Category Archives: World Weather

December 17 to December 23: This week in Denver weather history

This Week in Denver Weather History

Looking back at Denver weather history, it is readily apparent that the week leading up to Christmas has historically been a very eventful one. There are certainly many of the snow and wind events we would expect to see. Most notable however are the major winter storms like the pre-Christmas storm of 2006.

From the National Weather Service:


In 1939…more than 2 weeks of unseasonably warm weather made the month the 3rd warmest on record. Seven daily temperature records were set…including the all time record high temperature for the month of 79 degrees on the 5th. Daytime highs were balmy with 14 days in the 60’s and 70’s. Low temperatures dipped to freezing or below on only 5 days. The period was dry with only a trace of snow on the 12th.


In 1908…heavy snowfall totaled 7.9 inches in downtown Denver where north winds were sustained to 20 mph on the 17th. Temperatures were in the teens and 20’s.

In 1939…low temperatures of 49 degrees on the 16th and 43 degrees on the 17th were record high minimums for the dates. High temperatures of 65 on the 16th and 72 on the 17th were not records.

In 1980…Chinook winds blew through the night in Boulder with a peak reported gust to 75 mph. Northwest winds gusted to 30 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 17th. The strong Chinook winds warmed temperatures to record daily highs of 70 degrees on the 16th and 73 degrees on the 17th.

In 2016…the presence of a warm and moist southwesterly flow aloft…overrunning an Arctic airmass with shallow post frontal upslope produced a band of very heavy snowfall across the Denver metro area. The enhanced band of heavy snow extended west into the Front Range mountains and foothills with snowfall rates up to 2 inches per hour. Multiple accidents occurred during the evening hours of the 16th as the snow quickly piled up. Three hundred flights were canceled at Denver International Airport as the winter storm moved through the Denver metro area early morning hours of the 17th. Storm totals in the Front Range mountains and foothills included: 16 inches at Loveland Ski Area; 12 inches near Conifer…11 inches at Winter Park Ski Area…10.5 inches at Bergen Park… 10 inches at Echo Lake…with 9.5 inches at Aspen Springs and Evergreen. In and around metro Denver…storm totals included: 11.5 inches in Wheat Ridge…11 inches in Arvada… 9 inches near Morrison…8 inches at Denver International Airport…Denver/Stapleton…Marston Reservoir and Ralston Reservoir; 7.5 inches in Westminster; 6.5 inches…5 miles northeast of Westminster; 6 inches in Aurora…5 miles west-northwest of Brighton…Englewood and near Louisville.


In 2000…high winds gusting from 60 to 74 mph howled across the northeast plains of Colorado. In Parker where winds gusted to 60 mph…a 20-foot by 40-foot piece of roof was ripped from a building. West winds gusted to 53 mph at Denver International Airport. This was the highest wind gust of the month at the airport. An intense…but very localized wind gust to 112 mph was measured near Georgetown Lake in the foothills west of Denver.



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.


In 1901…north winds were sustained to 52 mph with gusts to 58 mph behind an apparent cold front.

In 1973…a brief blizzard dumped heavy snow across metro Denver. Snowfall totaled 9.2 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusting to 53 mph produced much blowing snow. The storm forced many schools and businesses to close.

In 1996…a homeless man in Denver was found unconscious in his car suffering from exposure. The man’s body temperature was only 85 degrees when he was discovered. He died several hours later. Early morning temperatures had dipped to 9 degrees below zero.

In 1999…high winds were reported for a brief time in the foothills. Winds gusted to 72 mph in Golden Gate Canyon and to 71 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the foothills southwest of Boulder. West winds gusted to only 39 mph at Denver International Airport where the temperature warmed to a high of 53 degrees.

In 2002…only a trace of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. This…along with the trace of snow on the 5th…was the only snow of the month…ranking the month the 2nd least snowiest on record.

18-19 In 2012…a storm system brought moderate to heavy snow to the mountains and foothills west of metropolitan Denver and blizzard conditions to plains east of Denver metro area. The combination of snow and wind reportedly reduced visibility to just a few hundred feet at times…and resulted in several road closures including Interstate 70 east of Aurora. East of Denver gusty northerly winds ranged from 35 to 55 mph produced extensive blowing and drifting snow…ranging from 1 to 4 feet in depth. Storm totals ranged from 3 to 5 inches. In the mountain and foothills…the heaviest snowfall occurred along and north of I-70 and included: 12 inches at Genesee…9 inches near Eldorado Springs; 8.5 inches at Coal Creek Canyon…8 inches near Evergreen… with 6 inches at Eldora Ski Area…Idaho Springs… Gross Reservoir and Nederland. At Denver International Airport…1.7 inches of snowfall was observed. In addition…a peak wind gust to 35 mph was observed from the north on the 19th.


