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May 27 to June 2 – This Week in Denver Weather History

Sunday, May 27th, 2012 4:59am MDT
This Week In Denver Weather History

May 27 to June 2 - This Week in Denver Weather History

A very eventful week in Denver weather history with everything from thunderstorms and tornadoes to yes, even snow.

From the National Weather Service:

20-27

In 2002…lightning sparked a wildfire near Deckers. Extremely dry conditions and very strong winds the following day allowed the fire…known as the Schoonover…to consume 3850 acres before it could be contained. Thirteen structures were destroyed…including 4 homes…resulting in 2.2 million dollars in damage.

26-31

In 1995…a cool period with light morning showers and moderate to heavy afternoon showers and thunderstorms pushed rivers already swollen from mountain snow melt over their banks causing minor flooding. Streams and rivers such as the South Platte and Boulder Creek flooded meadowlands…bike paths…roads near streams…and other low lying areas. No significant property damage was reported and crop damage was unknown. Rainfall totaled 1.79 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport and only 1.51 inches at Denver International Airport.

27

In 1874…an apparent thunderstorm gust front reached the city at 6:40 pm. Strong southwest winds sustained to 48 mph for a few minutes produced large columns of dust in the city and on the prairie. There was no rain in the city.

In 1942…a duststorm swept into the city…but no damage was reported. West winds were sustained to 23 mph.

In 1953…a heavy hailstorm caused an estimated 100 thousand dollars damage across metro Denver. Larger than golf ball size hail fell in Westminster and north Denver. Only 1/8 inch hail was measured at Stapleton Airport.

In 1955…west-northwest winds at 35 mph with gusts as high as 58 mph briefly reduced the visibility to 1/2 mile in blowing dust at Stapleton Airport.

In 1981…lightning damaged power lines west of Lakewood and blew up a transformer at the Denver Federal Center. Hail 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter was reported in Lakewood and on I-25 south of Denver.

In 2001…hail as large as 3/4 inch in diameter was measured near Commerce City.

In 2003…hail to 3/4 inch in diameter fell near Central City.

In 2006…unusually warm weather for late May produced two temperature records. The high temperature of 93 degrees was a record maximum for the date. The low temperature of 59 degrees equaled the record high minimum temperature for the date. Both previous records occurred in 1895.

28

In 1884…a thunderstorm apparently produced large hail. The hail stones were noted as unusually large…but the diameter of the stones was not measured. The hail fell for only 5 minutes. Precipitation from the storm was only 0.05 inch.

In 1898…heavy thunderstorm rainfall totaled 1.74 inches in downtown Denver. Hail of unknown size accompanied the storm.

In 1981…a woman in Aurora was struck and killed by lightning. Another bolt injured a boy on a bicycle at about the same time a short distance away. About half an inch of rain in 20 minutes caused street flooding in the area. A tornado touched down for about 2 minutes some 3 miles north of Stapleton International Airport.

In 1982…severe thunderstorms produced golf ball size hail in southeast Denver…Aurora…and Strasburg. The large hailstones undoubtedly damaged some cars in the area. At Stapleton International Airport…only 1/2 inch diameter hail was measured.

In 1991…golf ball size hail fell in Brighton. No damage was reported. Later…hail ranging in size from 3/4 inch to 1 1/2 inches in diameter fell over southwestern sections of metro Denver. In some areas…hail piled up a few inches in depth.

In 1994…thunderstorm wind gusts to 65 mph damaged 16 small airplanes and a hangar at centennial airport.

In 2001…severe thunderstorms produced large hail across metro Denver. Hail as large as 1 inch in diameter fell in Lakewood…Wheat Ridge…northwest Denver…near Watkins… Bennett…and Keenesburg. Hail 3/4 inch or larger fell in Brighton. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 58 mph at Denver International Airport. A small tornado (f0) touched down near Bennett…but did no damage.

29

In 1934…the low temperature dipped to only 66 degrees…the all-time record highest minimum temperature for the month of May.

