Category Archives: Weather History

News and related items pertaining to national, Colorado, Denver and Thornton weather.

February 25 to March 3: This week in Denver weather history

This Week in Denver Weather History

In the past week Denver has seen its fair share of wind and snow and looking back at this week in Denver weather history, we see both are common conditions.

From the National Weather Service:

22-29

In 1960…heavy snowfall of 6.1 inches at Stapleton Airport on the 22nd and 23rd marked the beginning of a protracted cold spell which lasted until the end of the month. The cloudy… Cold weather was accompanied by occasional light snow or flurries and fog. New record low temperatures for the dates were set on the 24th thru the 29th with the lowest temperature of 11 degrees below zero on the 28th. The seven consecutive days of low temperatures of zero or below had been exceeded in duration only 4 times previously. New low maximum temperatures for the dates were set on the 23rd… 24th…and the 26th thru the 29th with the lowest maximum temperature of 8 degrees recorded on the 26th.

23-25

In 1912…a severe winter storm dumped 14.2 inches of snowfall over downtown Denver. Snow fell continuously from 9:40 am on the 23rd until 9:15 pm on the 25th with most of the snow… 9.2 inches…on the 24th. Temperatures were mostly in the 20’s. Northeast winds were sustained to 20 mph on the 24th.

24-25

In 2021…moderate to heavy snow developed in and near the foothills of Boulder…Douglas and Jefferson counties which included Denver and surrounding metro area. Storm totals included: 16.3 inches in Englewood; 15.5 inches near Cherry Hills Village; 14 inches near Highlands Ranch…13 inches Littleton; 12.5 inches near Ken Caryl…12 inches near Chatfield Reservoir and southeast Denver; 11 inches near Federal Heights…Thornton and Westminster; 10.5 inches in Arvada…10 inches near Eldorado Springs…9.5 inches near Lafayette and Louisville; 9 inches in southwest Boulder and near Foxfield and Strasburg; 8.5 inches near Broomfield; 7 inches near Wheat Ridge. The official measurement at Denver International Airport was 9.6 inches.

25-26

In 1971…a wind gust to 100 mph was recorded in Boulder at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The cold west winds gusted to 53 mph in downtown Boulder. No damage was reported. Northwest winds gusted to 31 mph on the 25th and to 38 mph on the 26th at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1984…a heavy snow storm left 1 to 2 feet of new snow in the foothills west of Denver. I-70 was closed…stranding skiers returning from the mountains. Most had to spend several hours in Idaho Springs. The snow spread over metro Denver with 9 inches at Littleton…Castle Rock…and Boulder and up to 5 inches in Aurora and Denver. Snowfall totaled only 3.6 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 31 mph.

26

In 1884…heavy snowfall totaled 6.0 inches in downtown Denver.

In 1908…a duststorm occurred in the city during the afternoon. Northwest winds were sustained from 14 to 24 mph.

In 1918…pre-frontal Chinook winds from the southwest… Sustained to 43 mph with a maximum velocity to 52 mph… Warmed temperatures to a high of 62 degrees.

In 1954…strong Chinook winds gusting to 52 mph during the morning warmed the temperature in Denver to a balmy 65 degrees by early afternoon. A vigorous Canadian cold front during the late afternoon produced north winds at sustained speeds of 52 mph with gusts as high as 65 mph and billows of blowing dust…which reduced the visibility to as low as 1 mile at Stapleton Airport. Showers left half an inch of snow on the ground as the temperature dipped to a low of 27 degrees before midnight.

In 1989…a brief rain shower produced a microburst wind gust to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1997…snowfall totaled 4 to 6 inches in and near the foothills. Only 0.8 inch of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. Northeast winds gusted to 29 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2013…a storm system produced heavy snow in the Front Range Foothills. Storm totals included: 12 inches near Black Mountain and Pine Junction…10 inches near Conifer and Nederland; 9 inches…12 miles northwest of Golden; 8 inches near Evergreen…with 6 inches near Eldorado Springs. Snow and blowing snow produced blizzard conditions along and south of the Interstate 70 corridor…just east of Denver.  Storm totals generally ranged from 3 to 7 inches. North winds of 25 to 30 mph were reported with gusts around 40 mph. Roads became impassable as snow and blowing snow produced 3 to 4 ft snow drifts. Interstate 70 was closed from Aurora to the Kansas state line. At Denver International Airport…a peak wind gust to 31 mph was reported along with 1.0 inch of snow.

26-27

In 1893…heavy snowfall totaled 7.9 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow…6.7 inches…fell on the 27th. Northeast winds were sustained to 18 mph with gusts to 30 mph behind an apparent cold front.

In 1939…heavy snowfall of 8.1 inches was the heaviest of the month in downtown Denver. North winds sustained to 21 mph on the 26th and to 28 mph on the 27th caused much drifting. The greatest snow depth on the ground was 7.8 inches at noon on the 27th.

In 1987…a snowstorm dropped 4 to 8 inches of snow across metro Denver…causing flight delays at Stapleton International Airport where snowfall totaled 3.8 inches and north winds gusted to 24 mph. Both I-70 and I-25 were closed for a time to the east and south of Denver.

27

In 1896…northwest winds were sustained to 46 mph with gusts to 58 mph.

In 1902…northwest winds were sustained to 50 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph. The high temperature was 44 degrees.

In 1918…a post-frontal heavy snow storm developed over downtown Denver. Snowfall totaled 8.4 inches and north winds were sustained to 30 mph with a maximum velocity to 32 mph.

In 1963…west winds gusted to 55 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1974…a wind gust to 99 mph was recorded in Boulder. West winds gusted to 43 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2009…a strong wind gusts blew a trailer in the path of two vehicles along State Highway 36…between Boulder and Lyons. The two vehicles were in the northbound lane when a wind gust blew a fifth-wheel trailer into their path… As it approached from the opposite lane. The trailer left the road surface…and collided with the top left side of the first car; causing extensive damage. A van following the first vehicle then struck the trailer. The driver of the van suffered facial injuries.

27-28

In 1918…heavy snowfall totaled 9.6 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow…8.4 inches…fell on the 27th.

In 1931…a major winter storm dumped 12.0 inches of heavy snowfall over downtown Denver. This is the greatest 24 hour snowfall ever recorded during the month of February. North winds gusted to 18 mph on the 28th.

In 2006…a warm spell resulted in 3 temperature records. The high temperature of 73 degrees on the 27th equaled the record high for the date. High temperature of 77 degrees on the 28th was a record high for the date and equaled the all time record high temperature for February first set on February 4…1890.

28

In 1896…northwest winds were sustained to 54 mph with gusts to 65 mph. The winds warmed the temperature to a high of 56 degrees. This was the second consecutive day of strong winds in the city.

In 1958…at Stapleton Airport…snowfall totaled 5.3 inches and northeast winds gusted to 24 mph.

28-29

In 2012…another round of high winds occurred along the Front Range Foothills. Peak wind gusts included: 84 mph at the National Wind Technology Center; 77 mph…3 miles south-southwest of Boulder; and 75 mph…3 miles southwest of Rocky Flats. At Denver International Airport…west winds gusted to 36 mph on the 28th and 35 mph on the 29th.

28-1

In 1875…6 inches of snow fell from 3:15 pm on the 28th to 1:00 am on the 1st. Precipitation for the two days was 0.50 inch.

