April 23 to April 29: This week in Denver weather history

This Week in Denver Weather History

Certainly April can bring pleasant weather but it also can bring thunderstorms and even heavy, damaging snow as we see in our look back at this week in Denver weather history.

From the National Weather Service:


In 1989…unusually warm weather resulted in several daily temperature records being broken in Denver. The high temperature of 89 degrees on the 21st exceeded the record maximum for the month at that time. Daily record high temperatures were either exceeded or equaled with 83 degrees on the 20th…88 degrees on the 22nd…and 85 degrees on the 23rd. The low temperature of 55 degrees on the 22nd equaled the record high minimum for the date.


In 1999…a spring snowstorm dumped heavy snowfall over metro Denver and in the foothills. Nearly 3 feet of snow fell in the foothills with over a foot in the city. The heavy wet snow downed power lines in Douglas and Elbert counties. Scattered outages were reported at Parker…Franktown… Sedalia…and Castle Rock. Some residents were without electricity for as long as 20 hours. The inclement weather was blamed…at least in part…for several traffic accidents along the I-25 corridor between Denver and Castle Rock. Snowfall totals included: 32 inches at Idaho Springs; 31 inches on Crow Hill; 29 inches near Evergreen; 26 inches at Chief Hosa and Coal Creek Canyon; 25 inches at Bailey; 24 inches at Floyd Hill; 23 inches at conifer…Genesee…Golden Gate Canyon…North Turkey Creek…and Pine Junction; 13 inches at Broomfield and near Sedalia; 12 inches in Boulder; 11 inches at Louisville and Parker; and 9 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

In 2004…heavy snow fell across metro Denver…when low level upslope conditions developed against the foothills and Palmer Divide. Snowfall totals included: 18 inches in the foothills southwest of Boulder…17 inches at Intercanyon and near Conifer…10 inches near Blackhawk and Parker…9 inches at Castle Rock and near Sedalia…7 inches in Centennial… Littleton…and near Lone Tree. Elsewhere across metro Denver…snowfall generally ranged from 2 to 5 inches. Snowfall was 4.7 inches at Denver Stapleton. Northwest winds gusted to 35 mph at Denver International Airport on the 21st.


In 1885…the worst snow storm since station records began in 1872 dumped a total of 24.0 inches of snowfall on the city. The 23.0 inches of snow recorded on the 22nd and 23rd was the greatest 24-hour snowfall ever recorded during the month of April. Streets were impassable…roofs caved in… Telegraph and telephone wires were downed…railroads were blocked and trains delayed…and most business came to a complete standstill. Estimated losses were reported to 50 thousand dollars. The total snowfall was partly estimated due to melting. Precipitation from the storm totaled 2.79 inches.

In 1915…post-frontal rain during the day and overnight totaled 2.00 inches. Most of the rain fell on the 22nd.

In 1945…6.7 inches of snow fell over downtown Denver. This was the third major snow in a little over 3 weeks…which made this month the 4th snowiest on record. Northeast winds were sustained to 25 mph and light hail fell on the 22nd.

In 2013…a spring storm brought heavy snow to the mountains… with period of moderate to heavy snow to portions of the Front Range Foothills and Urban Corridor. In the mountains and foothills…storm totals included: 18 inches at Niwot Ridge SNOTEL; 16.5 inches near Ward; 13 inches at Arapahoe Basin and Roach SNOTEL…12 inches near Blackhawk; 11.5 inches near Nederland; 11 inches near Allenspark and at Loveland Ski Area; 10 inches near Idaho Springs and Pinecliffe; with 9.5 inches and near Silverthorne. Along the Urban Corridor storm totals included: 7.5 inches near Morrison; 7 inches at the National Weather Service Office in Boulder and Niwot; 6.5 inches near Arapahoe Park and Superior; with 6 inches at Lafayette and Lakewood. At Denver International Airport…4.7 inches of new snowfall was observed.


In 2010…a potent spring storm brought heavy…wet snow to areas in and near the Front Range foothills and widespread rainfall across the adjacent plains. In the Front Range foothills and north-central mountains east of the Continental Divide…storm totals ranged from 15 to 30 inches. Storm totals included: 29.5 inches…3 miles southeast of Pinecliffe; 27 inches…8 miles northeast of four corners; 23 inches at Willow Creek; 22.5 inches… 13 miles northwest of Golden; 21 inches at Never Summer; 17 inches at Eldorado Springs; 16.5 inches…3 miles west of Jamestown. Denver International Airport reported just a trace of snowfall…but measured 2.01 inches of rainfall for the duration of the storm. In addition…a peak wind gust to 54 mph from the northwest was observed at the airport on the 23rd.