In 1958…a microburst caused a brief wind gust to 56 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1964…heavy rain caused flooding in the Harvey Gulch area of southeast Denver. The high water damaged homes… Businesses…streets…and bridges. At Stapleton International Airport…1.33 inches of rain were measured with 1.76 inches total rainfall on the 29th and 30th. The heavy rain during the last week of the month was the first significant precipitation since April 3rd.

In 1967…3/4 to 1 inch diameter hail stones fell in the city of Denver…but caused no reported damage. Hail as large as 3/4 inch was measured at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1975…the heaviest last snowfall of the season occurred when 5.6 inches of snow were measured at Stapleton International Airport. Rain all day on the 28th changed to snow on the 29th and accumulated to a depth of 4 inches on the ground. Northwest winds gusted to 31 mph. Precipitation (rain and melted snow) on the 28th and 29th totaled 1.48 inches.

In 1982…one man was killed and two others injured by a lightning strike as they stood under a tree in the city of Denver’s Washington Park.

In 1987…7/8 inch diameter hail fell near Castle Rock.

In 1990…thunderstorms over metro Denver produced several small funnel clouds and two small tornadoes. The first tornado (f0) touched down in northwest Denver and caused roof damage to a house and snapped off the tops of several trees. A second tornado (f1) touched down in Northglenn and moved into Thornton damaging a group of self storage garages…several vehicles…a wooden fence…several trees… And the roof of an auto parts store. No injuries were reported. The storms also caused minor street flooding across northern and western sections of metro Denver. Rainfall totals ranged from 1 to 3 inches. Lightning started a small fire at a home in northwest Denver. The fire was confined to the front rooms and was quickly extinguished. Snow plows were used to clear 2 to 4 inches of pea to marble size hail from a stretch of U.S. Highway 285 in turkey creek canyon. Lightning felled a tree in northeast Denver…while strong winds snapped off several large tree limbs in the same area. Thunderstorm rainfall totaled 0.82 inch at Stapleton International Airport where southwest winds gusted to 30 mph.

In 1991…lightning struck a 13 year old boy in a field in Fort Lupton. The boy was in critical condition in an area hospital for 2 days before recovering.

In 1995…lightning struck a soccer goal post and injured 6 adults viewing a soccer game in Arvada. Although no one received a direct hit from the lightning…all escaped with only minor injuries…except one woman who was hospitalized.

In 1996…large hail…3/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter… Struck Lakewood and west Denver. Lightning sparked a small fire when it struck an oil storage tank 5 miles west of Brighton.

In 2001…lightning sparked a fire in an apartment complex in Aurora…forcing the evacuation of 24 units. Most of the fire damage was confined to the attic. Damage was estimated at 100 thousand dollars.

In 2004…a man and his son were struck by lightning while practicing on the driving range at the meadows golf club in southwest metro Denver. The father was killed by the bolt…and his 16 year old son seriously injured. Three other people standing nearby received only minor injuries.

In 2010…hail up to 7/8 inch in diameter was reported in Broomfield.

29-1

In 1894…heavy rain combined with snowmelt runoff caused widespread flooding over the South Platte River basin. Rainfall was heaviest in the foothills where 5 to 8 inches were measured over the 4 days. Heavy rainfall west of Boulder flooded mining towns and damaged mining properties. In the canyons above Boulder…railroads and roads were washed out along with many bridges. The floodwaters spread into central Boulder and covered a wide area from university hill north to near Mapleton Hill to a maximum depth of 8 feet. Many houses were swept away…and every bridge in Boulder was destroyed. A few people…trapped in their homes by the floodwaters… Had to be rescued. However…the gradual rise of the flood waters resulted in only one death. Boulder creek spread to a width of nearly one mile in the pasture land to the east of Boulder. Extensive flooding on left hand creek north of Boulder washed away railroad and wagon bridges. The heavy cloudbursts caused flooding on bear creek…which washed away bridges…railroad tracks…and structures and destroyed the canyon roadway. Morrison sustained the heaviest flood damage on bear creek. In Denver…rainfall totaled only 1.50 inches on the 30th and 31st…but the heavy rainfall on upstream tributaries of the South Platte River caused the river to rise as much as 10 feet above the low water mark in the city…which caused some flooding of pasture land downstream to a depth of 6 feet near Brighton.