Continue reading February 25 to March 3: This week in Denver weather history

February 18 to February 24: This week in Denver weather history

This Week in Denver Weather History

Damaging winds are not uncommon along the Colorado Front Range, particularly this time of year when strong Bora and Chinook winds can rage. We see a number of such events in our look back at this week in Denver weather history. Also making an appearance are a number of notable snow and cold events.

From the National Weather Service:

16-18

In 1970…a wind gust to 90 mph was recorded in Boulder at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. In downtown Boulder…sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 53 mph were measured. Damage was minor. West winds gusted to 45 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 17th. The strong Chinook winds warmed the temperature to 70 degrees on the 16th and to 72 degrees on the 17th…both records for the date. The low temperature dipped to only 32 degrees on the 16th equaling the record high minimum for the date.

17-18

In 1976…a strong cold front produced wind gusts 30 to 60 mph with much blowing snow and severe dust storms. In the Boulder area…high winds collapsed a garage and broke some windows. Northwest winds gusted to 43 mph on the 17th and to 44 mph on the 18th at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1984…the third blizzard in a week struck eastern Colorado. Heavy snow hit some parts of metro Denver with 8 to 10 inches measured in Aurora…but only 2.9 inches of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport where northwest winds gusted to 31 mph.

In 1999…damaging downslope Bora winds developed in the foothills behind a strong cold front. Peak wind reports included: 90 mph at the Gamow Tower on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder; 79 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research mesa lab near Boulder and at the national wind technology center south of Boulder; and 72 mph atop Blue Mountain and at Jefferson County Airport. Downed power lines caused major outages for at least 10 thousand residents in Evergreen…Idaho Springs…Golden… And Lakewood. In Golden…the wind toppled a lightning static protection line atop a 70-foot…230 thousand-volt distribution tower. The downed line…sparked a small grass fire just east of the Lookout Mountain youth services center. The fire burned a path approximately 100 yards wide and 1/3 mile long before it was contained.

In 2000…snow…heavy in the mountains and foothills…spread over metro Denver. Snowfall totaled 24 inches at the Eldora Ski Resort with 8 inches measured near Blackhawk. Snowfall was only 1.8 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport…which was the only measurable snow of the month.

In 2018…high winds developed over portions of the Front Range  mountains and foothills. Peak wind gusts included: 98 mph…  2 miles south-southeast of Gold Hill…86 mph atop Berthoud  Pass…with 75 mph…3 miles east of Gold Hill.

In 2021…a storm system produced moderate to heav snow which  impacted locations in and near the Front Range Foothills  and Palmer Divide. Storm totals included: 12.5 inches at  Conifer…11 inches near Evergreen…Larkspur and Morrison…  10.5 inches near Genesee and Pinecliffe…10 inches near  Jamestown…9 inches near Crisman and Marshall…8.5 inches  near Eldorado Springs…8 inches in Boulder and Monument; 6  inches near Ken Caryl…Lafayette and Niwot; 5.5 inches at  the National Weather Service Office in Boulder…with 5  inches in Arvada and Hygiene.  At Denver International  Airport…0.8 inch of snowfall was observed.

17-19

In 2006…a cold spell resulted in 4 temperature records. Low temperatures of 10 degrees below zero on the 17th… 13 degrees below zero on the 18th…and 4 degrees below zero on the 19th were record minimums for those dates. The high temperature of only 7 degrees on the 18th was a record low maximum for the date. Light snow fell on the 17th…but totaled less than half an inch at Denver International Airport.

18

In 1918…post-frontal northwest winds were sustained to 40 mph with a measured extreme velocity to 44 mph.

In 1937…a moderate duststorm occurred during the late afternoon and early evening. Northeast winds sustained to 32 mph with gusts to 41 mph reduced the visibility to 1/2 mile which persisted for about 40 minutes in the city.

In 1998…rare thunder from instability rain and snow showers was heard in Littleton during the late afternoon. Thunder in February only occurs about once every 10 years over metro Denver.

18-19

In 1954…a vigorous cold front produced north winds gusting to 56 mph and a trace of snowfall at Stapleton Airport on the 18th. Strong and gusty winds to 55 mph persisted through the next day and caused some blowing dust.

In 1955…a storm dumped heavy snow across metro Denver. At Stapleton Airport where north winds sustained to 28 mph produced some blowing snow…snowfall totaled 8.8 inches.

18-20

In 1913…post-frontal snowfall totaled 6.9 inches in downtown Denver over the 3 days. Most of the snow fell on the 19th. Northeast winds were sustained to 21 mph with a measured extreme velocity to 24 mph on the 18th.

In 1924…light snowfall totaled 4.6 inches over the 3 days. This was the only measurable snowfall of the month. High temperatures plunged from 45 degrees on the 18th to 17 degrees on the 20th. Low temperatures dipped from 31 degrees on the 18th to only 8 degrees on the 20th. Northeast winds were sustained to 24 mph on the 19th.

In 1953…a major blizzard dumped 10.6 inches of snowfall at Stapleton Airport. Strong north winds at sustained speeds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts as high as 44 mph frequently reduced visibilities to 1/4 mile in blowing snow during the day of the 19th. The strong winds caused much drifting snow…making accurate snowfall measurements almost impossible. Precipitation from the storm totaled 1.13 inches. The 1.01 inches of precipitation on the 19th was the greatest calendar day and 24 hour precipitation ever recorded in the city during the month of February.

In 1987…large amounts of new snow fell in the Front Range foothills. The foothills received 10 to 20 inches of new snow with 4 to 8 inches on the adjacent plains. On the 19th…flight delays occurred at Stapleton International Airport where snowfall totaled 4.2 inches and east winds gusted to only 18 mph on the 19th. Schools were closed in the foothills above Boulder.

19

In 1899…northwest winds sustained to 42 mph with gusts to 45 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 56 degrees… The highest reading of the month that year.

In 1980…high winds were reported in Boulder. Sustained speeds of 50 to 60 mph with gusts to 85 mph were measured. West winds gusted to 31 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1986…Chinook winds continued to buffet the eastern foothills. Winds gusting from 60 to 75 mph were common in the foothills. West winds gusted to 41 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1996…high winds gusting from 70 to 75 mph were reported atop Table Mesa near Boulder. West winds gusted to 44 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2007…this was the last day of 61 consecutive days with snow cover of 1 inch or more in Denver. This second longest period of snow cover on record began with the blizzard on December 20-21…2006…when 20.7 inches of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport where official snow measurements were taken. Additional snowfall during December…January…and February prolonged the event. Snow depth on the ground was measured to the nearest inch once daily at 6:00 am MST.

In 2018…a storm system brought a period of upslope snowfall to locations in and near the Front Range Foothills. Storm totals included: 9 inches in Louisville…8.5 inches at Lafayette and 2 miles south of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge…8 inches…2 miles south of Boulder and 3 miles north-northeast of Eldorado Springs; 7.5 inches in Erie…7 inches…3 miles west-northwest of Arvada and at the National Weather Service in Boulder; 6 inches at Copeland Lake… Evergreen…3 miles northwest of Idledale and Intercanyon. At Denver International Airport…a trace of snowfall was observed.

19-20

In 1937…post-frontal heavy snowfall totaled 8.4 inches over downtown Denver. Most of the snow…6.6 inches…fell on the 20th when north winds were sustained to 16 mph with gusts to 18 mph. The temperature dipped to a low of 9 degrees on the 20th.

