52°F
Thornton, Colorado, USA
UpdatedSun, 16-May-2021 3:15am MDT 
 

Navigation

ThorntonWeather.com on Twitter

ThorntonWeather.com on Facebook

 

Weather Geek Stuff - weathergeekstuff.com

Rocky Mountain Weather Network

Tony's Takes Photography



May 22 to May 28: This week in Denver weather history

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016 6:13pm MDT
This Week In Denver Weather History

May 22 to May 28: This week in Denver weather history

If history is a teacher, our look back at this week in Denver weather history should provide great instruction on the dangers severe weather presents in our history. It was eight years ago this week that the infamous Windsor tornado tore through the area killing one man and damaging hundreds of homes.

From the National Weather Service:

20-22

In 1959…a three-day rain caused some flooding in metro Denver where rain totaled 1.68 inches at Stapleton Airport. Showers…accompanied by hail near Brighton…caused some damage to truck crops. Heavy snow in the foothills caused damage to power and telephone lines.

20-27

In 2002…lightning sparked a wildfire near Deckers. Extremely dry conditions and very strong winds the following day allowed the fire…known as the schoonover…to consume 3850 acres before it could be contained. Thirteen structures were destroyed…including 4 homes…resulting in 2.2 million dollars in damage.

21-22

In 1878…overnight heavy rains of cloudburst intensity on the Palmer Divide to the south of the city caused flash flooding on Cherry Creek in Denver…which resulted in 2 deaths. A wall of water swept through the city between 2:00 am and 3:00 am on the morning of the 22nd. The flood was so sudden and unexpected that homes along the creek in the city were submerged in water knee deep before the slumbering occupants knew anything about it. By daybreak the banks on both sides of the creek were lined by residents viewing the destruction caused by the raging waters in such a short time. Seven bridges across the creek were destroyed in the city. Damage to private and city property was estimated between 30 and 50 thousand dollars. Quite a number of cattle and sheep were killed along the reach of the creek. Only 0.01 inch of rain fell in the city on the 21st with a trace of rain on the 22nd. Flash flooding also occurred on Kiowa Creek near Bennett on the night of the 21st when the flood waters washed out the Kansas Pacific Railroad bridge. An east bound freight train plunged into the turbulent waters killing the three crewmen. The locomotive was completely buried in the sand and never found to this day!

21-23

In 1876…snow changed to heavy rain over the city…resulting in widespread flooding along Cherry Creek and the South Platte River…nearly as great as the flash flood of May 19-20…1864. However…damage was greater because the city had grown much larger and there were more bridges for the flood waters to destroy. Precipitation in the city totaled 6.70 inches from 10:00 pm on the 21st through 3:00 am on the 23rd. The greatest precipitation ever recorded in Denver in 24 hours…6.53 inches…occurred on the 21st and 22nd. Small buildings and bridges along Cherry Creek were washed away by the flood waters. Bridges over the South Platte River were damaged. The city irrigation ditch was damaged and rendered unfit for service. Strong winds at speeds of 30 to 40 mph drove the heavy rain through brick walls 12 to 16 inches thick. Many sheep and cattle were either killed by lightning or drowned…including some 100 head of cattle in Jefferson County alone. There was immense damage to railroad tracks…especially the Kansas Pacific line to the east of the city. The Colorado central suffered estimated damage of 10 to 15 thousand dollars. In addition…the heavy rain caused extensive flooding on soda and bear creeks in the foothills. Flooding along Boulder creek inundated farm and pasture land in the Boulder valley and damaged a few bridges. Rail travel had to be suspended in the area for several days.

22

In 1876…the most precipitation in Denver on any calendar day…6.50 inches…occurred.

In 1901…northeast winds were sustained to 41 mph with gusts to 45 mph.

In 1903…west winds were sustained to 45 mph with gusts to 55 mph from an apparent microburst…which produced a trace of rain.

In 1976…the public reported 3/4 inch diameter hail and wind gusts to 53 mph near Littleton.

In 1987…golf ball size hail fell in the Lorretto Heights area of south metro Denver.

In 1991…a tornado touched down briefly in Castle Rock. No injuries were reported.