In 1889…north winds were sustained to 48 mph.

In 1913…northeast winds were sustained to 46 mph with gusts to 60 mph behind a dry cold front.

In 1914…a thunderstorm produced considerable hail and 0.29 inch of rain. West winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts to 48 mph.

In 1942…hail of unknown size fell over the city.

In 1958…a funnel cloud was sighted for 20 minutes…15 miles southeast of Stapleton Airport. The funnel formed in advance of a thunderstorm and hung about a thousand feet below the base of the cloud…but remained aloft. Later in the day…3.6 inches of snow fell at Stapleton Airport.

In 2002…persistent dry conditions in the foothills contributed to the first large forest fire of the season near Bailey. Very dry and windy conditions allowed the fire…initially started by a careless smoker…to grow into a 2400-acre blaze before it could be contained. Fortunately…no significant damage occurred to homes or other property in the area.

In 2006…severe thunderstorms produced large hail across metro Denver. Hail as large as 1.25 inches in diameter fell in south Denver with hail to 0.88 inch across the rest of the city. Hail to 1.00 inch in diameter was reported near Morrison…in south Lakewood…and in Aurora near Cherry Creek. Hail to 0.88 inch was measured in Golden with 0.75 inch hail in east Lakewood.


In 1883…snowfall totaled 7.6 inches in downtown Denver.

In 1904…a thunderstorm produced hail during the late evening of the 23rd. Apparent post-frontal rain changed to snow during the early morning of the 24th…but totaled only 2.0 inches. Precipitation consisting of rain…melted hail…and snow totaled 0.60 inch. Northeast winds were sustained to 41 mph with gusts as high as 52 mph on the 24th.

In 1905…rain changed to snow and totaled 8.0 inches. Much of the snow melted as it fell with only 2.5 inches measured on the ground. Precipitation totaled 1.88 inches. Northeast winds were sustained to 20 mph on the 23rd.

In 1942…the South Platte River reached flood conditions in the city. As many as 15 thousand residents were warned to evacuate their homes temporarily. Two lives were lost in the city. Four bridges were washed out by the flood waters and other bridges were endangered. The damage was generally limited to bridges that were in poor condition. However…the flood waters did not overflow their channel banks within the city limits.

In 1980…heavy rain began in the eastern foothills on the night of the 23rd and turned to heavy wet snow on the 24th. Up to a foot and a half of snow fell in the foothills west of Denver. At Stapleton International Airport precipitation totaled 1.58 inches…but only 3.7 inches of snow fell from the storm. East winds gusted to 24 mph.

In 1997…locations in and near the foothills received the greatest snow of the year as a winter-like storm system moved into metro Denver. East to southeast winds at speeds of 15 to 35 mph were common with even stronger gusts above 9 thousand feet. Snow fell at a rate of 2 to 3 inches an hour as deep upslope combined with a moist and unstable air mass. The snow began in the foothills above 7500 feet during the evening of the 23rd. By sunrise the snow level had dropped to 5000 feet. The hardest hit areas extended from I-25 into the foothills. Snowfall totals in the foothills ranged from 1 1/2 to over 3 1/2 feet. In the city…snowfall ranged from 8 to 18 inches. Some snowfall amounts included: 36 inches at Coal Creek Canyon; 31 inches at Nederland and Wondervu; 20 to 24 inches near Blackhawk… At Echo Lake…and North Turkey Creek Canyon; 15 to 19 inches at Boulder…central city…conifer…Evergreen…Georgetown… And Louisville; 8 to 14 inches in Arvada…Broomfield… Westminster…Wheat Ridge…Castle Rock…and Ken Caryl Ranch. Only 2.3 inches of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport on the 24th. East winds gusted to 36 mph at Denver International Airport on the 24th.

In 2003…a strong and deep northerly flow circulating around a closed upper low pressure center allowed heavy snow to fall in the mountains and eastern foothills. Snowfall totaled 14 inches in Idaho Springs. Rain was mixed with snow and thunder across metro Denver. Snowfall was only 0.9 inch overnight at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. Precipitation totaled 1.34 inches at Denver International Airport…where northwest winds gusted to 55 mph on the 23rd.