In 2010…a winter storm produced a 4-day period of moderate to heavy snow in the mountains. The combination of strong wind and heavy snow forced the closure of several mountain passes due to the threat of avalanches. The Amtrak train route… Which runs from Denver to California…was rerouted through Wyoming when Union Pacific closed its tracks along Interstate 70. Numerous accidents forced the closure of I-70 at times. The wind gusted to 60 mph over the higher mountain passes. Storm totals in the ski areas west of Denver ranged from 16 to 32 inches.


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. Continue reading December 17 to December 23: This week in Denver weather history

Deadly blizzards lash Europe, poor hardest hit

Heavy snowfall and deadly blizzards lashed Europe Thursday, forcing Geneva’s busy airport to close, as the region shivered in a deep freeze that has gripped countries from the far north to Mediterranean beaches in the south. … were often hardest hit. The Siberian cold front — dubbed the “Beast from the East” in Britain, “Siberian bear” by the Dutch and the ” snow cannon” by Swedes — on Thursday forced Geneva airport… Continue reading Deadly blizzards lash Europe, poor hardest hit

Watch Beautiful Snow Tornado Blow Through a Picturesque Austrian Village

This video of a snow tornado – also known as a “gustnado” – blowing through an Austrian village is going viral after it was published on Tuesday. Adventurer Peter Maier was driving past the small town of Stall when he saw the winter wind whip up the beautiful cyclone. Continue reading Watch Beautiful Snow Tornado Blow Through a Picturesque Austrian Village

More Than 24 Million Affected by South Asia Flood Disasters

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reports more than 700 people have died and more than 24 million people in Nepal, Bangladesh and India have been affected by the worst flooding to hit South Asia in decades. The International Red Cross Federation reports nearly one-third of Nepal and Bangladesh are flooded, as… Continue reading More Than 24 Million Affected by South Asia Flood Disasters

NOAA releases first images from new GOES satellite

GOES-16 captured this view of the moon as it looked across the surface of the Earth on January 15. Like earlier GOES satellites, GOES-16 will use the moon for calibration. (NOAA/NASA)
GOES-16 captured this view of the moon as it looked across the surface of the Earth on January 15. Like earlier GOES satellites, GOES-16 will use the moon for calibration. (NOAA/NASA)

NOAA released the first images from their new GOES-16 satellite and to say they are stunning would be an understatement.  The new satellite, built in Colorado by Lockheed Martin, contains some of the highest resolution cameras and most advanced sensors in the world.

From NOAA:

Since the GOES-16 satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral on November 19, scientists, meteorologists and ordinary weather enthusiasts have anxiously waited for the first photos from NOAA’s newest weather satellite, GOES-16, formerly GOES-R.

The release of the first images today is the latest step in a new age of weather satellites. It will be like high-definition from the heavens.

  • Scroll down to view all of the new images released by NOAA

The pictures from its Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument, built by Harris Corporation, show a full-disc view of the Western Hemisphere in high detail — at four times the image resolution of existing GOES spacecraft. The higher resolution will allow forecasters to pinpoint the location of severe weather with greater accuracy. GOES-16 can provide a full image of Earth every 15 minutes and one of the continental U.S. every five minutes, and scans the Earth at five times the speed of NOAA’s current GOES imagers.

NOAA’s GOES-16, situated in geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above Earth, will boost the nation’s weather observation network and NOAA’s prediction capabilities, leading to more accurate and timely forecasts, watches and warnings.

“This is such an exciting day for NOAA! One of our GOES-16 scientists compared this to seeing a newborn baby’s first pictures — it’s that exciting for us,” said Stephen Volz Ph.D. director of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. “These images come from the most sophisticated technology ever flown in space to predict severe weather on Earth. The fantastically rich images provide us with our first glimpse of the impact GOES-16 will have on developing life-saving forecasts.”