In 1993…an off duty national weather service employee reported hail up to golf ball size just west of the city of Denver in Jefferson County. Thunderstorm wind gusts reached 58 mph at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield and 33 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1996…a severe thunderstorm pummeled northwest and northern sections of metro Denver with large hail ranging in size from 3/4 to 2 inches in diameter. The cities of Arvada and Westminster were the hardest hit. The insurance industry estimated 60 million dollars in damage to homes and personal property and 62 million dollars in damage to automobiles…for a total of 122 million dollars in insured losses. This estimate also included the cities of Golden… Thornton…and wheat ridge. This was the fourth worst hailstorm to hit metro Denver in the last 10 years.

In 1998…large hail fell across north metro Denver. Hail as large as 1 1/2 inches in diameter was measured in Broomfield and Hudson. Hail to 1 1/4 inches fell in Roggen. Hail to 1 inch fell in Brighton…near Keenesburg… In Watkins…and in the city of Denver. Lightning ignited a house fire in Ft. Lupton. A warehouse worker in Denver was injured when he was knocked off a loading dock by a lightning bolt. The bolt skipped off a nearby radio tower and struck him in the arm. He was treated for numbness in his right arm and released.

In 1999…severe thunderstorms produced 7/8 inch diameter hail over the city of Denver…with one inch diameter hail reported in Aurora…and 3/4 inch hail near Watkins.

In 2006…a lightning strike sparked a fire and damaged the roof of a recreation center in Evergreen. The fire spread into some brush and consumed about one quarter acre before it was extinguished. Severe thunderstorms produced strong wind gusts across portions of metro Denver. Winds gusted to 72 mph in Georgetown…62 mph near Parker and Bennett… 60 mph in Castle Rock…and 59 mph in Longmont. The winds caused no reportable damage. A thunderstorm produced southwest wind gusts to 52 mph at Denver International Airport.

In 2008…a powerful tornado swept north-northwestward across Weld County…carving a path of destruction nearly 39 miles in length. The tornado…up to one-mile wide at times… Initially touched down northeast of Platteville and finally lifted 6 miles west-northwest of wellington. A tornado assessment in the aftermath of the tornado revealed extensive areas of damage. On the Enhanced Fujita Scale… There were pockets of ef3 damage near the Missile Silo Park campground and to businesses and a home in eastern Windsor. Farmers reported extensive damage to crops and irrigation equipment. There was one fatality and 78 injuries… Ranging from broken bones to minor cuts and lacerations. One man was killed when he tried to escape a trailer park in his motor home. Tractor trailers were flipped along U.S. Highway 85…and over 200 power poles were snapped or blown down. Approximately 60000 people were left without electricity. The tornado overturned 15 railroad cars and destroyed a lumber car. The tornado also flattened the main feedlot in Windsor and destroyed a dairy barn. Most of the 400 cows were killed in the tornado or destroyed later. The thunderstorm also produced hail up to the size of baseballs. Another tornado from a separate thunderstorm… Rated an ef1…briefly touched down near Dacono and destroyed 5 buildings. The tornado overturned a five-wheel trailer and injured a man sitting inside. Preliminary estimates from FEMA indicated 850 homes were damaged…and nearly 300 homes were significantly damaged or destroyed. The Poudre Valley Rural Electric Associated reported $1 million of damage to electric transmission lines. Privately insured damages totaled $147 million…making it the state’s 4th costliest disaster. Large hail up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter…was reported in the vicinities of Golden and Longmont.

In 2014…a severe thunderstorm Denver area produced nickel to quarter size hail in parts of west Denver and near Bennett. Locally heavy rainfall produced some minor street flooding in parts of metro Denver. The heavy rainfall produced localized flash flooding near Bennett. Rainfall totaled 0.54 inches at Denver International Airport.

22-23

In 1933…high winds and gales overnight caused considerable damage in and near the city. Much greenhouse glass was broken…which caused damage to sheltered plants. Great numbers of plants growing in the open were damaged or killed by wind-driven sand and soil. Fields were eroded by the wind and a few trees were uprooted. West winds were sustained to 38 mph with gusts as high as 65 mph in downtown Denver on the 22nd.

23

In 1916…southeast winds were sustained to 43 mph with gusts as high as 52 mph. The winds were strong for several hours during the afternoon.