In 2007…a storm system intensified over southeast Colorado… Allowing for heavy snow and rain to develop over much of north-central and northeast Colorado. Severe thunderstorms preceded the storm system on the 23rd…affecting the urban corridor. Nickel size hail was reported in Boulder and a small landspout touched down near Byers. On the 24th…heavy snow fell in the foothills west of Denver and Boulder…where storm totals ranged from 1 to 2 feet. Heavy snow also occurred along the palmer divide…with storm totals of 10 to 16 inches. Elsewhere…a steady moderate to heavy rainfall was reported. Denver International Airport measured 2.09 inches of rainfall…which shattered the previous 24-hr record of 1.29 inches for the 24th of April. The heavy wet snow caused several power outages. In some instances it took several days to restore power. Several road closures were reported…including interstates 25 and 70. A jackknifed semi-trailer backed up traffic for nearly 20 miles…on southbound I-25…between Denver and Colorado springs. In addition…a 50-ton Boulder blocked the southbound lane of State Highway 285…near Parmalee Gulch. Crews had to use explosives to break up the Boulder and clear the debris. Stranded buses and impassable roadways also forced several school closures.


In 1935…heavy wet snow fell across metro Denver. The storm started as rain on the 23rd and changed to snow early on the morning of the 24th. There was continuous precipitation for a period of 48 hours. Snowfall totaled 19.0 inches over the city and 20.0 inches at Denver municipal airport. However… Due to warm temperatures in the 30’s…much of the snow melted as it fell and did not seriously disrupt traffic. The greatest snow accumulation on the ground downtown was 12 inches…but it quickly melted. The highest sustained wind speed recorded during the storm was 28 mph from the north on the 23rd. The storm contained 3.16 inches of moisture.


In 1959…wind gusts to 60 mph recorded in downtown Boulder caused very limited minor damage. West winds gusted to 38 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1986…a wind gust to 60 mph was clocked at Golden Gate Canyon.

In 1989…1 3/4 inch diameter hail was reported in Lafayette. Boulder and Louisville reported 3/4 inch hail.
24-25 in 1890…rain changed to snow and totaled 7.0 inches in downtown Denver.

In 1931…heavy snowfall totaled 9.3 inches over downtown Denver. Winds were light during the storm.

In 1996…the second wind storm in less than a week developed east of the continental divide and spread over metro Denver. High winds gusted from 60 to 90 mph. Several power lines and poles were downed. Some of the stronger wind gusts included: 91 mph atop squaw mountain west of Denver…90 mph atop Table Mesa near Boulder…85 mph in Golden Gate Canyon…and 82 mph at Wondervu. Northwest winds gusted to 41 mph at Denver International Airport on the 25th.


In 1924…post-frontal rain changed to snow…which became heavy and totaled 10.2 inches over downtown Denver. The greatest amount of snow on the ground was 6.0 inches on the 25th due to melting. North winds were sustained to 38 mph with gusts to 42 mph on the 24th.


In 1902…northeast winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts to 48 mph.

In 1908…north winds were sustained to 40 mph behind an apparent cold front. Snowfall was 0.5 inch.

In 1928…rain changed to snow…which became heavy and totaled 7.4 inches in downtown Denver. Due to melting…the maximum snow depth on the ground was 4.0 inches at 6:00 pm. This was the last snow of the season. Southeast winds were sustained to 19 mph with gusts to 20 mph.

In 1976…a south wind gust to 54 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport. The high winds toppled a 70-foot high cottonwood tree onto the rear of house and a neighboring residence in central Denver.

In 1989…lightning caused heavy damage to a radio transmitter in Parker…knocking a Denver area radio station off the air for 3 hours.

In 1994…weather spotters reported dime-size hail at the intersection of U.S. Highway 287 and c470 in Jefferson County. Marble-size hail covered the ground near Golden to a depth of 1 inch. Pea-size hail was reported covering the ground to a depth of 3 inches in Arvada.

In 2016…a severe thunderstorm produced hail up to one inch in diameter near Castle Rock.


In 1985…a spring storm brought much rain and snow to metro Denver. The foothills were buried with 15 inches of snow at conifer and 12 inches at Evergreen. At lower elevations… An inch or more of rain fell in Denver and Boulder. The heavy precipitation caused brief power outages in the Denver area. Precipitation totaled 1.06 inches at Stapleton International Airport…including only 0.7 inch of snowfall.


In 1877…snow ended around 7:00 am on the morning of the 27th… After falling continuously for 48 hours and totaling an estimated 13 inches in the city. The storm…likely accompanied by strong winds…caused trains to be delayed for 2 to 3 days. One or two roofs of small buildings were crushed by the weight of the snow…and many tree branches were broken in the city. There were a number of reports of livestock losses. One stockman lost 17 horses and several cattle from the snow and cold. Precipitation totaled 1.30 inches from the storm.


