April can be a very eventful weather month and we see that in our look back at this week in Denver weather history. Particularly notable are many major snow events including two in recent history – one in 2001 and another in 2005.
From the National Weather Service:
In 1913…heavy snowfall totaled 10.9 inches in downtown Denver behind a cold front. Most of the snow fell on the 8th. Northeast winds were sustained to 35 mph with gusts to 38 mph on the 9th.
In 1935…moderate dust blew into the city around 9:00 pm on the 7th and persisted until early afternoon on the 9th. Southeast winds were sustained to around 20 mph on the 7th and 8th. Winds shifting to the west at sustained speeds to 20 mph cleared the dust from the air on the 9th.
In 1959…snow falling over a 5-day period totaled 20 to 30 inches just east of the mountains…while over the plains blizzard conditions closed schools and blocked highways. The second big storm in two weeks dumped 16.4 inches of snowfall on Stapleton Airport with the most…11.6 inches… Occurring on the 8th. East winds gusted to 37 mph on the 9th. Temperatures dipped into the single digits on the mornings of the 7th and 12th when 7 degrees were registered. Low temperature records for the dates were set on the 9th…10th…and 12th. The cold temperatures caused streets to glaze with ice…resulting in the death of a pedestrian who was struck by a car in Denver. Three people died from heart attacks while shoveling the heavy… Wet snow.
In 2013…heavy snow developed in and near the Front Range Foothills and Palmer Divide as an upper level trough made its way across southern Colorado. Snowfall was enhanced locally with the presence of an upper level jet. Storm totals included: 23 inches near Eldorado Springs…18 inches just west of Boulder…16.5 inches near Orodell…15 inches…4 miles west-northwest of Boulder; 13 inches at Gold Hill; 12 inches at the National Weather Service Office in Boulder…11 inches in Ken Caryl; 8.5 inches near Morrison; 8 inches at Genesee and Roxborough Park; 7.5 inches near Arapahoe Park; with 6.5 inches at Denver International Airport.
In 1999…a windstorm caused 20 million dollars in damage along the Front Range urban corridor from Fort Collins south to pueblo and to the east over the plains…making the storm equal to the costliest windstorm ever…which occurred in Boulder on January 17…1982. In metro Denver… Several homes were damaged as shingles were blown off roofs. Large pieces of a roof torn off a strip mall in Lakewood damaged several cars in a parking lot. Most of the damage to homes consisted of broken fences…awnings…doors…and windows. Scores of automobiles suffered broken or cracked windshields and paint damage from flying debris. Multiple accidents were triggered as several tractor-trailer rigs were blown on their sides by the strong cross-winds. Blowing dust and dirt caused near zero visibilities at times. Both I-25 and I-76 were closed north and northeast of Denver. State Highway 93 was closed between Golden and Boulder. Several trees…power poles…and power lines were downed…causing a number of outages as well as sparking a few small grass fires. Highest wind gusts reached 112 mph atop Niwot Ridge near the continental divide west of Boulder…102 mph at Wondervu…100 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research mesa lab in Boulder…98 mph at the national wind technology center near Broomfield…96 mph on Rocky Flats…92 mph at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield and on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder…and 90 mph at Highlands Ranch in southwest metro Denver. Winds gusted to 48 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 1950…strong southwest winds gusting to 58 mph reduced the visibility to 1 mile in blowing dust at Stapleton Airport. Scattered minor wind damage…consisting of falling tree branches and damage to signs…occurred across metro Denver.
In 1989…6 to 12 inches of snow fell at many locations in the Front Range foothills. Boulder received 6 to 8 inches. Five inches (5.0 inches) of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport…causing 2 hour flight delays. I-25 south of Denver was closed for 4 hours due to a 100- car traffic pileup. North winds gusted to 33 mph at Stapleton International Airport where the maximum snow depth on the ground was only 3 inches due to melting.
In 1900…rain changed to heavy snow and totaled 6.8 inches in downtown Denver overnight. A thunderstorm occurred on the 9th. North winds were sustained to 32 mph with gusts to 38 mph on the 10th. Precipitation totaled 1.39 inches.
In 1933…post-frontal heavy snowfall totaled 9.4 inches in downtown Denver. East winds were sustained to 21 mph with gusts to 22 mph on the 9th.
In 1944…7.0 inches of snow fell on downtown Denver. Northeast winds were sustained to 24 mph on the 9th.
In 1977…the two warmest days of the month resulted in two temperature records being set. High temperature of 81 degrees on the 9th set a new record maximum for the date. High temperature of 80 degrees on the 10th equaled the record maximum for the date. The unusually warm weather for so early in April produced a late afternoon thunderstorm on the 10th.
In 1993…strong downslope winds occurred along the Front Range. While the strongest winds were in the foothills north of Denver…wind gusts to 69 mph were recorded at Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield. Northwest winds gusted to 39 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 2004…a spring storm brought heavy snow to metro Denver. The heaviest snow fell in the foothills and over and near higher terrain. Snowfall totals included: 20 inches near Jamestown; 18 inches atop gold hill; 17 inches near Evergreen; 15 inches at Nederland and Eldora; 13 inches at Blackhawk; 11 inches at Aspen Springs; 9 inches in Louisville; 8 inches at Ken Caryl; 6 inches at Niwot… Near Sedalia…and in Thornton; 5 inches in Lakewood… Lyons…and Westminster. Snowfall was 4.4 inches at Denver Stapleton. Northwest winds gusted to 21 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 2008…a very moist storm brought heavy snow to parts of the Front Range foothills. Storm totals included: 12.5 inches at Aspen Springs…11 inches…4 miles west- southwest of conifer; with 10.5 inches…3 miles north of central city and 6 miles southwest of Evergreen. Lesser amounts of 5 to 9 inches were observed elsewhere. North winds gusted to 43 mph at Denver International Airport on the 10th…and 1.8 inches of snow fell at the former Stapleton International Airport.