In 1939…post-frontal snowfall totaled 5.4 inches in the city. The snow covered streets and highways with a coating of ice as the temperature fell from 36 degrees at 2:00 pm on the 19th to a low of 4 degrees at 3:00 am on the 20th. Many motorists were marooned for several hours. Northeast winds were sustained to 24 mph on the 19th.

19-21

In 1971…heavy snowfall totaled 9.0 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to only 16 mph. Most of the snow occurred on the 19th and 20th. The 24 hour snowfall of 8.2 inches was the greatest in February since 1953.

Continue reading February 18 to February 24: This week in Denver weather history

February 11 to February 17: This Week in Denver Weather History

This Week in Denver Weather History

Denver’s weather is often a story of extremes and even in what is historically a calm period like February, significant events can and do occur. From record-setting Arctic cold that sent temperatures to far below zero to powerful, damaging wind, this week in Denver weather history has been an eventful one.

From the National Weather Service:

31-12

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

5-11

In 1978…the 5th marked the start of a record 7 consecutive days of dense fog at Stapleton International Airport. The heavy fog reduced the visibility to 1/4 mile or less for a period of time on each of these days. Light snow and/or freezing drizzle occurred on most days. Fog reducing visibility to less than 7 miles was recorded at Stapleton International Airport on 11 consecutive days through the 15th. During the period 5-14…the cold thick fog deposited heavy rime ice up to 5 inches thick on power lines and poles over a wide area of eastern Colorado…causing a major electrical power outage disaster.

9-11

In 1965…heavy snowfall totaled 6.2 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 25 mph.

In 1993…the same storm that dumped heavy snow in the mountains combined with an arctic cold front to produce heavy snow across metro Denver. Upslope snows of 4 to 8 inches were common with some areas receiving nearly a foot. Ten inches of new snow were measured in Parker and 7 inches in southeast Denver. At Stapleton International Airport… Snowfall totaled 8.1 inches. Strong winds combined with the snowfall to produce near-blizzard conditions over the plains closing many roads east of Denver. North winds gusted to only 18 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 9th.

10-11

In 1971…a wind gust to 80 mph was recorded in Boulder at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. A wind gust to 69 mph was measured at the National Bureau of Standards. In downtown Boulder wind gusts to 43 mph were clocked. No damage was reported. North to northwest winds gusted to 39 mph on the 10th and to 41 mph on the 11th at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1999…heavy snow developed over sections of metro Denver during the evening hours. Snowfall totals included: 6 inches at Eaglecrest…6.5 inches at Highlands Ranch…and 8.5 inches about 5 miles south of Sedalia. Only 1.0 inch of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. Strong winds and snow caused near blizzard conditions north of metro Denver.

10-12

In 1958…heavy snow fell across metro Denver. At Stapleton Airport…where northeast winds gusted to 22 mph…6.7 inches of snowfall were measured.

In 1995…cold arctic air brought heavy snow to the foothills and western Denver suburbs. Golden measured 15 inches of snow with 14 inches in south Boulder. Locations in the foothills recorded between 10 and 15 inches of snow. Only 6.1 inches of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 30 mph on the 10th.

10-13

In 1905…an extremely cold arctic air mass moved over the city behind a cold front on the 10th and persisted through the morning of the 13th. North winds were sustained to 25 mph behind the front on the 10th dropping the temperature to a low of 2 degrees below zero…which was also the high reading on the 11th. Light snowfall totaled 3.0 inches overnight of the 10th into the 11th. The low temperature plunged to 19 degrees below zero on the 11th. Records were set on the 12th and 13th. The high temperature of only zero degrees on the 12th was a record low maximum for the date. The low readings of 21 degrees below zero on the 12th and 14 degrees below zero on the 13th were record minimum temperatures for those dates.

11

In 1875…northwest winds were brisk all day. The velocities increased to 30 to 50 mph during the early evening.

In 1957…Chinook winds gusting to 49 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 64 degrees at Stapleton Airport.

In 1971…a rare February thunderstorm produced 1/4 inch diameter hail in southwest Denver.

In 1981…the cold spell of the 10th came to a quick end with strong Chinook winds. Gusts to 84 mph were recorded at mines peak and to 80 mph at Wondervu. Gusts in the foothills ranged from 50 to 65 mph. Southwest winds gusted to only 23 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1984…a near-blizzard across eastern Colorado closed I-70 east of Denver and stranded 1200 motorists at Limon. Only 0.9 inch of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 43 mph.

In 1988…wind gusts to 77 mph were measured at Echo Lake. West winds gusted to only 32 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
11-12 in 1899…the temperature plunged to lows of 20 degrees below zero on both days.

In 1900…northwest winds sustained to 52 mph with gusts to 60 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 58 degrees on the 11th. An apparent cold front overnight produced 3.7 inches of snow and northeast winds gusting to 30 mph. The high temperature on the 12th was only 26 degrees.

In 1994…moist upslope winds and an upper level storm system produced heavy snow over western portions of metro Denver. Snowfall amounts totaled 10 inches in Golden and 8 inches at Strontia Springs Reservoir 15 miles southwest of Denver in the South Platte canyon. Snowfall at Stapleton International Airport totaled only 3.6 inches…but north winds gusting to 35 mph on the 11th produced occasional visibilities as low as 1/4 mile in heavy snowfall and blowing snow.

11-12

In 1899…the temperature plunged to lows of 20 degrees below zero on both days.

In 1900…northwest winds sustained to 52 mph with gusts to 60 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 58 degrees on the 11th. An apparent cold front overnight produced 3.7 inches of snow and northeast winds gusting to 30 mph. The high temperature on the 12th was only 26 degrees.

In 1994…moist upslope winds and an upper level storm system produced heavy snow over western portions of metro Denver. Snowfall amounts totaled 10 inches in Golden and 8 inches at Strontia Springs Reservoir 15 miles southwest of Denver in the South Platte canyon. Snowfall at Stapleton International Airport totaled only 3.6 inches…but north winds gusting to 35 mph on the 11th produced occasional visibilities as low as 1/4 mile in heavy snowfall and blowing snow.

11-13

In 1903…west to northwest Chinook winds gusting to 34 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 50 degrees on the 11th… Before temperatures rapidly plunged to a low of 14 degrees behind a cold front. Light snow fell through the 13th and totaled 4.2 inches in the city…while temperatures ranged from a high of 14 degrees on the 12th to a low of 5 degrees below zero on the 13th.

12

In 1874…5 inches of snow fell in downtown Denver. Melted snow resulted in 0.31 inch of precipitation.

In 1875…forest fires burned very brightly in the foothills to the west of Denver.

12-13

In 1915…heavy snowfall totaled 7.0 inches over downtown Denver. Northwest winds were sustained to 24 mph on the 13th.

In 1951…heavy snowfall totaled 8.1 inches at Stapleton Airport where northeast winds gusted to 28 mph on the 12th.

In 1968…snowfall totaled 5.6 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 26 mph. Snow fell all day on the 12th and into the morning hours of the 13th.

In 1997…heavy snow fell in the foothills southwest of Denver. Conifer…Evergreen…Morrison…and north turkey creek received 6 to 8 inches of new snow overnight. Only 0.2 inch of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North-northeast winds gusted to 23 mph at Denver International Airport on the 13th.

12-16

In 2021…the daily low temperatures dropped to zero degrees or colder through the 5-day stretch. These were the only sub-zero temperatures recorded for the 2020-21 winter season. Even the maximum daily temperatures during this stretch were cold…with highs only managing to warm into the single digits on the 13th and 14th.

