Tag Archives: DNC

Accepting the nomination outside – A weather risk or not?

Will Obama accept the nomination in rain or shine?
Will Barrack Obama accept the nomination in rain or shine?

The last time one of the major political parties held a major part of their political convention outdoors was 48 years ago.  On July 15, 1960 John F. Kennedy accepted his party’s nomination in the Los Angeles Coliseum before 50,000 people.  Denver isn’t Los Angeles though and our weather is a lot more volatile than sunny southern California.  As locals all know, the one thing consistent about Colorado weather is the inconsistency and that is true in the month of August.

As the end of the month comes, we start to notice our daylight hours getting fewer and even a bit of a chill in the early morning air. Historical temperature extremes for August are somewhat interesting. First, the highest temperature ever reached in Denver was actually recorded in August – 105 degrees on August 8, 1878 (also tied on July 20, 2005). Second, while there has never been snow in Denver in August, twice the mercury has dropped to 40 degrees to serve as a reminder the white stuff isn’t too far off – those occurrences were on August 22, 1904 and August 24, 1910.

On August 28th, the day Barrack Obama will accept the nomination, the normal high temperature is 83 degrees.  Extremes?  Our record high temperature for that day, set multiple times – most recently in 1969 – was 94 degrees.  The lowest high temperature ever recorded on the 28th is 66 degrees in 1898.

Generally the chance for severe storms decreases in August but precipitation is not unusual at all.  Cooler air near the surface helps to create a stable atmosphere thus keeping thunderstorms from usually becoming too intense. After the middle of August, tornadoes and damaging hail are pretty rare. The slow movement of storms this time of year are more likely to produce potentially heavy rain.

From midnight to noon convention visitors can usually expect clear conditions but it is the afternoon and evenings when things could get interesting.  Those are the times when thunderstorms roll across the Front Range – typically 8 days a month have them, 9 with measurable precipitation.

Will weather be a factor for the DNC in 2008?  We won’t know that until it gets closer but it could be interesting.

DNC Weather – Denver weather history for August 25 – 28

What can DNC visitors to Denver expect?
What can DNC visitors to Denver expect?

August is usually one of nicer weather months as summer winds down and temperatures cool.  The Democratic National Convention will be in Denver August 25th to August 28th and chances are the weather will be just fine.  A look back at historical weather events on those days though shows some interesting things have occurred in Denver weather history. 

Some of the highlights in Denver weather history include:

August 1875 saw grasshopper swarms in Denver.
August 1875 saw grasshopper swarms in Denver.

August 25

In 1875 in the period from August 19th to the 20th grasshoppers appeared in great numbers in Denver.  Weather records say the “streets were literally covered with them” and swarms were seen on each day.  All gardens in the city were ruined as were many rural crops.  News stories say that on the 30th the grasshoppers were so numbers as to “almost darken the sun.”

In 1910, the lowest temperatures every recorded in August – 40 degrees – was recorded on August 24, 25 and 26. 

In 1951 a microburst produced a 50 mph gust of wind at Stapleton International Airport.  In 1964 thunderstorm winds gusted to 59 mph. 

More recently, in 1994, lightning struck a power pole in Louisville causing a two hour power outage.

August 26

The aforementioned grasshopper plague and low temperatures occurred on this date.

In 1944 one of the most destructive hail storms in the city caused nearly one million dollars in damage as it struck between 2:00 and 3:00pm.  Hail from very small to 1 ½ inches was reported and covered the ground to depths up to six inches in some areas.  Downtown Denver recorded 0.95 inch of rain and heavy hail.  News reports of the day report people being cut by broken glass, people being stranded by flooded cars, sewers backing up as they were unable to handle the deluge, buildings being flooded, trees stripped, telephone poles downed and more.  The next day the American Red Cross was designated by the War Department to grant any and all priorities needed to repair the damage. 

In 1961 two workmen suffered a broken foot and bruises when severe winds blew in the walls of a warehouse under construction. 

On the 26th and 27th in 1980, two thunderstorms hit Arvada and Westminster dumping 1.5 inches of rain in an hour.  Streets were washed out and homes and cars sustained damage.  Three homes in Arvada sustained damage from lightning.

August 27

The 1875 grasshopper invasion continued.

Lightning is always a danger in Colorado.
Lightning is always a danger in Colorado.

In 1967 a young woman that was horseback riding in west Denver was killed when she was struck by lightning; the horse died soon thereafter.  Another woman and young man riding with her were injured when they were thrown from their horses.  Lightning also did damage to houses in Arvada in 2003 and Parker in 2005.

1996 saw some excitement in the Fort Lupton area when 2 – 3 inches of rain fell in a 45 minute span.  A local college suffered damage when its roof leaked.  A weak F0 tornado was also reported in the area.

Not so long ago in 2002 large hail struck the metro area on this date.  Hail as large as 2 inches was reported in Jefferson County as well as 1.5 inches in Golden and Lakewood, 1 ¼ inches in Nederland, and 1 inch hail in Elizabeth, Louviers, Rollinsville and Blackhawk. 

2004 saw a cold spell hit the Denver area.  That year on the 27th the high temperature only reached 55 degrees setting a record low maximum for the date.  The low temperature of 48 tied the record low as well. 

August 28

Yes, the grasshopper swarm in 1875 continued.

The cold spell in 2004 yielded a low temperature on this date of 42 degrees setting a record.

1968, lightning again reared its ugly head.  One man was seriously injured while riding a roller coaster at Denver Amusement Park.  An airline employee was injured by lightning while working on a plane at Stapleton International Airport.  Also, lightning caused serious damage to a Denver house and minor damage to several others. 

Also on this date….  In 2002 a thunderstorm produced ¾ inch hail in Parker and in 2005 lightning sparked a small fire near Jamestown.