In 1951…heavy snowfall totaled 9.4 inches at Stapleton Airport. The storm was accompanied by strong northeast winds gusting to 43 mph.
In 1953…heavy snowfall occurred at Stapleton Airport where 7.9 inches of snow were measured. North winds gusted to 29 mph.
In 1994…6 to 14 inches of heavy snow buried much of eastern Colorado…closing many schools and I-70 from east of Denver to the Kansas border. Rain changed to snow on the 9th…and snow continued through the 11th. Snowfall totaled 5.7 inches at Stapleton International Airport…but maximum snow depth on the ground was only 3 inches on the 10th due to melting. East winds gusted to 26 mph on the 9th.
In 1995…a major spring storm dumped 8 to 16 inches of snow in the foothills west of Denver. Snowfall totaled 8.3 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport…but most of the snow melted as it fell with the maximum snow depth on the ground of only 2 inches. Five-to 6-inch snow accumulations occurred over southern portions of metro Denver and eastward onto the plains. Northeast winds gusted to 36 mph at Denver International Airport on the 10th. I-70 was closed for several hours east of Watkins to the Kansas border due to drifting snow and near whiteout conditions. High temperature of only 29 degrees on the 10th was a record low maximum for the date.
In 1901…rain changed to snow and totaled 10.8 inches in downtown Denver over the 4 days. Northeast winds were sustained to 28 mph with gusts to 31 mph on the 11th. Temperatures hovered in the 30’s.
In 1896…southwest winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph. The apparent Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 76 degrees.
In 1899…northwest Chinook winds were sustained to 45 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph. The downslope winds warmed the temperature to a high of 73 degrees in the city.
In 1979…a heavy snow storm produced near-blizzard conditions across eastern Colorado with 10 to 20 inches in the foothills and 4 to 8 inches over the plains. Winds to 35 mph combined with the snow to produce drifts at least 3 feet deep…closing many roads and causing power outages. Travel was interrupted south of Denver when the storm closed both I-25 and State Highway 83. Snowfall totaled only 3.8 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted 37 mph…causing some blowing snow on the 11th.
In 2001…a potent spring storm dumped heavy snow over metro Denver and the adjacent foothills…while a blizzard roared across the plains to the east of Denver. Snowfall amounts ranged up to a foot and a half across metro Denver and in the foothills. North to northwest winds at sustained speeds of 40 to 50 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph piled the snow into drifts of 3 to 6 feet deep. I-25 southbound was closed at Lincoln Avenue. I-70 to the east was closed at gun club road. The combination of heavy wet snow and damaging winds resulted in widespread electrical outages. Denver International Airport was completely shut down for the first time in its brief 6-year history. Power surges and outages crippled the airport’s massive computer systems. The airport was closed at 5:00 am and did not re-open until mid-afternoon on the 11th. The power outages resulted in businesses and schools closing. Over all of northeastern Colorado…there were 220 thousand customers without power… The worst outage in Xcel Energy’s history. Repairs totaled 1.6 million dollars. Across metro Denver…snow totals included: 18 inches in southeast Aurora…16 inches at centennial airport and Parker…14 inches at Broomfield… 13 inches in Louisville…12 inches at Lakewood and Morrison… 11 inches at Ken Caryl and Thornton…10 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport and in Wheat Ridge…9 inches in Westminster…and 8 inches in Littleton. Thunderstorms preceded the start of the snow on the afternoon of the 10th and were embedded in the snow storm during the early morning hours of the 11th at Denver International Airport where northwest winds gusted to 60 mph on the 11th. Snow storm totals in the foothills included: 17 inches at Genesee…16 inches at Rollinsville… 14 inches at Intercanyon…13 inches in Coal Creek Canyon and near Evergreen…11 inches at Aspen Springs and Chief Hosa…10 inches at Blackhawk…and 9 inches atop Crow Hill.
In 2005…a strong spring storm produced blizzard conditions in areas to the east of Denver and south of I-76 and near- blizzard conditions across metro Denver. The combination of heavy snow and strong winds forced the closure of Denver International Airport…stranding thousands of travelers. Long stretches of I-25…I-70…and I-76 were also closed due to extensive blowing and drifting snow. Snow amounts ranged from 1 to 2.5 feet in and near the eastern foothills and over the Palmer Divide. Drifts were 2 to 5 feet in depth. Downed power lines caused scattered electrical outages. Storm total snowfall amounts in and near the foothills included: 31 inches near conifer; 27.5 inches in Aspen Springs; 25.5 inches near Sedalia and Blackhawk; 25 inches near Bergen Park and around Genesee; 24.5 inches at pine junction and Roxborough Park; 24 inches southwest of Boulder; 23.5 inches at Ken Caryl; 23 inches atop Crow Hill and near Larkspur…Evergreen…and Nederland; 21 inches at Eldora Ski Area; 18 inches at Eldorado Springs and near Castle Rock; 17 inches near Chatfield Reservoir and Perry Park; and 16 inches near Jamestown. Across the city storm total snow amounts were: 22.5 inches in Aurora; 22 inches at Bennett; 20 inches near Arapahoe park and in centennial… Littleton…and south Denver; 17.5 inches near Bennett; 16 inches in Thornton; 15 inches in Lakewood; 14.5 inches in wheat ridge and near Englewood; 14 inches at lone tree and in Arvada; and 9.9 inches at Denver Stapleton. North winds were sustained from 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 46 mph at Denver International Airport on the 10th. Continue reading April 9 to April 15: This week in Denver weather history