13

In 1886…northwest winds were sustained to 40 mph during the early morning hours…but winds were strong and gusty all day.

In 1918…west winds were sustained to 42 mph with a measured extreme velocity to 44 mph. The strong Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 58 degrees.

In 1988…high winds raked metro Denver. Boulder reported a wind gust to 67 mph with 63 mph at Lakewood and 49 mph at Stapleton International Airport. The strong winds toppled a tree onto a car in Aurora. Northwest winds gusting to 49 mph at Stapleton International Airport warmed the temperature to a high of 64 degrees.

In 2010…a peak wind gust to 89 mph was recorded in Boulder. North winds gusted to 28 mph at Denver International Airport.

Continue reading February 11 to February 17: This Week in Denver Weather History

February 4 to February 10: This week in Denver weather history

This Week in Denver Weather History

February is generally a relatively calm weather month however just like any other month in Denver, it can and does see its extremes. In looking back at the Denver weather history calendar for the week, there are many entries for damaging wind, some heavy snowfall and extreme cold.

From the National Weather Service:

30-7

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

31-8

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

31-12

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

1-4

In 2011…a frigid arctic airmass settled into Front Range urban corridor. At Denver International Airport… Overnight low temperatures…from the 1st to the 3rd… Were 13 below zero…17 below zero and zero respectively. The icy temperatures caused pipes to crack and burst following the freeze. In Loveland…firefighters responded to more than a dozen water pipe breaks…most in fire sprinkler systems at businesses…apartments and assisted care facilities. At cu earth science library in Boulder…more than 1000 books and several costumes for an upcoming production were damaged. At the county courts administration building in Jefferson County…a steady stream of water from a crack on the 5th floor… Went unnoticed on the 3rd and flooded all the floors of the administration wing overnight. As a result…much of the office equipment…furniture and carpet sustained water damage. A burst sprinkler line caused minor damage at the Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton. The icy temperatures forced to closure of several school districts as well.

1-5

In 1985…the most bitter cold spell of the winter season brought sub-zero temperatures to metro Denver. Daily low temperature records were broken at Denver. The usual cold weather problems struck including stalled vehicles…jammed traffic lights…and frozen water and sewer lines. At Stapleton International Airport…the high temperature was only 2 degrees above zero on the 1st…setting a record low maximum for the date. Low temperatures reached 13 below zero on the 1st…12 below on the third…and 14 below on the 5th.

1-6

In 1989…one of the century’s worst doses of winter weather ravaged the entire state. Bitterly frigid weather moved into metro Denver on the 1st as snow buried many sections of the state. In metro Denver where 3 to 6 inches of snow fell…blowing snow and resultant poor visibilities caused a 46-car pile-up on I-25 in the middle of the city on the 4th. During the period…2 to 3 hour delays were common at Stapleton International Airport where snowfall from the storm totaled 4.3 inches and northeast winds gusted to 30 mph on the 1st. Intense cold accompanied the storm. Temperatures in Denver stayed below zero continuously for the best part of 3 days (3rd…4th…5th)…for a total of 69 hours. This is the fourth longest sub-zero period on record. Wind chill temperatures reached 50 degrees below zero. The mercury dipped to 24 degrees below zero on the 5th…setting a record for the date. This was the city’s coldest temperature in over 26 years. Low temperatures dipped below zero on 8 consecutive days (2nd-9th). High temperature of 9 degrees below zero on the 4th was a record low maximum for the date…as was the high of 5 degrees on the 5th. Extensive damage occurred when pipes and water lines froze and broke. Thousands of cars failed to start. On the 3rd…a 57-year-old woman died of hypothermia in an Arvada park. Eighteen high school students were treated for hypothermia after a 2-hour ride through Jefferson County in an unheated bus. At least 2 cases of frostbite were reported; there were undoubtedly many more.

1-9

In 1883…a protracted cold period occurred when low temperatures dipped below zero for 9 consecutive days. Low temperatures ranged from 22 degrees below zero on the 4th to 2 degrees below zero on the 1st and 6th. High temperatures ranged from 10 below zero on the 3rd to 23 on the 9th. Several temperature records were set that still stand today. Record lows of 18 below and 22 below zero occurred on the 3rd and 4th. Record low maximum readings of 2 below and 10 below zero occurred on the 2nd and 3rd. The high of only 10 below zero on the 3rd is the coldest maximum temperature ever recorded in Denver.

2-4

In 2012…a slow moving and powerful storm system brought heavy snow to areas in and near the Front Range Foothills and Palmer Divide…with blizzard conditions over the northeast plains of Colorado. In the Front Range Foothills…the snow piled up to over 4 feet in some areas. Across the Palmer Divide…the combination of snow and gusty winds resulted in road closures with snow drifts ranging from 2 to 5 feet in depth. Northerly winds 15 to 25 mph were common with gusts to 40 mph. Several snowfall records were also set in Denver. At Denver International Airport…12.5 inches of snow feet on the 3rd shattered the previous record of 7.5 inches for the date. It also set a new daily record for the entire month of February. A new 3-day record was also established for Denver. The 3-day storm total from February 2nd to the 4th was 15.9 inches… which broke the previous record of 14.1 inches in 1912. Denver International Airport canceled more than six hundred flights. In addition…snow and blowing snow produced near zero visibilities…forcing officials to close the westbound lanes of Interstate 70…between the Kansas state line and Denver… as well as the eastbound lanes from Denver to Limon. Other road closures included State Highway 86…between Kiowa and I-70. Across the Urban Corridor storm totals included: 22 inches in Broomfield; 21 inches at Lafayette…Louisville and Westminster; 20 inches at Northglenn; 19 inches at the National Weather Service in Boulder…Castle Rock… Centennial and Parker; 18 inches in Arvada…16.5 inches in Erie… 13.5 inches near Longmont; 11 inches in Lyons and 10 inches in Frederick. Storm totals in the mountains and foothills included: 51 inches at Coal Creek Canyon…45.5 inches… 4.6 miles northeast of Ward; 44.5 inches…3 miles west of Jamestown; 38 inches… 3 miles north of Blackhawk; 37 inches…3 miles west-southwest of Conifer and 4 miles east-northeast of Nederland; 35.5 inches… 3.6 miles west-northwest of Boulder; 34 inches…5.2 miles east-southeast of Aspen Springs; 33 inches near Evergreen…32 inches at Genesee; 31 inches…10.3 miles west of Bellvue and Eldora Mountain Ski Resort; 24 inches at Echo Mountain Ski Resort; 21 inches at Niwot Ridge SNOTEL; and 19 inches at Gross Reservoir. Along the Palmer Divide storm totals included: 26 inches…14 miles east-northeast of Kiowa; 25 inches…10 miles south-southwest of Buckley Air Force Base…and 8 miles southeast of Watkins; 20 inches near Strasburg; 12 inches near Elizabeth.

3-4

In 1906…northeast winds were sustained to 43 mph behind a cold front on the 3rd. The front plunged temperatures from a high of 62 degrees on the 3rd to a low of 24 degrees…which was also the high reading on the 4th. The low temperature on the 4th was only 3 degrees. Snowfall was only 0.6 inch on the 4th.

In 1970…a wind gust to 115 mph was recorded in Boulder at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Sustained winds of 35 mph with gusts as high as 62 mph were measured in downtown Boulder. Northwest winds gusted to 47 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 3rd.