In 1965…thunderstorm outflow wind gusts to 59 mph were recorded at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1987…slow moving thunderstorms bombarded metro Denver. One inch diameter hail was reported in south central Denver. Torrential rain caused widespread street flooding… Stalling traffic throughout the area. Rainfall totaled 2.10 inches in just 25 minutes in extreme southeast Aurora. Many other locations in Aurora and east Denver reported 1 to 1 1/2 inches of rain in about 30 minutes. Thunderstorm rainfall totaled 1.33 inches at Stapleton International Airport where 1/4 inch diameter hail was measured and north winds gusted to 40 mph. A man was slightly injured by lightning near Stapleton International Airport. Lightning also started a fire that severely damaged a house in Aurora.

In 1990…a microburst wind gust to 52 mph at Stapleton International Airport produced some blowing dust.

In 1991…thunderstorms moving from southwestern sections of metro Denver to the east of Denver produced large hail up to golf ball size. An estimated 5 thousand homes and 8 thousand cars received considerable damage. Early estimates placed damage costs around 60 million dollars. Three funnel clouds were also reported…two by personnel at Buckley Field and the other by a storm spotter. Heavy rain produced street flooding in Aurora where hail accumulated to a depth of 6 inches. As the storms moved to the east…golf ball size hail was reported at Strasburg.

In 1997…hail to 3/4 inch diameter fell in Broomfield.

In 2002…a very strong microburst near Strasburg swept a woman into a swirl of dirt and carried her about 150 feet. The woman was in an open field…corralling a yearling horse… When the incident occurred. Fortunately…she received only minor injuries.

23-24

In 2002…a pacific storm system brought much needed snow to the mountains and foothills with a mix of rain and snow on the plains. The most snow fell from central Jefferson County northward. Snow totals included: 13 inches in Coal Creek Canyon…11 inches near Evergreen and atop Gold Hill… 10 inches near Blackhawk and conifer and atop Crow Hill… 9 inches near Rollinsville…and 8 inches near Genesee and Golden. Rain was mixed with snow across the city. Precipitation totaled 0.61 inch at Denver International Airport. Snowfall was less than an inch at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. The storm brought unseasonably cold air to metro Denver. Three temperature records were set. Low temperature of 31 degrees on the 23rd was a record minimum for the date…as was the low of 32 degrees on the 24th. The high temperature of only 48 degrees equaled the record low maximum for the date.

24

In 1953…a microburst caused a brief wind gust to 55 mph at Stapleton Airport.

In 1957…walnut size hail…1 1/2 inches in diameter…fell in east Denver. Only 1/4 inch hail was measured at Stapleton Airport.

In 1958…rainfall totaled 1 to 2 inches across metro Denver. Rainfall was only 0.37 inches at Stapleton Airport.

In 1974…a tornado was observed briefly near Watkins. No damage was reported.

In 1980…strong gusty winds of at least 60 mph damaged buildings in parts of Denver. Several buildings were unroofed in Sheridan. The flying debris damaged other structures. Strong microburst winds gusted to 52 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1991…a tornado touched down briefly in open country near Bennett. No damage was reported.

In 1994…weather spotters reported 2 funnel clouds over Aurora and a short-lived waterspout on Cheery Creek Reservoir.

In 1997…hail to 1 inch in diameter fell in Broomfield with 3/4 inch hail measured in Boulder.

In 1998…a tornado struck a wooden hangar at the Aurora airpark. The hangar collapsed…damaging a car and a single engine plane parked inside. An adjacent steel hangar sustained only minor damage. The tornado moved northeast…hopped I-70…and touched down again in an open field. Earlier…a weak tornado touched down briefly in an open field 10 miles southeast of Buckley Field.

In 2003…severe thunderstorms produced large hail over northern and southern metro Denver. Hail as large as 2 3/4 inches in diameter was measured 10 miles northwest of Hudson and to 2 inches in diameter 10 miles northeast of Fort Lupton. One inch diameter hail fell in Fort Lupton. Hail to 1 inch in diameter fell near Parker and to 3/4 inch near Franktown.

In 2004…severe thunderstorms moved across northwest and north metro Denver. Hail as large as 1 inch in diameter fell in Broomfield and Thornton with 3/4 inch hail measured near Arvada and Hudson and in the city of Denver.

In 2005…severe thunderstorms produced hail as large as 1 inch in diameter in Arvada and the city of Denver.

In 2014…a severe thunderstorm in Lakewood produced hail…to 1 inch in diameter.