30

In 1875…a windstorm lasting almost all day produced sustained winds to 42 mph.

In 1935…southeast winds sustained to 29 mph with gusts to 34 mph produced a moderate duststorm during the afternoon.

In 1938…heavy thunderstorm rain and hail pummeled downtown Denver during the evening hours. Rainfall accumulated to 1.63 inches. Hail accumulated to a depth of 18 inches.

In 1948…a localized thunderstorm caused flooding on sand creek in Aurora and northeast Denver. Rainfall was only 0.49 inch in downtown Denver where light hail also fell.

In 1963…a golfer died of injuries received when struck by lightning on a golf course southwest of Denver. A warehouse in Denver was damaged and its contents destroyed by a lightning-caused fire.

In 1967…up to 4.00 inches of rain in Lakewood and Wheat Ridge caused flooding of roads and basements. Water was several feet deep in some yards. Many streets were temporarily closed. Hail as large as 1 inch in diameter fell in Wheat Ridge. Hail piled up to 2 feet deep in some low lying areas of east and southeast Denver. Snowplows were employed to remove the hail. Stapleton International Airport…where west winds gusted to 39 mph…received 1.51 inches of rain and hail…which forced the closure of the runways for an hour. Hail stones to 3/4 inch in diameter were measured at Buckley Field. A funnel cloud was sighted near south Wadsworth Blvd. And bear creek. A tornado touched down briefly in the vicinity of 60th and 62nd avenues near north Washington Street. The storm uprooted trees and damaged one building. Doors were ripped from a business house…widely scattering irrigation pipe. In addition…a total of 3 funnel clouds were sighted in that area.

In 1970…hail up to 1 inch in diameter fell at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1976…a single thunderstorm crossed south metro Denver producing a funnel cloud 2 miles south of Arapahoe Road and Broadway. The storm moved over Buckley Field producing a funnel cloud and 1/2 inch diameter hail. As the storm moved northeast of the city…a large tornado touched down near east 59th Ave and Tower Road and was on the ground for 20 minutes. It demolished a 60-foot-long cinderblock cow shed…tore a wall from a machinery shed…tore shingles off the roof of a farmhouse nearby…and felled 12 trees on one farm. A boy in a feed shed 20 feet from a destroyed building was not injured.

In 1977…3/4 to 1 inch diameter hail fell at or near Stapleton International Airport. One inch to baseball size hail fell in south Denver…damaging some homes and extensively damaging some airplanes at Arapahoe County Airport…now Centennial Airport. Hail covered highways to a depth of 6 to 8 inches in south Denver.

In 1978…two funnel clouds were sighted 5 miles south of Stapleton International Airport. Hail up to 1 1/4 inches in diameter was reported in Wheat Ridge and northwest Denver. Only 1/2 inch diameter hail fell at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1989…golf ball size hail fell at the junction of I-25 and I-225. One inch diameter hail fell in Littleton.

In 1990…a line of severe thunderstorms crossed metro Denver… Producing wind gusts to 60 mph and scattered areas of pea to marble size hail. Small trees and branches were blown down by the strong thunderstorm winds…which also caused minor power outages across southern and eastern sections of metro Denver. The strong winds uprooted a 25- to 30-foot tree in the acres green subdivision of northern Douglas County. The tree blocked a busy street for several hours. A pilot reported hail as large as 1 1/2 inches in diameter covering the ground near the north end of a runway at Stapleton International Airport. Heavy rain caused a rock and mud slide that partially closed the Boulder canyon highway 10 miles west of Boulder. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 41 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2001…lightning ignited a fire which destroyed a luxury home on bear mountain near Evergreen. Estimated damage was set at 1 million dollars.

