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March 8 to March 14: This week in Denver weather history

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020 4:50am MST

This Week in Denver Weather History

Our look back at Denver weather history for the week reminds us that although the calendar says it is March, it is still very much winter.  Numerous mentions of snow, blizzards and related winter conditions are quite prevelant and we are reminded that March after all is our snowiest month.

From the National Weather Service:

6-8

In 1932…snowfall totaled 6.3 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow…5.2 inches…fell on the 8th. Northeast winds gusted to 20 mph on the 6th.

7-8

In 1878…snow from the evening of the 7th until noon of the 8th totaled only 5 inches in downtown Denver. Apparent heavier snow over the plains along with strong winds drifted the snow into high drifts…which delayed trains for several days and caused a great loss of livestock. Melting of the snow caused a rise in Cherry Creek…which resulted in much damage. Precipitation from the storm totaled only 0.50 inch in Denver.

In 2000…high winds developed in and near the Front Range foothills…as well as parts of the northeast Colorado plains as another pacific storm system moved across the area. Several trees and power lines were downed near Blackhawk…Boulder…and in Coal Creek Canyon. About 30 homes in the Pinebrook Hills subdivision in Boulder were evacuated when downed power lines sparked a grassfire. The winds eventually shifted the fire onto itself…thus allowing firefighters to contain the two acre blaze. Several roofs were blown off barns…sheds… And garages. Two semi-trailers were blown over…one along c-470 between Golden and Morrison and another north of Denver on I-25. Wind gusts reached 101 mph on Rocky Flats…100 mph at the nearby National Wind Technology Center…90 mph at Blackhawk and atop Blue Mountain…92 mph in south Boulder…73 mph in Coal Creek Canyon…72 mph in Golden…and 70 mph at Louisville. Northwest winds gusted to 45 mph on the 7th and to 49 mph on the 8th at Denver International Airport.

8

In 1878…winds started to increase at 4:00 am and blew steadily at sustained speeds of 36 to 40 mph with a maximum sustained speed of 60 mph around 11:00 am. Snowfall of 5.0 inches occurred in the city…but much more snow fell on the plains…which blockaded trains bound for the city for several days.

In 1898…northwest winds sustained to 53 mph with gusts to 60 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 67 degrees.

In 1908…light snowfall of 0.8 inch produced only 0.01 inch of precipitation. This along with the 0.10 inch of precipitation on the 21st resulted in the driest March on record with a total of 0.11 inch of precipitation.

In 1986…temperatures climbed from a record high minimum of 45 degrees to a record maximum of 72 degrees for the day.

In 2005…a vigorous cold front moved a wall of blowing dust across metro Denver during the mid-morning. At Denver International Airport…north winds sustained to 48 mph with gusts as high as 55 mph…along with very light rain which changed to snow…briefly reduced the surface visibility to 1 mile. A thunderstorm formed over Arvada. With the passage of the cold front…the temperature plunged 11 degrees in just 16 minutes at Denver International Airport where precipitation was only 0.01 inch along with 0.1 inch of snow.

8-9

In 1992…a major blizzard struck metro Denver. The storm was preceded by thunderstorms with small hail during the afternoon of the 8th. By evening…with the passage of a strong arctic cold front…snow began falling. Strong north to northeast winds at 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 52 mph produced near zero visibilities in blizzard conditions across metro Denver. By the morning of the 9th…snowfall amounts up to a foot and a half were reported with drifts of 2 to 4 feet. Many roads were closed including I-70 east of Denver and I-25 both north and south of Denver. Many homes and stores were temporarily without power. Snowfall amounts included: 18 inches at Conifer…13 inches in Boulder and Denver…12 inches at Brighton and Morrison…and 10 inches at Aurora. Snowfall totaled 12.4 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusting as high as 52 mph reduced the visibility to zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow.

In 2002…high winds occurred in the foothills west of Denver. Winds gusted to 95 mph near Fritz Peak and to 73 mph near Nederland.

8-10

In 1989…unusually warm weather set four daily temperature records in Denver. The high temperature of 74 degrees on the 8th exceeded the record. Records were equaled on the 9th with a high of 77 degrees and the 10th with a high of 79 degrees. The low temperature of 42 degrees on the 10th set a new record high minimum for the date.

9

In 1918…northwest winds sustained to 44 mph with gusts as high as 52 mph occurred during the early morning hours.

In 1960…west-northwest winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1980…high winds were recorded in the foothills with a wind gust to 84 mph at Wondervu. Northwest winds gusted to 38 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1982…strong Chinook winds buffeted the foothills in Boulder. Wind gusts of 60 to 90 mph toppled a microwave dish antenna and blew the shell off a camper. West winds gusted to 47 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1986…high winds in the foothills with gusts of 60 to 70 mph were reported at Golden Gate Canyon and in Boulder. Northwest winds gusted to 35 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

9-10

In 1904…strong Chinook winds raked the city for 2 days. On the 9th…west winds sustained to 53 mph with gusts to 62 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 55 degrees. On the 10th…west winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts to 54 mph. The high temperature was 58 degrees.