In 2020…a storm system produced period of moderate to heavy snowfall in and near the Front Range Foothills. A spotter near Eldorado Springs measured over 21 inches of snow…with 12 inches observed in Sunshine Canyon. Elsewhere…storm totals ranged from 6 to 11 inches. Along the urban corridor…storm totals west of I-25 ranged from 5 to 8 inches…with 2 to 4 inches east of the interstate. At Denver International Airport…2.8 inches of snowfall was observed.

3-5

In 1982…a cold surge of arctic air brought light snow and sub-zero temperatures to metro Denver. Temperatures plunged to 6 below zero at midnight on the 3rd and never warmed above zero on the 4th as snow flurries continued. High temperature on the 4th of 1 below zero was a record low maximum. The temperature dipped to a record low of 15 below zero on the 5th.

4

In 1883…the temperature plunged to a low of 22 degrees below zero.

In 1885…a windstorm occurred in the city during the afternoon and early evening. West winds sustained to 64 mph blew down several trees…chimneys…awnings… And sheds. Stronger winds in the foothills blew a train from the track at Georgetown…injuring several passengers.

In 1890…the highest recorded temperature in February… 77 degrees…occurred. This temperature was equaled on February 28…2006.

In 1898…west winds were sustained to 53 mph with gusts to 60 mph.

In 1915…very strong northwest winds whipped downtown Denver nearly all day. There were 13 consecutive hours with maximum sustained velocities ranging from 27 to 44 mph. An extreme velocity to 46 mph was recorded.

In 1952…a northwest wind gust to 48 mph was recorded at Stapleton Airport. Severe winds were reported west and north of Denver.

In 1995…high winds developed in the foothills west and northwest of Denver. A gust to 97 mph was recorded on Squaw Mountain. Winds were clocked to 83 mph at Rollinsville. Wind gusts between 50 and 70 mph were common. North winds gusted to only 31 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

Continue reading February 4 to February 10: This week in Denver weather history

January 28 to February 3: This week in Denver weather history

This Week in Denver Weather History

You just never know what you are going to get with the weather in Denver and we see that in our look back at the Denver weather history books. From cold and snow to damaging winds and spring-like temperatures, we can and do see it all.

From the National Weather Service:

26-1

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

27-28

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

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

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

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

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

27-31

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

28

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

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

In 1986…a wind gust to 67 mph was recorded in Boulder. West winds gusted to 41 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

 

28-29

In 1956…snowfall totaled 5.5 inches at Stapleton Airport where east winds gusted to 32 mph on the 28th.

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

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

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

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

28-30

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

29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29-30

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

29-31

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

Continue reading January 28 to February 3: This week in Denver weather history

January 21 to January 27: This week in Denver weather history

This Week in Denver Weather History

Protracted cold spells, damaging and injuring winds and heavy snowfall mark our look back at this week in Denver weather history.

From the National Weather Service:

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.

15-23

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.

18-24

In 2005…a week of mid-winter unseasonably warm weather pushed high temperatures into the 60’s or more on all but one day. During the period…the highest temperature of 70 degrees on the 20th was a new record maximum for the date. Low temperatures remained above freezing on 4 of the days.

20-21

In 1973…a major storm produced 7.5 inches of snowfall at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 32 mph causing some blowing snow.

In 2002…high winds developed over portions of the northern mountains and Front Range foothills. Several trees were blown down in Gilpin County along State Highways 119 and 46. Wind gust reports included: 90 mph 11 miles north of Central City…83 mph near Fritz Peak…76 mph at Aspen Springs…and 80 mph at Nederland. West winds gusted to only 39 mph at Denver International Airport on the 20th.

In 2018…a storm system tracked from the Four Corners region eastward across Colorado. Consequently…a period of moderate to heavy snow developed in and near the foothills of Jefferson and Douglas counties. In the foothills…storm totals included: 17 inches near Pinecliffe…15 inches near Conifer; 14 inches near Eldorado Springs; 13.5 inches…13 miles northwest of Golden; 12 inches in Genesee; 10.5 inches near Idledale with 9 inches near Golden. Across metro Denver and the Palmer Divide…storm totals included: 8.5 inches near the former Rocky Flats site and 5 miles west-northwest of Arvada; 8 inches in Wheat Ridge; 7.5 inches in Federal Heights and 4 miles northwest of Elizabeth; 7 inches at Manila Village and near Greenwood Village; 6.5 inches in Westminster; 6 inches at Castle Pines…southwest Denver and Northglenn; and 5.7 inches at Denver International Airport.

20-22

In 1937…a second incursion of cold arctic in less than two weeks kept temperatures in the deep freeze for three days… Even though only one temperature record was set during the period. Temperatures were below zero for an estimated 53 consecutive hours. The below zero period would have been longer had the temperatures on the 20th not climbed to a high of 1 degree after a low of 8 degrees below zero. On the 21st…the high temperature of 1 degree below zero was a record low maximum for the date. Low readings on both the 21st and 22nd were 9 degrees below zero.

In 1971…high winds raked Boulder. Wind gusts to 77 mph were recorded at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Winds gusted to 83 mph in south Boulder and to 68 mph in downtown Boulder. Minor personal injuries occurred…and reported damage to structures totaled 15 thousand dollars. On the 21st…northwest winds gusted to 44 mph at Stapleton International Airport. The Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 69 degrees on the 20th…which equaled the record for the date.

In 1993…sporadic high winds along the east slopes of the Front Range during the early morning hours of the 20th moved onto the foothills and plains by the 22nd. Wind gusts of 55 to 65 mph were common. Some significant wind reports included 82 mph at Rollinsville and atop Squaw Mountain west of Denver…and 75 mph on Rocky Flats. At Stapleton International Airport…west winds gusted to 35 mph on the 20th…44 mph on the 21st…and 55 mph on the 22nd.

21

In 1897…west winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 45 mph. The warm Chinook winds produced a high temperature of 51 degrees and a low temperature of 36 degrees.

In 1943…strong west winds gusted to 92 mph at Boulder airport. Strong winds were common along the foothills. Some damage occurred.

In 1950…wind gusts to 50 mph produced some blowing dust at Stapleton Airport.

In 1997…high winds along the Front Range foothills caused an empty 18-wheeler to overturn on I-70 near the Morrison and c-470 exits. The truck landed on top of a passenger car traveling beside it. The drivers received only minor injuries. West-northwest winds gusted to 36 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2007…two storm systems…one moving to the south and east of the region…and the other brushing from the west… Contributed to heavy snow along the Front Range foothills…urban corridor and adjacent plains. The heaviest snow fell south and east of Denver where a blizzard developed during the late morning and early afternoon hours. In and near the Front Range foothills and palmer divide…storm totals ranged from 6 to 15 inches. Very strong winds produced extensive blowing and drifting snow along I-70…from just east of Denver to near Limon. Sustained winds from 30 to 45 mph were measured with peak gusts to 60 mph. As a result…snow drifts 2 to 4 feet in depth made some roads impassable with whiteout conditions reported. North winds gusted to 40 mph at Denver International Airport. Snowfall totaled 6.1 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

21-22

In 1972…wind gusts to 74 mph were recorded at the National Bureau of Standards in Boulder…while in downtown Boulder wind gusts to 56 mph were measured. The strong winds overturned a plane at the Arapahoe County airport. A motorcyclist died of injuries when he was blown off a Boulder County road. Northwest winds gusted to 39 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 21st.