In 1965…while only 0.40 inch of rain fell at Stapleton International Airport…some communities in the foothills west of Denver reported over 30 inches of snow from the storm.

In 1972…a spring snow storm accompanied by thunder dumped 15.8 inches of heavy wet snow on metro Denver. Strong northwest winds gusting to 35 mph produced blowing snow. The storm was quite intense and greatly hampered travel. High winds caused drifts 10 to 15 feet deep in some areas… Blocking roads and stranding hundreds of motorists. An estimated 500 to 600 people were stranded in the Castle Rock area. Rescue service was provided by heavy army equipment from Fort Carson. Power lines were downed…power poles were toppled…and a number of steel towers carrying high voltage power lines were downed. Some areas northeast of Denver were without power for a week. A large number of cattle and sheep were killed by the storm. The greatest snow depth on the ground at Stapleton International Airport was 12 inches. Warm temperatures following the storm quickly melted the snow.

In 1995…the third major snow storm of the month dumped heavy snow in and near the Front Range foothills. Six to 12 inches of heavy wet snow fell in the western metro suburbs with the heaviest amounts above 6 thousand feet. Both Boulder and Golden measured 10 inches of snow. Only 2.4 inches of snowfall were measured at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North winds gusted 28 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 1998…the last in a series of April storms blanketed the foothills with heavy snow. Snowfall amounts included: 17 inches near Blackhawk…15 inches at Idaho Springs…14 inches at Georgetown…11 inches near Conifer and Morrison. Only a trace of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North winds gusted to 28 mph at Denver International Airport.


In 1906…rain changed to heavy snow overnight and totaled 7.0 inches over downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 16 mph on both days. Precipitation totaled 2.16 inches.

In 1932…the temperature remained below freezing for more than 30 consecutive hours. For about 4 of those hours the temperature hovered around 24 to 25 degrees. At this time some early cherry trees were in bloom and apple and lilac blossoms were beginning to open. The leaves of many plants were partly unfurled and vegetation in general was correspondingly advanced due to the warm weather from the 11th to the 22nd. However…there was little apparent injury to foliage and blossoms…but some of the early cherry and apple blossoms were injured. Rain changed to snow on the 26th and continued intermittently through the 27th. Snowfall totaled only 2.0 inches and northeast winds gusted to 22 mph on the 26th.

In 1964…strong winds caused damage to buildings…trees…and power lines. Sustained winds of 37 mph with gusts of 50 to 60 mph were recorded in metro Denver. West-northwest winds gusted to 44 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 26th.


In 1955…west winds at 43 mph with gusts as high as 55 mph were recorded at Stapleton Airport where blowing dust briefly reduced the visibility to 3/8 mile.

In 1966…a northwest wind gust to 51 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.


In 1919…rainfall totaled 2.03 inches for the two days… Along with a trace of snowfall. Northwest winds were sustained to 24 mph with gusts to 26 mph on the 27th.

In 1975…high winds gusting to 85 mph severely damaged a mobile home in Boulder and caused other minor damage. West winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 28th.

In 1996…heavy snow fell over portions of the Front Range foothills west of Denver. Snowfall amounts ranged from 4 to 7 inches. Only 0.3 inch of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North winds gusted to 41 mph at Denver International Airport on the 27th.


In 1894…southwest winds were sustained to 35 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph.

In 1896…apparent post-frontal Bora winds from the northwest were sustained to 43 mph with gusts as high as 56 mph. Rainfall totaled 0.22 inch.

In 1990…high winds raked the northeastern plains and eastern foothills from Boulder north. Wind gusts to 70 mph were recorded in Boulder. West winds gusted to 41 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2001…a 21-year-old man was struck by lightning along the shoulder of I-225 near Parker road. His brother’s car had broken down and he stopped to help. The bolt briefly stopped the man’s heart and caused the right side of his body to go numb.

In 2003…severe thunderstorms produced large hail across southern metro Denver. Hail to 1 3/4 inches in diameter fell in Englewood and 2 miles east of centennial airport. Hail as large as 1 1/2 inches in diameter fell in Aurora near Cherry Creek. Other large hail reports included 1 inch hail near Bennett…and 7/8 inch hail in greenwood village and at centennial airport.


In 1950…snowfall totaled 6.3 inches at Stapleton Airport…but only 3.5 inches over downtown Denver.