24-26

In 1996…a late spring snowstorm dumped 4 to 10 inches of snow over the Front Range foothills. Conifer picked up 10 inches of new snow; Aspen Springs…9 inches; and central city…8 inches. The sticky…heavy snow clung to power lines and pulled tree branches down…causing power outages to about 1200 homes in the conifer area. It took up to 6 hours to restore power to some residences. Lightning struck a telephone data cabinet in conifer on the 25th…which knocked out phone service to about 1500 customers. Widespread rain fell across metro Denver… Where rainfall totaled 2.07 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport and 1.66 inches at Denver International Airport where north winds gusted to 24 mph on the 26th.

In 2010…high winds preceding a cold front…swept across the Front Range foothills and urban corridor. In Aurora… The wind damaged the roof of Rangeview high school. In conifer and Denver…the wind downed trees and power lines and caused several brief outages. The downed power lines also caused several cars to catch fire in the vicinity of 1590 Cook St. in Denver. Peak wind gusts included: 82 mph at Highlands Ranch…67 mph…4 miles east of Franktown and Longmont; 65 mph in Boulder…64 mph in Centennial and Denver International Airport…62 mph near Parker and 60 mph in Arvada.

25

In 1877…lightning killed one person in west Denver and struck several houses. The bolt struck the house of the “home laundry” stunning the occupants and killing a lady who was holding one of her grand children in her arms. The child escaped unhurt. The lightning also struck the top of a tree in front of the house and partially peeled the bark off the tree. Lightning struck a church in the Evans addition and another tree in east Denver. Lightning struck the switch room at the telegraph office where the operator saw small balls of lightning pass across the room to the stove. The thunderstorm pelted the city with only pea size hail. Precipitation from the storm totaled 0.40 inch in downtown Denver.

In 1880…light rain all afternoon totaled only 0.24 inch in the city…but was valuable to stockmen and farmers due to the very dry…parched weather conditions on the plains.

In 1965…a tornado was sighted by a pilot 30 miles south southeast of Denver. No damage was reported. Another pilot reported 3/4 inch hail 30 miles east of Denver. The state patrol reported that a man was killed when a fierce gust of wind swept him from the back of a pick-up truck in northwest Douglas County. The man was holding a mattress in the bed of the truck.

In 1974…a microburst wind gust to 53 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport. A pilot reported a tornado 20 miles east of Denver.

In 1976…lightning struck a home in Boulder…shattering 2 large trees and damaging a television set.

In 1997…hail as large as 1 3/4 inches in diameter fell near Watkins. Hail to 3/4 inch in diameter fell in Broomfield and near Lochbuie.

In 2000…3/4 inch diameter hail fell at Cheery Creek Reservoir in Aurora. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 51 mph at Denver International Airport where small hail fell.

In 2006…a severe thunderstorm produced an estimated wind gust to 70 mph in Hudson. The strong winds damaged the roof of a home. A thunderstorm produced southwest wind gusts to 54 mph at Denver International Airport.

25-26

In 1950…a major storm dumped 10.0 inches of snowfall downtown and 10.7 inches at Stapleton Airport where northwest winds gusted to 30 mph on the 25th. The storm caused extensive damage to utility wires and trees which were in full leaf. A daily record minimum temperature of 31 degrees occurred on the 25th. This was the coldest temperature on this date in 79 years and for so late in the season.

In 1989…a late season snow storm dropped snow as low as 6 thousand feet along the Front Range. Most places in the foothills had 2 to 5 inches of snow. Overnight rainfall totaled 0.33 inch at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 37 mph on the 25th.

In 1994…lightning struck a television transmitter on Lookout Mountain near Golden and burned out a switcher…which disrupted cable service for 2 hours.

26

In 1897…apparent post-frontal north winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts as high as 48 mph.

In 1942…the all-time highest recorded temperature in May…95 degrees…occurred.

In 1978…two children were struck and killed by lightning on a junior high school playground in Parker.

In 1987…1 inch diameter hail fell near Boulder and Bennett. The hail was fairly soft and caused no damage.

In 1993…dry thunderstorms produced wind gusts to 81 mph at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield. Several trees were blown down by the strong winds. Microburst winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1995…a woman was injured in Littleton when the car she had just entered was struck by lightning. All of the windows in the car were blown out by the strike. A funnel cloud was sighted near Littleton.

In 2000…a strong microburst wind gust to 92 mph flipped a small airplane on its back and blew a dc-3 loose from its moorings…which allowed it to roll onto a grassy field at Front Range airport near Watkins.