In 1999…heavy snow developed across portions of metro Denver and in the foothills. Snowfall totals included: 8 inches in Golden Gate Canyon…Intercanyon…Rollinsville… And Parker; 7 inches at Aspen Springs…Gross Reservoir… Pine Junction…and 5 miles south of Sedalia; 6 inches at Highlands Ranch; and 5 inches at Eaglecrest…Eldorado Springs…and Louisville. Snowfall totaled 2.6 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. On the 21st…north-northwest winds gusted to 31 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2019…a winter storm system brought a mix of strong winds with pockets of moderate to heavy snow to the southern Front Range Foothills and Palmer Divide; with blizzard conditions observed along Interstate 70 east of Aurora. I-70 was closed in the morning through early afternoon on the 22nd…from the exit at Denver International Airport to the Kansas state line. Parts of major highways including I-25 south of Denver toward Monument and Highway 24 were also closed for several hours. Numerous accidents along I-70 were reported due to strong winds and low visibility of a quarter mile or less. Strong northerly winds gusting from 45 to 55 mph were observed. The heaviest snowfall occurred in the southern Front Range Foothills and the Palmer Divide south of Denver. Storm totals in those areas included: 15 inches at Shaffers Crossing; 10 inches in Conifer; 9 inches near Ponderosa Park with 6.5 inches in Brookvale. In addition…5.5 inches was observed at Castle Pines with 1 to 4 inches elsewhere. The official snowfall measurement at Denver International Aiport was 1.3 inches with a peak wind gust of 38 mph from the north.

Continue reading January 21 to January 27: This week in Denver weather history

January 14 to January 20: This week in Denver weather history

This Week in Denver Weather History

January’s reputation of being dry and windy is evidenced in our look back at this week in Denver weather history. While there are some notable events involving snow, high winds have been the most frequent event worthy of mention.

From the National Weather Service:

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.

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.

13-15

In 2021…strong and damaging winds developed across Front Range mountains…foothills and adjacent plains. A large shed blew over and smashed into a parked car in Gold Hill in the foothills of Boulder County. Across metro Denver…a fallen tree brought down power lines and sparked a small grass and shed fire; another tree fell into a house in Centennial. No injuries were reported. In the mountains and foothills… peak gusts included: 94 mph near Crisman…83 mph at Blackhawk… 80 mph near Marshall…and 79 mph near Berthoud Pass. Across the urban corridor and adjacent plains…peak gusts included: 69 mph near Centennial…64 mph in Broomfield…63 mph near Elizabeth and Northglenn…62 mph at Strasburg…60 mph near Buckley AFB…Castle Pines…Lone Tree and Parker…and 59 mph near Littleton. At Denver International Airport…a peak wind gust of 58 mph was observed from the west on the 13th…with another gust to 58 mph from the north observed on the 14th.

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.

Continue reading January 14 to January 20: This week in Denver weather history

December 31 to January 6: This week in Denver weather history

This Week in Denver Weather History

One of our coldest and driest months, January is not normally known for its weather extremes. However just like any in Colorado, significant events can occur as we see in our look back at this week in Denver weather history.

From the National Weather Service:

25-31

In 1980…temperatures were unusually warm during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. High temperatures for the week ranged from the mid-50’s to the mid-70’s. Four temperature records were set. Record highs occurred on the 26th with 68 degrees…the 27th with 75 degrees…and the 30th with 71 degrees. A record high minimum temperature of 41 degrees occurred on the 27th.

30-31

In 1886…heavy snow totaled 6.5 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow…4.5 inches…fell on the 31st. North winds were sustained to 18 mph.

In 1928…snowfall of 0.6 inch was the only measurable snow of the month in the city.

In 1947…post-frontal heavy snow totaled 6.3 inches over downtown Denver. Most of the snow fell on the 30th. North winds were sustained to 17 mph on the 30th.

In 1995…the foothills west of Denver received 5 to 9 inches of new snow…except for Bailey where 11 inches of snow were measured. No snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

In 2021…the first significant snowfall of the season finally made its mark…impacting the mountains…foothills…and nearby plains with much needed moisture. In the mountains and foothills…storm totals ranged from 6 to 15 inches. Elsewhere 5 to 10 inches of snow fell west of I-25…with 3 to 7 inches east of the interstate. At Denver International Airport…4.5 inches of snow was observed.

31

In 1890…northeast winds were sustained to 46 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph behind an apparent cold front. A trace of sleet fell.

In 1899…northwest winds were sustained to 44 mph with gusts as high as 48 mph. The Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 49 degrees.

In 1927…the temperature was below zero all day. The high temperature of 3 degrees below zero was a record low maximum for the date. The low temperature was 11 degrees below zero.

In 1970…warm Chinook winds whistled through Boulder. A wind gust to 92 mph was recorded at the National Center for Atmospheric Research…while at the National Bureau of Standards…winds peaked to 70 mph. Northwest winds gusting to 30 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 60 degrees at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1993…occasional high winds occurred northwest of Denver and in the foothills. A wind gust to 85 mph was recorded at Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield. Wind gusts to 86 mph occurred on Squaw Mountain with 75 mph recorded at Rollinsville. West winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2011…an intense and fast moving storm system… produced a powerful windstorm across the Front Range. In the mountains and foothills…several locations recorded wind gusts in excess of 100 mph. Numerous trees were knocked down throughout Arapahoe National Forest. One man was killed when he was impaled by a falling tree limb while driving along U.S. Highway 36…north of Boulder. The strong winds produced extensive damage to fences and roofs… and also knocked down trees which resulted in power outages that affected 19 thousand residents along the Front Range.  In the mountains and foothills…peak wind gusts included: 111 mph…3 miles south-southeast of Pinecliffe; 101 mph…1 mile west of Lyons; 94 mph atop Berthoud Pass; 86 mph…3 miles south of Golden; 84 mph… 4 miles northwest of Boulder; 81 mph in Boulder; 79 mph at Kenosha Pass…NCAR Mesa Lab and the junction of U.S. Highways 72 and 93; 77 mph at the National Wind Technology Center; and 76 mph…3 miles north-northwest of Morrison. Peak wind gusts for the Urban Corridor included: 80 mph…3 mile east of Cedar Point; 77 mph in north Longmont; 67 mph…10 miles east of Parker; 64 mph at Buckley AFB and Lakewood; 60 mph at Bennett and Front Range Airport in Watkins; 59 mph at Denver International Airport and Deer Trail; 58 mph at Rocky Mountain Regional Airport in Broomfield and 2 miles north-northwest of Louisville.

In 2021…much of the Front Range Foothills…Urban Corridor and adjacent plains were classified to be in severe to extreme drought (D2/D3) through the month of December. These conditions contributed significantly to the Marshall Wildfire…the costliest fire in Colorado history. The Front Range experienced a very wet first half of the year…with well above normal precipitation and lush…tall grass growth. However…starting around July…a persistently dry weather pattern set up and held firm through the entire fall and early winter. Vegetation…while typically dry this time of year…was exceptionally dry as very little precipitation had fallen through the entire fall season. The ongoing drought conditions ensured larger fuels such as shrubs and trees were likewise critically dry. From the period of July 1st through December 29th…temperature and precipitation climate records showed Denver was the 2nd warmest…and by far the driest in recorded history…since 1872. Boulder was ranked as 2nd warmest for precipitation…while 13th driest in recorded history.