In 1960…heavy snow fell at Stapleton Airport where 8.6 inches of snow were measured. North winds gusted to 38 mph. Most of the snow…6.9 inches…fell on the 29th.

In 2017…a late spring storm brought heavy snow to areas in and near the Front Range Foothills and Palmer Divide. Storm totals included: 25 inches near Genesee…19 inches at Evergreen…18 inches near Nederland…16.5 inches near Idledale…16 inches near Pinecliffe…15 inches at Kittredge…14 inches at Ken Caryl and near Roxborough State Park…12.5 inches near Elizabeth…12 inches in Eldorado Springs…11 inches near Brookvale and 12 miles northwest of Golden…with 10.5 inches at Lone Tree. Heavier snow occurred over the western and southern suburbs of Denver. Storm totals included: 10 inches in Littleton…8 inches at Centennial…3 miles southeast of Denver and near Greenwood Village…7 inches near Wheat Ridge…6 inches in Arvada and Castle Pines…with 5 inches in Boulder. Across the northern part of Denver…lesser amounts of 1 to 4 inches were reported. At Denver International Airport…2.4 inches of snowfall was observed.


In 1898…apparent thunderstorm winds were sustained from the southwest to 58 mph with gusts to 66 mph.

In 1909…north winds were sustained to 44 mph behind an apparent cold front. These were the strongest measured winds of the month that year.

In 1962…heavy snowfall totaled 6.4 inches at Stapleton Airport where northeast winds gusted to only 17 mph. Snow fell all day…but the most on the ground was only 1 inch due to melting.

In 1991…two men were struck by lightning while golfing in cherry hills just south of Denver. The two received only minor burns. Shortly afterward…lightning struck a home in cherry hills village several times…leaving numerous holes in the roof. No injuries were reported.

In 1993…localized strong winds occurred at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield where gusts to 63 mph were recorded. The strong winds were the result of a probable microburst.

In 2000…several severe thunderstorms producing large hail and destructive winds rumbled across northern metro Denver. Thunderstorm wind gusts reached 81 mph near Hudson with hail as large as 3/4 inch in diameter at Longmont. Several homes and vehicles sustained damage. The strong winds uprooted trees and downed utility poles…causing scattered outages. Lightning sparked a house fire in Boulder. The fire damaged a portion of the roof and a bedroom on the third floor. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 53 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2003…lightning struck a chimney at a residence in Hiwan in Evergreen…sending stones flying as far as 150 feet. Electrical equipment in some nearby homes also failed. Damage to the residence…in addition to electrical equipment…was estimated at 100 thousand dollars. Severe thunderstorms produced large hail to 1 inch in diameter near Hudson and Sedalia and to 3/4 inch near Parker. Hail as large as 1 3/4 inches was measured 9 miles north of Sedalia.

In 2014…high winds occurred east of Interstate 25. Peak wind gusts included: 71 mph just north of Strasburg; 68 mph at Denver International Airport; 62 mph near Elizabeth; 58 mph at Front Range Airport in Watkins and 11 miles east of Parker.


In 1964…several weeks of dry weather and windy conditions across the Great Plains to the east caused noticeable suspended dust to invade metro Denver. At Stapleton International Airport east winds gusted to 28 mph and visibility was reduced to 5 miles.

In 1989…a late season snowstorm dropped 2 to 4 inches of snow across metro Denver with 6 to 12 inches in the foothills. Snowfall totaled 3.9 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 23 mph and the greatest snow depth on the ground was 2 inches due to melting.

In 1991…a pacific storm dumped heavy wet snow across metro Denver. The foothills were hit the hardest where snowfall amounts ranged from 16 inches at Evergreen to 5 inches at Idaho Springs. Lower elevations of metro Denver received 5 to 9 inches of snowfall with 5 inches in Boulder and 7.0 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 25 mph. The weight of the snow caused power lines to fall and tree limbs to snap…producing power outages in parts of Denver…Aurora…and Westminster.

In 1999…heavy snow fell overnight in the foothills above 7500 feet elevation. Snowfall totals included: 13 inches near Rollinsville…10 inches near Evergreen…8 inches at Blackhawk and Nederland…and 7 inches at Conifer. Only rain fell across the city with 2.13 inches recorded at Denver International Airport.


In 1954…a major storm dumped 10.1 inches of snowfall at Stapleton Airport. Most of the snow…7.5 inches…fell on the 29th and 30th. The maximum snow depth on the ground was 5 inches on the 30th due to melting. No strong winds accompanied the storm.

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