In 2003…flash flooding occurred in the Hayman fire burn area after as much as 1 inch of rain fell in 30 minutes. The heavy rainfall washed out many access roads and closed State Highway 67 between Deckers and west creek. A 3-foot wall of water ran down Fourmile Creek from the YMCA camp at Shady Brook…damaging one building in the camp and flooding roads. Hail as large as 3/4 inch in diameter fell near Roggen in weld County.

In 2005…lightning struck as least 20 homes in Westminster. Only minor damage was reported. Severe thunderstorms produced hail as large as 1.25 inches in and near Fort Lupton and hail to 3/4 inch near Indian Hills in Jefferson County.

30-31

In 1935…heavy thunderstorm rains overnight caused flash flooding east of the city on both Kiowa and bijou creeks… Resulting in a total of 9 deaths. Most of the damage was on Kiowa Creek where there were more structures. The water rose rapidly during the storm…ripping houses and stores from their foundations and sweeping them downstream. Precipitation in Denver totaled only 0.01 inch. Hail fell in the city for a short time. The hail was very small and caused no damage.

In 1983…a late storm of rain and snow hit the Front Range. Over an inch of rain fell at some spots…and above 7 thousand feet…1 to 5 inches of snow whitened the ground. Some snowflakes even fell in the western suburbs of metro Denver on the night of the 30th.

In 2002…unseasonably warm weather at the end of the month resulted in 3 temperature records. High temperature of 91 degrees on the 30th equaled the record maximum for the date. Low temperature of 61 degrees on the 31st was a record high minimum for the date. High temperature of 93 degrees on the 31st was a record maximum for the date.

31

In 1917…rainfall totaled 0.55 inch and was mixed briefly with snow around midday. Only a trace of snow fell. Cold temperatures during the day resulted in a high of 44 degrees and a low of 35 degrees. The month closed as the coldest May on record with a mean temperature of only 48.7 degrees…about 8 degrees below normal. The cold temperatures during the month had a marked effect on shade trees and shrubs in the city. Elms were just starting to leaf. Leaves on cottonwoods and maples were only half formed. Lilacs were just blooming…and snowball clusters would not bloom for days.

In 1959…the public reported a tornado briefly touching the ground 10 miles south of Stapleton Airport. No damage was reported.

In 1984…a thunderstorm microburst produced a wind gust to 67 mph…7 miles east of Boulder.

In 1991…hail to golf ball size pummeled southern and southeastern sections of metro Denver and continued on east to watkins. Several houses and cars were damaged. Later… Thunderstorms dumped heavy rain across the city of Denver… Causing street flooding in an area just south of downtown and just northwest of downtown. Water was up to 10 inches deep over northwest Denver. A brief tornado touched down in Castle Rock where 3/4 inch diameter hail also fell.

In 1993…thunderstorms dropped dime size hail in Commerce City.

In 1994…lightning struck an apartment in Louisville and damaged electronic equipment…including a computer.

In 2006…a severe thunderstorm produced 1 inch diameter hail near Boulder.

1

In 1875…a windstorm during the late afternoon and early evening produced sustained winds to 50 mph.

In 1898…south winds were sustained to 41 mph with gusts to 46 mph.

In 1917…a trace of unmelted snow fell in downtown Denver. Precipitation for the day totaled 0.08 inch…half of which was estimated to be from melted snow.

In 1919…snowfall of 0.4 inch was measured in downtown Denver. This was the greatest calendar day and 24-hour snowfall ever recorded during the month of June. Precipitation (rain and melted snow) totaled 0.15 inch. Two temperature records were set. The low temperature of 32 degrees was a record minimum for the date. The high temperature of only 40 degrees was a record low maximum for the date and the month. North winds were sustained to 36 mph with gusts to 40 mph.

In 1951…a trace of snow fell at Stapleton Airport.

In 1961…hail as large as 1 1/2 inches in diameter fell in west Denver with hail to 1 1/4 inches reported in derby.

In 1965…a man struck by lightning in southeast Denver died shortly after being admitted to a hospital. Lightning damaged power lines in east and southeast Denver.

