Wind and snow are two hallmarks of Denver’s November weather and we see an abundance of those events in our look back at this week in Denver weather history. Damaging wind makes numerous appearances as does wintry weather.
From the National Weather Service:
In 2014…an Arctic cold front on the 10th…associated with a strong storm system over the northern Rockies blasted into northeast Colorado. The temperature in Denver plummeted from the high of 64 degrees at 4:37 pm to 34 degrees by 5:53 pm. The temperatures continued to fall and dropped into the teens by early evening. The Arctic airmass remained entrenched over the region through the morning of the 14th…with the high temperatures failing to reach the teens from the 11th through the 13th. This was the first time since records have been taken in Denver…dating back to 1872…that there were three consecutive days with the maximum temperatures remained below 20 degrees in the month of November. In addition to the frigid temperatures…0.1 inch of snowfall was observed on 11th at Denver International Airport…which marked the first measureable snowfall for the season. An additional 2.2 inches of snowfall was measured on the 12th. Several temperature records were broken. A record low max of 16 degrees on the 11th broke the previous record of 19 set back in 1916. A record low max of 6 degrees on the 12th broke the previous record of 9 degrees…also set in 1916. The record low of -13 on the 12th…shattered the previous record of -4 degrees set back in 1872. Even more impressive…the record low of -14 degrees on the 13th broke the previous record of -3 degrees set back in 1916. The sudden drop in temperatures on the 10th…followed by several days of sub-freezing temperatures chilled trees to the core. The record drop in temperatures…preceded by mild fall temperatures…damaged or killed scores of trees across the I-25 Corridor and northeast plains. At the time…the trees were not finished with the hardening process that enables them to withstand winter weather. Many were instantly flash-frozen…and some would not show signs of damage until spring of 2015. Of the 2.2 million trees in the city of Denver alone…tens of thousands were killed from the November frost. Denver estimated a citywide loss of more than 10 million dollars.
In 1922…a major storm dumped 14.1 inches of snowfall over downtown Denver. The most snow on the ground was 10.5 inches at 6:00 pm on the 12th. North winds were sustained to 21 mph on the 11th. Temperatures were generally in the teens and 20’s.
In 1964…strong winds in Boulder caused power outages and minor damage. Winds gusted to 42 mph in downtown Boulder. At Stapleton International Airport west winds gusted to 36 mph on the 11th and 35 mph on the 12th.
In 1976…snow and freezing drizzle caused icing on bridges… Overpasses and some main roads. The elevated portion of I-70 was closed for a time during the afternoon of the 11th. Snowfall totaled only 0.8 inch at Stapleton International Airport…where northeast winds gusted to 20 mph on the 11th.
In 1989…the temperature climbed to a maximum of 76 degrees on both days…setting new record highs for each day.
In 1995…hurricane force downslope winds whipped across the Front Range foothills overnight. The National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder registered a peak wind gust to 124 mph with several more wind gusts over 100 mph. Utility poles and power lines were downed…leaving several hundred homes in Boulder without power. Windows were blown out of cars in Boulder. Other reports of strong wind gusts included: 108 mph atop Squaw Mountain west of Denver…104 mph at Table Mesa in Boulder…99 mph at Golden Gate Canyon… 85 mph at the Rocky Flats environmental technology site… 69 mph at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield…and 62 mph in Lakewood. West-northwest wind gusts to 40 mph were recorded at Denver International Airport on the 12th.
In 2018…a period of moderate to heavy upslope snowfall to occurred in the Front Range Mountains and Foothills…and urban corridor mainly west of I-25. The foothills of Boulder and Jefferson counties received the greatest snowfall. Storm totals included: 14 inches…4 miles west of Boulder… Genesee and near Tiny Town; 13 inches…2 miles southwest of Boulder; 12.5 inches…4 miles northeast of Nederland; 12 inches near Roxborough State Park and Schaffer`s Crossing; 11.5 inches near Jamestown; 11 inches near Pinecliffe; 10.3 inches at the National Weather Service in Boulder; 10 inches near Conifer and near Niwot; 9 inches…4 miles east of Gold Hill; 8.5 inches near Greenland; 8 inches near Monument and Wheat Ridge; 7.5 inches near Louisville; with 5 to 7 inches in Arvada…Castle Rock…Erie…Lafayette…Longmont…Ken Caryl… and Rocky Flats. At Denver International Airport…2.6 inches of snowfall was observed.
In 1970…heavy snowfall totaled 7.2 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 22 mph on the 12th and 14th. Most of the snow… 4.2 inches…fell on the 12th.
In 1894…northeast winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts to 48 mph behind an apparent dry cold front.
In 1903…west winds sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 45 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 57 degrees. A trace of snow was observed.
In 1922…heavy snowfall of 8.5 inches was measured over downtown Denver.
In 1974…strong winds gusting to over 80 mph caused local damage to houses and property along the foothills from Denver north. Automobiles…homes…and power lines suffered damage in Boulder. West winds gusted to 41 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1961…heavy snowfall totaled 5.6 inches at Stapleton Airport. East-northeast winds gusted to only 20 mph.
