts as high as 61 mph.
 
In 1945…the temperature warmed to only 17 degrees…the all-time record low maximum for the month.
 
In 1968…a snow storm of unusual severity for so late in the season caused ground blizzard conditions with near zero visibility in snow at times and severe drifting of snow over portions of northeastern Colorado and metro Denver. Highways were blocked to the north of Denver and to Colorado springs.  Rain at the start of the storm contributed to power and communications outages.  In metro Denver…snowfall totaled 7.0 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 45 mph.
 
In 1978…a tornado was sighted by a national weather service observer 3 miles north of Stapleton International Airport near the rocky mountain arsenal.  Security police on the arsenal called it a large dust devil…but four commercial airline pilots confirmed the phenomenon as a tornado or funnel cloud.
 
In 1981…a snowstorm hit northeastern Colorado…dumping 6 to 12 inches of snow in the foothills and 4 to 8 inches on the plains north of Denver.  Snowfall totaled only 2.0 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 24 mph.
 
In 1985…strong winds of 60 to 70 mph occurred in the foothills.  The driver of a car in Nederland was slightly injured when the wind toppled an utility pole onto his vehicle.  Northwest winds gusted to 53 mph at Stapleton International Airport where the visibility was briefly reduced to 2 miles in blowing dust.
 
In 1989…a northwest wind gust to 51 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

3-5  

In 1996…the foothills west of Denver received 6 to 8 inches of new snow.  Only 0.8 inch of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport…along with some freezing drizzle on the 4th and 5th.  North-northeast winds gusted to 30 mph at Denver International Airport on the 3rd.

3-6  

In 1898…snowfall totaled 8.7 inches in downtown Denver over the 4 days.  Northeast winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph on the 3rd.
 
In 1983…a prolonged heavy snow storm blanketed the area along with very cold temperatures.  The greatest amounts of snow fell in the foothills where 24 to 42 inches were measured.  A foot of snow fell in Boulder.  Snow fell for 50 consecutive hours at Stapleton International Airport on the 3rd through the 5th with a total snowfall of 8.8 inches and a maximum accumulation on the ground of 6 inches on the 5th.  In Denver…the mercury failed to rise above freezing for 3 consecutive days…on the 4th…5th…and 6th…for the first time ever in April.  Five daily temperature records were set from the 4th through the 6th. Record low temperatures of 12 degrees occurred on the 5th with 7 degrees on the 6th.  Record low maximum temperatures of 25 degrees occurred on the 4th…27 degrees on the 5th… And 28 degrees on the 6th.

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