In 1980…strong thunderstorm winds blew in the windows of a mobile home in Northglenn.

In 1990…a thunderstorm produced wind gusts to 63 mph in Boulder. A small tornado touched down in a farmer’s field between the towns of Louisville and Lafayette. Another tornado was spotted in an open field 3 miles west of Brighton. A funnel cloud was sighted near Hudson. A microburst wind gust to 55 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport. No damage was reported from any of these events.

In 1991…severe thunderstorms producing large hail…damaging winds…funnel clouds…and heavy rain were widespread across metro Denver. Funnel clouds were reported in Lakewood… Boulder…Arvada…and just east of the rocky mountain arsenal. Hail up to golf ball size fell in Lakewood…just west of Sedalia…in Littleton…Arvada…Englewood…and the city of Denver. A mobile home park in Jefferson County reported hail to 3 feet deep. Up to 1.00 inch of rain fell in 45 minutes near Boulder…causing Boulder creek to flow out of its banks. Rock and mud slides forced the closure of many roads in Boulder County. Later in the afternoon thunderstorms produced rainfall amounts of 2 to 3 inches over a couple of hours. Clear creek in Golden spilled over onto U.S. Highway 6. Heavy rains washed away part of a bridge near erie. Water was up to 18 inches deep in Westminster. Wind gusts to 58 mph were reported at Stapleton International Airport where 1/4 inch hail fell… And heavy thunderstorm rainfall totaled 0.82 inches…briefly reducing the visibility to 1 1/4 miles. Estimates of total damage from these storms would exceed 7 million dollars.

In 1994…hail up to 1 inch in diameter fell over south Denver and Littleton.

In 1997…two short lived-tornadoes formed near Bennett…but did no reported damage.

In 2002…strong winds from the outflow of dissipating showers developed to the east of Denver. Near Strasburg…a spotter recorded a wind gust to 58 mph.

1-2

In 2002…unusually very warm weather for so early in June resulted in two temperature records. Maximum temperatures of 96 degrees on the 1st and 93 degrees on the 2nd were record highs for each date…respectively.

1-4

In 1977…unusually warm weather for this early in June resulted in 3 maximum temperature records being equaled at the time: 88 degrees on the 1st…90 degrees on the 2nd… And 93 degrees on the 4th. Maximum of 91 degrees on the 3rd was not a record.

2

In 1914…flooding occurred on Boulder creek when heavy rains added to heavy snowmelt runoff. Flooding damaged the water supply system from the mountains into Boulder and destroyed roads and bridges in the canyons above Boulder. The flooding in central Boulder was described as the worst since the tragic flood of May 29th through June 3rd in 1894. However…there was no reported loss of life. The flood waters also inundated pasture land to the east of the town.

In 1951…the lowest recorded temperature in June…30 degrees… Occurred. The unusually cold weather was accompanied by 0.3 inch of snowfall. Precipitation…both rain and melted snow…totaled 0.30 inch.

In 1966…microburst winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1981…a severe thunderstorm roared through metro Denver… Dumping 2.00 inches of rain in as little as 20 minutes and bombing many areas with hail to 1 3/4 inches in diameter. The heavy rain caused local flooding with up to 3 feet of water in some streets in northwest metro Denver. Part of a street was washed out in Thornton. Lightning strikes started a fire and caused a power outage just north of Denver. Lightning also struck a barn which burned to the ground in Brighton. Numerous cars sustained minor hail damage. A tornado was spotted 4 miles northeast of the rocky mountain arsenal…but caused no damage.

In 1982…severe thunderstorms produced large hail across metro Denver. Hail to 3/4 inch in diameter was reported in Louisville and northeast Denver. Golf ball size hail fell near Strasburg where two tornadoes were also sighted.

In 1983…a tornado touched down 5 miles south of Bennett. It destroyed an outbuilding and did extensive damage to greyhound dog shelters. Golf ball size hail fell near the tornado…destroying some hay.

In 1985…3/4 inch hail fell in southwest metro Denver.