In 2013…a storm system brought heavy snow to areas in and near the Front Range mountains and foothills where storm totals included: 13 inches at Berthoud Pass SNOTEL…12 inches at Arapahoe Ridge; 11 inches…5 miles southwest of Golden; 10.5 inches near Kittridge; 10 inches at Lake Eldora and Pine Junction; 9.5 inches near Conifer…9 inches…near Bailey and 9 miles east-northeast of Nederland…Joe Wright and Strontia Springs. Along the urban corridor…some storm totals included: 8.5 inches at Highlands Ranch and near Morrison; 8 inches in Arvada; 7 inches…5 miles northeast of Westminster; 6.5 inches at Centennial…lone tree and Wheat Ridge; 6 inches in west Denver…Hygiene…Lyons and Thornton…5.5 inches in Broomfield; with 5 inches in Aurora and the former Stapleton International Airport. Across the Palmer Divide and northeast plains of Colorado…storm totals ranged anywhere from 2 to 10 inches. The combination of snow and strong wind produced blizzard conditions and forced the closure of Interstate 70 east of Denver. Sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 45 mph produced near zero visibilities at times and snowpacked roads. Snowdrifts from 2 to 4 feet deep were reported. As a result…many of the roadways became impassable. Officially…Denver international recorded 5.4 inches of snowfall on the 9th. In addition…a peak wind gust to 38 mph was observed from the north.

9-11

In 1927…rain changed to heavy snow behind a cold front and totaled 7.7 inches over downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 37 mph with an extreme velocity to 38 mph on the 11th.

In 1955…a strong windstorm raked the eastern foothills. A wind gust to 95 mph was recorded at Rocky Flats with a gust to 60 mph measured at Valmont. Damage in Boulder totaled 10 thousand dollars. Minor injuries also occurred. The strong winds were associated with a vigorous cold front that produced northwest winds at 40 mph with gusts as high as 52 mph at Stapleton Airport where the visibility was briefly reduced to 3/4 mile in blowing dust on the 10th.

In 1968…5.5 inches of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 24 mph on the 10th.

9-19

In 1906…an extended cold and blustery period occurred with light snow totaling 14.4 inches over 11 consecutive days. The greatest amount of snow on a single day was 4.0 inches on the 15th. Only a trace of snow fell on the 12th and 17th. High temperatures were below freezing for the entire period. The coldest were 14 degrees on the 16th and 18 degrees on the 17th. Both readings were record low maximums for the dates. Low temperatures were mostly in the single digits. The coldest were 2 degrees below zero on the 16th and 5 degrees below zero on the 19th. Northeast winds were sustained to 22 mph on the 9th. North winds were sustained to 36 mph on the 10th…32 mph on the 13th…and 22 mph on the 15th.

10

In 1893…northwest winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts to 60 mph in the city.

In 1948…the high temperature warmed to only 6 degrees… The all-time record low maximum for the month of March. The same reading also occurred on March 6…1920.

In 1970…5.0 inches of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 21 mph.

10-11

In 1886…snowfall of 3.5 inches was measured in downtown Denver. Apparent post-frontal north winds were sustained to 43 mph on the 11th.

In 1977…a major blizzard struck metro Denver. Snowfall totaled 8.0 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds at speeds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph frequently reduced visibilities in blowing snow to 1/4 mile or less. Most of the snow…7.7 inches…fell on the 10th. The snow ended by daybreak on the 11th…but strong north winds persisted through the day.

In 1988…a late winter storm produced heavy snow and wind… Mainly north of Denver. Wind gusts reached 62 mph at Keenesburg and produced a lot of blowing snow…closing schools in southwest weld County. The storm closed I-70 east of Denver. Only 1.1 inch of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport…but north winds gusted to 39 mph.

10-12

In 1924…snowfall was heavy and totaled 9.9 inches over downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 18 mph on the 11th.

In 2001…heavy snow fell over northeast Colorado and metro Denver when a combination of upslope winds and convective snow bands formed over the area. Storm totals included: 11 inches at the Eldora Ski Resort; 10 inches at Genesee; 8 inches at Elizabeth…atop Lookout Mountain…near Sedalia… And at Strasburg; 7 inches near Castle Rock and Evergreen; and 6 inches in Aurora…atop Crow Hill…and in Parker. Elsewhere across metro Denver…snowfall ranged from 2 to 5 inches with 3.9 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North winds gusted to 28 mph at Denver International Airport on the 10th.

11

In 1896…northwest winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 56 mph.

In 1991…the passage of a strong pacific cold front produced winds in excess of 60 mph across metro Denver. Blowing dust reduced the visibility to 2 miles at Stapleton International Airport where northwest winds gusted to 49 mph. A blizzard across eastern Colorado closed I-70 from Watkins to the east…but Denver escaped the storm with only a trace of snowfall.

11-12

In 1929…heavy snowfall totaled 9.3 inches in downtown Denver. Northwest winds were sustained to 31 mph with gusts to 34 mph on the 11th.

In 1947…heavy snowfall totaled 7.0 inches in downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 15 mph on the 11th.

In 1963…snowfall totaled 5.8 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north-northwest winds gusted to 25 mph on the 11th.