In 2010…severe thunderstorms pounded parts of the urban corridor with very large hail…heavy rain…damaging winds and a tornado. The hail…ranging in size from 1 inch to 2 3/4 inches in diameter…struck Brighton…Commerce City and northeast Denver the hardest. The storms continued to spread destruction to the north and east…impacting Byers…Hudson…deer trail and prospect valley. The combination of hail and wind stripped the bark and branches from trees. Numerous accidents were reported as the hail accumulated up to a foot deep. Snowplows were called out to clear the roadways. Flash flooding occurred along State Highway 52 between Hudson and Keenesburg…and forcing the closure of the highway. Widespread crop damage was also reported as the area was inundated with up to 18 inches of water. Extensive damage to homes…businesses and automobiles was reported with the damage estimated to be around 70 million dollars. A tornado touched down near Denver International Airport…but did no damage. Lightning struck a child in Commerce City while she was watching television. She suffered minor injuries to her leg. At the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge…a lightning strike killed a bison. At Denver International Airport…only 0.01 inch of rainfall was observed…along with a peak wind gust to 48 mph from the southeast.

26-31

In 1995…a cool period with light morning showers and moderate to heavy afternoon showers and thunderstorms pushed rivers already swollen from mountain snow melt over their banks causing minor flooding. Streams and rivers such as the South Platte and Boulder creek flooded meadowlands…bike paths…roads near streams…and other low lying areas. No significant property damage was reported and crop damage was unknown. Rainfall totaled 1.79 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport and only 1.51 inches at Denver International Airport.

27

In 1874…an apparent thunderstorm gust front reached the city at 6:40 pm. Strong southwest winds sustained to 48 mph for a few minutes produced large columns of dust in the city and on the prairie. There was no rain in the city.

In 1942…a duststorm swept into the city…but no damage was reported. West winds were sustained to 23 mph.

In 1953…a heavy hailstorm caused an estimated 100 thousand dollars damage across metro Denver. Larger than golf ball size hail fell in Westminster and north Denver. Only 1/8 inch hail was measured at Stapleton Airport.

In 1955…west-northwest winds at 35 mph with gusts as high as 58 mph briefly reduced the visibility to 1/2 mile in blowing dust at Stapleton Airport.

In 1981…lightning damaged power lines west of Lakewood and blew up a transformer at the Denver federal center. Hail 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter was reported in Lakewood and on I-25 south of Denver.

In 2001…hail as large as 3/4 inch in diameter was measured near Commerce City.

In 2003…hail to 3/4 inch in diameter fell near central city.

In 2006…unusually warm weather for late May produced two temperature records. The high temperature of 93 degrees was a record maximum for the date. The low temperature of 59 degrees equaled the record high minimum temperature for the date. Both previous records occurred in 1895.

28

In 1884…a thunderstorm apparently produced large hail. The hail stones were noted as unusually large…but the diameter of the stones was not measured. The hail fell for only 5 minutes. Precipitation from the storm was only 0.05 inch.

In 1898…heavy thunderstorm rainfall totaled 1.74 inches in downtown Denver. Hail of unknown size accompanied the storm.

In 1981…a woman in Aurora was struck and killed by lightning. Another bolt injured a boy on a bicycle at about the same time a short distance away. About half an inch of rain in 20 minutes caused street flooding in the area. A tornado touched down for about 2 minutes some 3 miles north of Stapleton International Airport.

In 1982…severe thunderstorms produced golf ball size hail in southeast Denver…Aurora…and Strasburg. The large hailstones undoubtedly damaged some cars in the area. At Stapleton International Airport…only 1/2 inch diameter hail was measured.

In 1991…golf ball size hail fell in Brighton. No damage was reported. Later…hail ranging in size from 3/4 inch to 1 1/2 inches in diameter fell over southwestern sections of metro Denver. In some areas…hail piled up a few inches in depth.

In 1994…thunderstorm wind gusts to 65 mph damaged 16 small airplanes and a hangar at centennial airport.

In 2001…severe thunderstorms produced large hail across metro Denver. Hail as large as 1 inch in diameter fell in Lakewood…Wheat Ridge…northwest Denver…near Watkins… Bennett…and Keenesburg. Hail 3/4 inch or larger fell in Brighton. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 58 mph at Denver International Airport. A small tornado (f0) touched down near Bennett…but did no damage.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Comment

*