In 2011…hurricane force winds…up to 115 mph… downed trees in and power lines across the Front Range Mountains and Foothills. Scattered outages were reported in Gilpin County. In Boulder…a woman received minor injuries when she was struck in the head by a falling tree limb. Three women near Georgetown received minor injuries when they were pelted by glass shards after a barrage of wind driven rocks and dirt shattered their windshield. Peak wind gusts included: 109 mph…6 miles north-northwest of Berthoud Pass; 101 mph atop Kenosha Pass…100 mph… 2 miles south-southwest of Loveland Pass; 99 mph…7 miles west-northwest of Berthoud; 92 mph at Blackhawk; 90 mph…3 miles south-southwest of Boulder; 87 mph…2 miles west-northwest of Aspen Springs and at Pickle Gulch; 84 mph at Loveland Pass and Lyons; 82 mph at the National Wind Technology Center; 80 mph at Dumont and 78 mph near Rollinsville and Ward. At Denver International Airport…west winds gusted to 52 mph on the 12th.
In 1909…light snowfall totaled 6.7 inches in downtown Denver over the 4 days. This was the first measurable snowfall of the season. Northeast winds were sustained to 15 mph on the 12th.
In 1951…northwest wind gusts to 50 mph were recorded at Stapleton Airport.
In 1983…winds gusted to around 60 mph in and near the foothills. There were scattered power outages and a few broken windows across metro Denver. The strong winds did 10 thousand dollars in damage to awnings at the Brown Palace Hotel in downtown Denver. West winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1925…heavy post-frontal snowfall totaled 6.4 inches overnight in downtown Denver. Northwest winds were sustained to 27 mph with gusts to 29 mph on the 13th.
In 1974…northwest winds gusted to 52 mph at Stapleton International Airport…warming the temperature to 60 degrees shortly after midnight on the 13th. A cold front cooled temperatures into the 20’s by late morning and produced snowfall of 3.7 inches. The low temperature dipped to 14 degrees on the 14th.
In 1993…an upper level low pressure system combined with a weak but moist upslope flow to produce heavy snow across metro Denver. Snowfall amounts averaged 6 to 8 inches with up to 16 inches in the foothills at the Eldora Ski Area. Snowfall totaled 6.0 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to only 20 mph on the 14th. Most of the snow fell on the 14th.
In 1994…heavy snow developed rapidly along the Front Range urban corridor with the heaviest snow over northwest metro Denver. Sixteen to 18 inches of snow fell in Boulder… Lafayette…and Louisville. This was the second heavy snowfall over northwest metro Denver in 10 days. Eleven to 14 inches of snow were measured from Longmont southward into Aurora. Snowfall totaled 12.1 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 29 mph on the 13th. Most of the snow…9.0 inches…fell on the 14th.
In 1997…heavy snow fell overnight in portions of Jefferson and Boulder counties. About 5.5 inches of snow were reported in Boulder…while 4 inches were measured 12 miles southwest of Morrison and 6 miles southwest of Golden. Snowfall totaled only 1.8 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. Northeast winds gusted to 26 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 1874…west winds blew at gale speeds from midnight until mid afternoon when the winds abated. The maximum sustained velocity was 48 mph.
In 1928…strong winds caused 3 hundred to 5 hundred dollars damage in Boulder. Wind gusts to 70 mph were recorded at Valmont just east of Boulder.
In 2006…an upper level jet stream combined with a high surface pressure gradient behind a cold front to produce strong winds across metro Denver. A wind gust to 66 mph was recorded in Longmont. North winds were sustained to 38 mph with gusts to 52 mph at Denver International Airport where winds were strong and gusty most of the day.
In 2020…a peak wind gust to 60 mph was observed from the northwest at Denver International Airport…with a peak gust to 55 mph at Centennial Airport.
In 1917…overnight rainfall was 0.03 inch. This was the only measurable precipitation of the month…making it the 5th driest November on record.
In 1985…3 to 6 inches of snow fell across metro Denver. Snowfall totaled 3.8 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to only 13 mph.
In 2005…a winter storm that brought heavy snow to the mountains also spread heavy snow into the foothills to the west of Denver. Snowfall totals included: 14 inches at Aspen Springs…13 inches near Pinecliffe…and 12 inches near Nederland. Interstate 70 along with U.S. Highway 40 had to be closed near Idaho Springs due to snow…poor visibility in blowing snow…numerous accidents…and an increased avalanche danger. High winds were recorded in the foothills on the 14th. Winds gusted to 89 mph at Georgetown and to 91 mph on Sugarloaf Mountain west of Boulder. Strong microburst winds associated with a dissipating rain shower gusted to 61 mph at Denver International Airport on the 14th.
In 1964…the first measurable snowfall of the season totaled 6.0 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 32 mph on the 14th. Most of the snow…4.2 inches…fell on the 14th. This was the only measurable snow of the month.
In 1902…4.0 inches of snow fell over downtown Denver. This was the only measurable snow of the month. Northeast winds were sustained to 18 mph with gusts to 20 mph.
In 1906…strong winds howled and roared across Boulder… Causing several thousand dollars in damage. The strong winds caused one fatality and minor injuries to others. West winds were sustained to 46 mph in downtown Denver where the strong Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 74 degrees.