31-1

In 1900…low temperatures dipped to 19 degrees below zero on both days to establish daily record minimum temperatures.

In 1975…only 4.2 inches of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport…while north of Denver a major blizzard raged. All roads north of Denver into Wyoming were closed when strong winds whipped snow into 5 to 6 foot drifts. North winds gusted to 43 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 31st…causing some blowing snow. Freezing drizzle also fell on the 31st.

In 1984…heavy snow fell in the foothills with 8 inches at Boulder and 6 inches in southern and western metro Denver. Only 1.5 inches of snow fell overnight at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1991…a New Year’s Eve snow storm dumped 2 to 8 inches of snow across northeastern Colorado. Snowfall totaled 3.4 inches at Stapleton International Airport. The 1.9 inches of snow that fell on the 31st was the only measurable snowfall of the month.

In 2008…another brief period of high winds occurred in and near the foothills of Boulder and Jefferson counties. In Nederland…the strong wind snapped a blue spruce which landed on a nearby propane tank. Some roofs in the immediate area were damaged and power lines were downed; which left 126 residences without electricity for six hours. Peak wind gusts included 90 mph at the national wind technology center…and 89 mph; 6 miles northwest of Boulder. At Denver International Airport…a peak wind gust of 23 mph was measured from the southwest.

31-6

In 1973…the 31st marked the start of a protracted cold spell that extended into January of 1974 when temperatures dipped below zero on 7 consecutive days. Record daily minimum readings occurred on the 3rd and 5th when the temperature plunged to 17 degrees below zero on both days. A record low daily maximum temperature of only 4 degrees occurred on the 5th.

31-7

In 1941…a protracted cold spell through January 7…1942… Produced below zero low temperatures on 7 of the 8 days. A low temperature of 2 degrees on the 3rd prevented a string of 8 days below zero. The coldest days during the period were the 1st with a high of 2 degrees and a low of 9 degrees below zero…the 4th with a high of 2 degrees and a low of 11 degrees below zero…and the 5th with a high of 26 degrees and a low of 12 degrees below zero.

1

In 1875…the temperature fell 27 degrees between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm. The high for the day was 43 degrees…and the low was 8 degrees. Occasional snow flurries fell during the day…but not enough to cover the ground.

In 1885…dense smoke choked the skies over downtown Denver until midday.

In 1910…a rare trace of light rain fell during the morning.

In 1911…post-frontal northeast winds were sustained to 40 mph. Only a trace of snow fell in downtown Denver.

In 1952…snowfall of 0.03 inch was the only measurable snowfall of the month and resulted in 0.01 inch of melted snow…the only precipitation of the month.

In 1956…west-northwest winds gusted to 52 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1996…the first snow storm of the new year dumped more than a foot of snow in the Front Range foothills with 4 to 9 inches across the western and southern sections of metro Denver. Snow totals included: 14 inches at conifer; 11 inches at Evergreen; and 10 inches at Eldora Ski Resort… West of Boulder. Snowfall totaled only 1.2 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North- northeast winds gusted to 30 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2003…only a trace of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. This…along with a trace of snow on the 22nd…was the only snow of the month…which equaled the 1934 record for the least snowiest January.

1-2

In 1896…warm Chinook winds on the 1st became cold bora winds on the 2nd. Southwest winds sustained to 60 mph with gusts as high as 66 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 55 degrees on the 1st. Northwest winds sustained to 54 mph with gusts to 60 mph resulted in snowfall of 0.3 inch and a high temperature of only 31 degrees on the 2nd.

1-5

In 1940…the first days of the month were characterized by a mixture of drizzle…light snow…and fog. Fog occurred on each day. On the 4th and 5th considerable glazing resulted from freezing drizzle. All objects were coated with a glaze on the windward side. This resulted in very slippery streets…which caused several minor traffic accidents. The glaze was not heavy enough to damage wires and cables. Continue reading December 31 to January 6: This week in Denver weather history

December 24 to December 30: This week in Denver weather history

This Week in Denver Weather History

Christmas Day is normally a relatively quiet day in terms of the weather but the week between it and New Year’s can be quite eventful. Among the highlights are a prolonged period of sub-zero temperatures that lasted nearly five days. In 2006 the second significant snowstorm hit the area wreaking havoc and in 2021 the Marshall Fire caused devastation in the metro area.

From the National Weather Service:

17-24

In 1924…a prolonged cold spell occurred after mild temperatures during the first half of the month. Most low temperatures dipped below zero with the coldest reading of 15 degrees below zero occurring on the 24th. The high temperature of only 5 degrees on the 18th was a record low maximum for the date.

18-24

In 1998…a vigorous cold front with north winds gusting as high as 38 mph at Denver International Airport on the 18th dropped temperatures from a high of 51 degrees to a low of just 6 degrees before midnight. The arctic air mass that settled over metro Denver produced intermittent light snow and a week-long protracted cold spell that caused low temperatures to plunge well below zero for 6 consecutive nights. The coldest temperature was 19 degrees below zero on the morning of the 22nd. High temperatures climbed only into the single digits on 4 consecutive days…from the 19th through the 22nd. At least 15 people…mostly homeless… Were treated for hypothermia at area hospitals. The bitter cold weather was responsible…either directly or indirectly… For at least 5 fatalities. Three of the victims died directly from exposure. The cold weather also caused intermittent power outages. Following the cold snap… Thawing water pipes cracked and burst in several homes and businesses…causing extensive damage. Only one temperature record was set. The high temperature of only 7 degrees on the 19th set a record low maximum for the date.

20-25

In 1983…an extremely bitter cold spell occurred. The temperature remained below zero for 115 hours in Denver… The longest sub-zero period on record. The mercury dipped to 21 degrees below zero on the 21st…the coldest recorded temperature in over 20 years. The cold was accompanied by winds that plunged chill factors to 50 to 70 degrees below zero. Two people froze to death in Denver; both were found outside dead of exposure. Numerous cases of frostbite were reported. Hundreds of water pipes broke from the intense cold…water mains and natural gas lines also fractured…and electricity consumption reached record levels. Light snow totaling 5.8 inches fell at times…and holiday traffic was delayed at Stapleton International Airport for several hours. Eight daily temperature records were set at the time. The all-time record low maximum temperature for the month of 8 degrees below zero on the 21st still stands today. Other temperature records still standing include record low maximum temperatures of 5 degrees below zero on both the 22nd and 23rd and 4 degrees below zero on the 24th.

22-24

In 2009…A winter storm produced moderate to heavy snow across parts of the Front Range and adjacent plains. In the foothills…storm totals included: 11.5 inches near Eldorado Springs…10 inches…3 miles southeast of Pinecliffe; 9 inches at Genesee…2 miles southwest of Golden and Ken Caryl; 8 inches…3 miles west of Jamestown and White Ranch Open Space; 7 inches…4 miles east-northeast of Nederland. Across the Urban Corridor and adjacent plains…storm totals included: 9 inches…2 miles west of Parker; 8 inches at Watkins; 7 inches…2 miles west-southwest of Byers…12 miles southwest of Buckley AFB and 3 miles northeast of Parker. At Denver International Airport…6.1 inches of snowfall was observed.

23-24

In 1907…winds nearly as strong as a hurricane raked Boulder and areas north of Denver…killing one person and injuring others. Property damage was minor.