In May, NOAA will announce the planned location for GOES-16. By November 2017, GOES-16 will be operational as either GOES-East or GOES-West. Once operational, NOAA will use the satellite’s six new instruments to generate new or improved meteorological, solar, and space weather products.

Second satellite in GOES series already in development

Following on the heels of GOES-R will be, GOES-S, the second of four spacecraft in the series. GOES-S is undergoing environmental testing at Lockheed Martin’s Corporation facility in Littleton, Colorado, where it was built. A full set of environmental, mechanical and electromagnetic testing will take about one year to complete. The GOES-S satellite will be moved into the other operational position as GOES-17 immediately after launch and initial checkout of the satellite, approximately nine months after GOES-16.

[flickr_set id=”72157679494723805″]

2016 ‘Likely’ Hottest Year Ever: WMO

2016 will “very likely” be the hottest year on record, according to the United Nations World Meteorological Organization. According to a news release from the WMO, 2016 will likely eclipse the previous hottest year, 2015. “Another year. Another record. The high temperatures we saw in 2015 are set to be beaten in 2016,” said WMO Secretary-General… Continue reading 2016 ‘Likely’ Hottest Year Ever: WMO

North Korea Floods Kill 133, Displace 107,000: U.N.

More than 130 people have died and 107,000 have been forced to flee their homes in North Korea after flooding near the border with China and Russia, according to the United Nations. Flooding of the Tumen River in the country’s northeast has killed 133 people and left 395 missing, said a U.N. statement dated Sunday, AFP… Continue reading North Korea Floods Kill 133, Displace 107,000: U.N.

Typhoon Lionrock Predicted To Hit Japan

Typhoon Lionrock is expected to make landfall in Japan early in the week, according to reports. AccuWeather reported the storm will hit the coast of Japan as early as Monday night or Tuesday morning local time, and the heavy rainfall and intense winds could bring about three to six feet of storm surge. Lionrock’s interaction with… Continue reading Typhoon Lionrock Predicted To Hit Japan

NOAA to develop new global weather model

The EarthThe primary model created by the United States for weather forecasting has been long overdue for some significant upgrades.  NOAA has recently been making great strides in improving the system and has announced more details on the latest.

From NOAA:

July 27, 2016 NOAA took a significant step toward building the world’s best global weather model today, a priority for the agency and the nation. NOAA announced the selection of a new dynamic core, the engine of a numerical weather prediction model, and will begin developing a state-of-the-art global weather forecasting model to replace the U.S. Global Forecast System (GFS).

The new global model will continue to be called the GFS. As with the current GFS, the new GFS will run in the background of NOAA’s suite of weather and climate models improving skill across all NOAA’s forecast mission areas.

“Using our powerful supercomputers, our new dynamic core which drives the model, and the newest modeling techniques, we are poised to develop and run a more accurate and reliable global model that is used as a basis for all weather forecasts in the U.S.,” said Louis W. Uccellini, director, NOAA’s National Weather Service.

The new dynamic core, Finite-Volume on a Cubed-Sphere (FV3), was developed by NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey. The FV3 core brings a new level of accuracy and numeric efficiency to the model’s representation of atmospheric processes such as air motions. This makes possible simulations of clouds and storms, at resolutions not yet used in an operational global model.

The FV3 core enables the model to provide localized forecasts for several weather events simultaneously all while generating a global forecast every six hours. Looking 10 years ahead, the GFS model with the FV3 core will run in higher resolution and be able to zoom in on smaller and smaller storm systems to provide forecasters better pictures of how storms will evolve.

Goals for the new model are:

  • a unified system to improve forecast accuracy beyond 8 to 10 days
  • better model forecasts of hurricane track and intensity, and
  • the extension of weather forecasting through 14 days and for extreme events, 3 to 4 weeks in advance.

Engaging the meteorology community during model development and improvement is a priority for NOAA. The agency plans to develop a program to involve researchers in testing and improving algorithms, data assimilation methods and physics. The goal is to incorporate successful enhancements into operations.

“We are collaborating with the best model developers in the U.S. and around the world to ensure the GFS has the most recent advances in weather prediction modeling, and so we can accelerate improvements to the model as they are developed,” Uccellini added.

Building the Next Generation Global Prediction System will take a tremendous amount of testing, analysis and verification. Model components, including the physics package, data assimilation and post processing—all parts of the existing architecture—will be rebuilt and improved to work with the new software.