In 1993…a strong storm dumped heavy snow in the mountains and 4 to 8 inches of snow over metro Denver. Snowfall totaled 3.6 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 35 mph.

12

In 1893…northwest winds were sustained to 44 mph.

In 1952…northwest winds sustained at 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph were recorded at Stapleton Airport where 3.2 inches of snow also fell.

In 1954…strong winds raked metro Denver all day producing areas of blowing dust…snow…and blowing snow. At Stapleton Airport…north-northeast winds at sustained speeds of 40 to 45 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph were recorded. Snowfall totaled only 0.4 inches.

In 1982…a windstorm hit the foothills from Boulder north. The highest recorded wind gust of 90 mph occurred in Boulder. Wind gusts to 47 mph were recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1985…only 1.0 inch of snow fell in Denver…but strong winds produced near-blizzard conditions and caused the closure of I-70 from Aurora to Limon for an hour in the evening. North winds gusted to 38 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1999…heavy snow fell in and near the Front Range foothills. Snowfall totals included: 8.5 inches at Genesee…6 inches about 8 miles northwest of Evergreen… 4.5 inches in Boulder…4 inches in Littleton…and only 2.2 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

12-13

In 2005…a winter storm brought heavy snow to the eastern foothills and western metro Denver overnight. Storm total snowfall included: 15 inches in Jamestown…13 inches near Blackhawk…11 inches in the foothills southwest of Boulder and near Nederland…10.5 inches at Gross Reservoir…9.5 inches at Eldorado Springs…9 inches at Roxborough Park… 8.5 inches near Longmont…8 inches in Boulder…7.5 inches at Centennial…7 inches in Louisville…3.3 inches at Denver Stapleton. At Denver International Airport…west winds gusted to 46 mph on the 12th before the passage of the cold front and north winds gusted 31 mph on the 13th.

12-16

In 1880…a protracted cold spell resulted in 8 temperature records being set. Record low temperatures for the date were set when the temperature dipped to 10 degrees below zero on the 13th and 14th…8 degrees below zero on the 12th and 15th…and 4 degrees below zero on the 16th. Daily record low maximum temperatures were set with 11 degrees on the 12th…12 degrees on the 13th…and 19 degrees on the 15th.

13

In 1973…northwest winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport. The strong winds were accompanied by virga and a very light snow shower.

In 1990…4 to 9 inches of snow fell across metro Denver with 8 to 16 inches in the foothills. Morrison reported 9 inches; Evergreen…11 inches; and Aspen Springs…14 inches from the storm. Blowing snow and reduced visibilities caused 2-hour delays at Stapleton International Airport where only 5.1 inches of snow fell and north winds gusted to 21 mph.

13-14

In 1996…a storm system moving across northern Colorado dumped heavy snow in the mountains and foothills and across metro Denver where snowfall ranged from 5 to 10 inches. A foot of new snow was measured at Nederland with 11 inches at Conifer. Snowfall totaled 8.0 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. Northeast winds gusted to 30 mph at Denver International Airport on the 13th.

13-15

In 1906…snowfall totaled 8.0 inches over downtown Denver.

14

In 1873…a brisk west wind blew a perfect gale during the afternoon and evening.

In 1898…northwest winds were sustained to 52 mph with gusts to 62 mph.

In 1899…west bora winds were sustained to 50 mph with gusts to 60 mph.

In 1902…west winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 48 mph.

In 1913…strong winds all day behind a cold front made for a blustery cold day as the high temperature climbed to only 25 degrees after a low of 19 degrees. Northeast winds were sustained to 51 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph. Only a trace of snow fell.

In 1920…west winds sustained to 43 mph with gusts to 50 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 67 degrees.

In 1923…heavy snowfall of 8.5 inches fell in downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 25 mph.

In 1947…heavy snowfall totaled 5.8 inches in downtown Denver. Northeast winds were sustained to 17 mph.

In 1971…a wind gust to 51 mph was recorded at the National Bureau of Standards in Boulder.

In 1989…a strong pacific cold front produced west wind gusts to 59 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2002…heavy snow developed in the foothills of Boulder County with 9 inches measured near Jamestown and 7 inches near Nederland. Snowfall totaled only 2.9 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. East winds gusted to 29 mph at Denver International Airport.

14-16

In 1908…a warm spell resulted in daily record high minimum temperatures on 3 consecutive days: 54 degrees on the 14th…52 degrees on the 15th…and 56 degrees on the 16th… Also the all-time record high minimum for the month of March. High temperatures ranged from 65 degrees on the 14th to 72 degrees on the 16th.

In 1983…a heavy wet snowstorm buried metro Denver with the foothills receiving the most. Conifer recorded 34 inches of snow with 4 feet measured at Coal Creek Canyon in the foothills northwest of Denver. The storm left 6 to 10 inches of snow across metro Denver. Boulder received 12 to 18 inches. Flight operations at Stapleton International Airport were limited to one runway for a time. Some roads and schools were closed…and power outages occurred when wet snow downed lines. Snowfall on the 15th and 16th totaled 7.2 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 30 mph. Maximum snow depth on the ground was only 6 inches due to melting.

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