In 1989…large hail fell over eastern and central Denver. A few stones were as large as baseballs…and many ranged from 3/4 inch to golf ball size. The hail piled up 2 to 4 inches deep in some areas. Hail to 3/4 inch fell at Buckley Field in Aurora…and 7/8 inch hail fell just east of Aurora. A home in Louisville was struck by lightning and was 30 percent destroyed by the ensuing fire.

In 1991…strong thunderstorm winds in Arapahoe County…14 miles southeast of Stapleton International Airport…damaged the roof of a home and a radio antenna. A funnel cloud… 4 miles northeast of Stapleton International Airport…was sighted for 11 minutes by national weather service observers.

In 1993…a tornado touched down briefly in south Denver… Destroying the 4-inch thick concrete roof of a building and causing about 20 thousand dollars in damage. The twister also picked up a trash dumpster and dropped it onto a car 30 feet away…causing an estimated 3 thousand dollars in damage. Hail up to an inch in diameter fell in Aurora… Conifer…and Bennett. Two funnel clouds were spotted near Deckers. A funnel cloud was sighted for 19 minutes by national weather service observers to the southwest of Stapleton International Airport.

In 1994…lightning struck two homes in Denver…starting fires which caused considerable damage to both. Hail to 3/4 inch in diameter fell in Golden.

In 1995…lightning struck a house in Nederland…causing a fire that was doused by subsequent rainfall. A portion of the roof and wall was damaged. The storm also left most of Nederland without power for two hours. Lightning also struck a high chimney of an elementary school in west Denver. The jolt sprayed bricks around the school yard and parking lot. Twenty students and teachers were in the school building at the time…but all escaped without injury. A funnel cloud was sighted over Fort Lupton…and 3/4 inch hail fell in Lafayette.

In 2003…severe thunderstorms produced strong winds and large hail. Hail as large as 1 1/2 inches in diameter fell near Parker. Estimated wind gusts to 70 mph occurred near Parker and near Denver International Airport where thunderstorm wind gusts to 52 mph were recorded. Wind gusts to 60 mph were estimated near Bennett.

In 2005…a severe thunderstorm produced hail as large as 1 inch in diameter in the city of Denver. A tornado was sighted near Bennett along with 3/4 inch hail.

In 2008…severe thunderstorms produced large hail over western Arapahoe…northern Denver and southern weld counties. Hail…2 inches in diameter…was observed near Brighton; with hail to 1 1/2 inches in diameter…5 miles east of prospect. Hail to one inch in diameter was observed near Buckley Field…Frederick and Denver.

2-4

In 1989…heavy rain drenched metro Denver with the greatest amounts recorded on the 3rd. Total rainfall ranged from 1 1/2 to 3 inches. Roads were washed out in Boulder County… And flooded basements caused water damage to houses in the Gunbarrel section of Boulder. In suburban Denver…heavy rain caused minor flooding along Lena Gulch in Jefferson County where two mobile home parks were evacuated. Rainfall totaled 1.66 inches at Stapleton International Airport.

2-7

In 1921…heavy rainfall for nearly a week…on top of streams already swollen by mountain snowmelt…produced widespread flooding over the South Platte River basin…including the tributaries through the canyons to the west and southwest of Denver. Heavy rainfall over the 6-day period totaled 3.36 inches in Boulder…4.98 inches in Morrison…4.27 inches in Castle Rock…and 2.94 inches in the city of Denver. Rainfall amounts in the foothills were estimated between 3 and 6 inches. The narrow-gage tracks of the Colorado and southern railroad were destroyed in the Platte Canyon. From the mouth of the canyon through the city to near Brighton… The river spread from 1/2 to nearly 1 1/2 miles wide… Flooding farm and pasture land and destroying or damaging many bridges. In the city…many businesses along with as many as 500 homes were inundated…forcing their evacuation. Bridges were swept away. The high waters flooded the rail yards and stock yards in lower downtown…closing three adjacent packing houses. The heavy rains also caused flooding on Boulder creek in Boulder on the 6th.

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