In 1973…a pre-Christmas blizzard…the second in 5 days… Produced strong winds and dumped heavy snow across metro Denver. Nearly a foot…11.8 inches…of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusting from 30 to 40 mph produced much blowing snow. The strong winds whipped the snow into 2- to 4-foot drifts…closing many roads and airports. About 10 thousand people were stranded at Stapleton International Airport for up to 24 hours.

In 1978…wind gusts to 90 mph on the 23rd and 73 mph on the 24th were recorded in Boulder. A townhouse under construction was severely damaged by the winds. At Stapleton International Airport…west winds gusted to 37 mph on the 23rd and northwest winds gusted to 35 mph on the 24th.

In 1987…a snowstorm assured a white Christmas for metro Denver…where 4 to 8 inches fell. Amounts in the foothills ranged from 10 to 18 inches. Snowfall totaled 3.9 inches at Stapleton International Airport…where north winds gusted to 32 mph on the 23rd.

20-25

In 1983…an extremely bitter cold spell occurred. The temperature remained below zero for 115 hours in Denver… The longest sub-zero period on record. The mercury dipped to 21 degrees below zero on the 21st…the coldest recorded temperature in over 20 years. The cold was accompanied by winds that plunged chill factors to 50 to 70 degrees below zero. Two people froze to death in Denver; both were found outside dead of exposure. Numerous cases of frostbite were reported. Hundreds of water pipes broke from the intense cold…water mains and natural gas lines also fractured…and electricity consumption reached record levels. Light snow totaling 5.8 inches fell at times…and holiday traffic was delayed at Stapleton International Airport for several hours. Eight daily temperature records were set at the time. The all-time record low maximum temperature for the month of 8 degrees below zero on the 21st still stands today. Other temperature records still standing include record low maximum temperatures of 5 degrees below zero on both the 22nd and 23rd and 4 degrees below zero on the 24th.

24

In 1876…the all-time lowest recorded temperature in December… 25 degrees below zero…occurred. The same temperature was also reached on December 22…1990.

In 1907…west winds were sustained to 43 mph. The Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 58 degrees.

In 1908…west Bora winds sustained to 49 mph produced a high temperature of 42 degrees. A trace of snow fell.

In 1977…wind damaged temporary wooden structures at construction sites in Denver. Several trees were blown over…causing damage to houses and cars. Power outages occurred in northwest Denver. Some chimneys were blown off a house in the Ken Caryl Ranch area. Wind gusts to 70 mph were reported in Boulder…and northwest winds gusted to 53 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1982…on Christmas eve… one of the worst blizzards of all time dumped 24 to 34 inches of snow across metro Denver. The heaviest official one-day snow amount in the city’s history…23.6 inches…brought traffic to a standstill and completely closed Stapleton International Airport on Christmas day. Boulder received 18 to 24 inches of snow. Two feet of snow buried Parker and Sedalia to the south of Denver. Weather conditions during the storm were brutal. Visibility at Stapleton International Airport was reduced to 1/4 mile or less for 17 consecutive hours. Sustained winds of 25 mph or more persisted for 15 consecutive hours. Gusts over 40 mph were recorded during 12 different hours. The highest recorded wind gust was 51 mph. The howling winds blew snow into drifts 4 to 8 feet high…paralyzing all modes of transportation. All highways leading out of Denver were closed. Stapleton International Airport was closed for 33 hours and operated on only a limited schedule for days afterward. Thousands of travelers were stranded and failed to reach their destinations in time for Christmas. Many wayward commuters and shoppers were forced to take refuge in shopping malls… Which remained open when workers themselves became stranded. Mall restaurants served food to the refugees. The storm prevented most people in the area from spending Christmas day with family and friends. In metro Denver…three people died as a direct result of the blizzard: a 60-year-old man died of hypothermia on his screened in back porch; a 66 year old man froze to death after falling into a drift a few feet from his home; a 34- year-old man froze to death just east of Denver after abandoning his 4-wheel drive vehicle which became stuck in the snow. With the heavy snow and wind chill temperatures of 20 to 30 degrees below zero…there were many injuries from frostbite and falls. Damage from the blizzard was varied and widespread. A number of roofs collapsed under the weight of the heavy snow; greenhouses received the greatest damage when the heavy snow shattered glass roofs… Allowing cold air to freeze the tender plants inside. Total damage to greenhouses and plants alone was estimated at 5 million dollars. The strong winds with the storm damaged many fences and caused numerous power outages. Last minute Christmas shoppers were literally left out in the cold and snow…as the storm made travel increasingly difficult during the day. Merchants lost significant income from the last shopping day before Christmas. Overall…businesses lost an estimated 500 million dollars due to the blizzard. In metro Denver…seven million dollars were spent for snow removal…three million dollars in the city of Denver alone. This expenditure did not prevent a subsequent snow removal controversy. Once the major streets were made passable…cold late December and January temperatures prevented much melting. Icy and snowpacked side streets and parking lots became rutted… Making travel around metro Denver difficult for nearly a month after the storm. In fact…snow cover of an inch or more lasted for 48 consecutive days after the storm… Through February 9…1983. This is the third longest period of snow cover on record in the city. The period would have been longer…but no significant snow fell for more than 2 months after the storm.

In 2016…damaging high winds developed in and near the Front Range Foothills late Christmas morning and continued into the evening. Peak wind gusts in the Front Range Foothills reached 110 mph. In general…wind gusts ranged from 60 to 97 mph. In the Denver area…an estimated fifty thousand Xcel Energy customers lost power at some point…with most of the outages occurring west of Interstate 25. The outages were the result of downed trees and branches which struck power lines. In the Front Range mountains and foothills…peak wind gusts included: 110 mph near Gold Hill…97 mph near Jamestown…93 mph near Crescent Village…92 mph at the National Wind Technology Center…90 mph near Marshall…83 mph near Superior…79 mph near Larkspur…78 mph at Genesee…the NCAR Mesa Laboratory northwest of Boulder and near White Ranch Open Space; 76 mph near Glen Haven…with 75 mph near Applewood… Nederland and the Solar Radiation Research Laboratory in Golden. At Denver International Airport…a peak wind gust of 36 mph was observed from the southeast. Continue reading December 24 to December 30: This week in Denver weather history

Looking back: Denver’s Holiday Blizzard of 2006

Cars are buried under the heavy snow of the Holiday Blizzard of 2006. (ThorntonWeather.com)
Cars are buried under the heavy snow of the Holiday Blizzard of 2006. (ThorntonWeather.com)

Leading up to the Christmas holidays of 2006 the weather was nothing extraordinary in the Mile High City – until the 20th of the month. Temperatures at the middle of the month had entered into the 60’s and Denver residents were enjoying the warmth.

A few short days later, that all changed in a big way. A slow moving low pressure system coupled with upslope flow and copious amounts of moisture provided the perfect setup for a historical winter storm whose effects would be felt for months. Snow began falling on the morning of the 20th and by the early afternoon blizzard conditions began to set in and it was obvious we were in for one heck of a storm.

  • Scroll down to view images from this incredible storm
  • If you have pics from this event, please share them with us to add to the slideshow. You can email them to info@thorntonweather.com or share them with us on our Facebook page.

Businesses shut down early on the afternoon of the 20th in order to allow their employees extra time to make it home safe but by then a foot or more of snow had fallen across the Front Range. The governor called out the Colorado National Guard to help rescue stranded motorists who were in turn transported to area Red Cross shelters to wait out the storm. Continue reading Looking back: Denver’s Holiday Blizzard of 2006