In 1944…the low temperature dipped to 32 degrees. This is the latest date of the first freeze in Denver.
In 1949…a trace of rain fell. Another trace of rain on the 11th was the only precipitation of the month…making the month one of the driest Novembers on record and the least snowiest with no snow. This was the first November since 1882 without snow.
In 1960…strong winds caused 2 thousand dollars damage to a new school building in Boulder where wind gusts were estimated to 70 mph. Wind gusts to 40 mph were recorded in downtown Denver. Damage occurred to utility lines…signs… And trees. Northwest winds gusted to 44 mph at Stapleton Airport.
In 1986…strong Chinook winds howled over the Front Range foothills. The highest wind gust…81 mph…was recorded at Table Mesa in Boulder. West winds gusted to 31 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1987…the first measurable snow of the season was also a major snowstorm. The snow combined with strong winds to close I-70 east of Denver and I-25 to Colorado Springs. Snow accumulations ranged from 6 to 9 inches across metro Denver with 10 to 20 inches in the foothills. At Stapleton International Airport…6.1 inches of snow fell and north winds gusted to 47 mph reducing the visibility to as low as 1/8 mile in heavy snow. Strong north winds at 20 to 30 mph with frequent gusts to 40 mph and temperatures hovering around 30 degrees plunged wind chill temperatures to 5 below zero.
In 1988…the season’s first snow storm hit metro Denver. The storm dumped 2 to 5 inches of snow…which caused numerous traffic snarls and accidents. North wind gusts to 43 mph caused some blowing snow. Snowfall totaled 2.5 inches at Stapleton International Airport. This was the latest first snow of the season. No traces of snow had occurred earlier in the season.
In 2010…the combination of light snow…wind…black ice and careless driving resulted in a 34-vehicle crash along Interstate 25 north of Monument. Five tractor-trailers were involved in the pileup. Although there were no fatalities… 18 people were seriously injured and taken to nearby hospitals. The northbound lanes of I-25 were closed for several hours…snarling the traffic between Denver and Colorado Springs.
In 1894…winds behind an apparent strong cold front were sustained to 60 mph with gusts to 75 mph on the 15th. Snowfall totaled 2.6 inches in the city. Temperatures plunged from a high of 72 degrees on the 15th to a low of only 5 degrees on the 16th. The high temperature on the 16th was 24 degrees…which occurred shortly after midnight.
In 1996…around a foot of new snow fell in the foothills west of Denver with 3 to 6 inches at lower elevations across metro Denver. Some of the snowfall totals included: 15 inches at Georgetown…12 inches at Idaho Springs…10 inches at Chief Hosa…and 9 inches in Coal Creek Canyon. Snowfall totaled 2.9 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. Northeast winds gusted to 23 mph at Denver International Airport on the 16th.
In 1991…a strong winter storm dumped heavy snow over metro Denver. Snowfall amounts totaled 15 inches at Castle Rock and conifer…14 inches at Morrison and Parker…12 inches in southeast Aurora…and 11.6 inches at Stapleton International Airport. Winds were light with the storm.
In 1899…a trace of rain fell in the city. This…together with a trace of precipitation on the 21st and 23rd…was the only precipitation of the month…making the month the driest on record. The record was equaled in November of 1901 and 1949.
In 1926…rain changed to snow behind a cold front and totaled 2.0 inches. North winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts as high as 54 mph.
In 1930…strong winds occurred in Boulder causing minor damage. At Valmont just east of Boulder…winds gusted to 52 mph. West winds were sustained to 37 mph with gusts to 46 mph in downtown Denver.
In 1948…a west-northwest wind gust to 50 mph was recorded at Stapleton Airport.
In 2010…the combination of heavy snow and strong winds produced dangerous driving conditions in the high country. Blizzard conditions forced the closure of U.S. Highway 6 at Loveland pass and U.S. Highway 40 at Berthoud Pass. Blowing and drifting snow forced the closure of a 65-mile stretch of interstate 70…west of Idaho Springs. Peak wind gusts included: 68 mph atop Niwot Ridge…55 mph near Blackhawk and Gunsight…and 52 mph at Berthoud Pass. Storm totals in the ski areas west of Denver ranged from 12 to 21 inches. Northwest winds gusted to 55 mph at Denver International Airport on the 16th.
In 1921…heavy snowfall totaled 6.5 inches over downtown Denver. This was the only measurable snow of the month. East winds were sustained to 14 mph on the 17th.
In 1948…a dry vigorous cold front accompanied by north winds gusting to 60 mph produced extensive blowing dust…which briefly reduced the visibility to 1/2 mile at Stapleton Airport.
In 1993…a wind gust to 70 mph was recorded atop Squaw Mountain near Idaho Springs.
In 1994…winds gusted to 66 mph in Boulder and to 63 mph on Rocky Flats south of Boulder. West winds gusted to 49 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 2000…snow fell in the foothills west of Denver…mainly south of the I-70 corridor. Snowfall totals included: 8.5 inches…7 miles south of tiny town; 6 inches at Genesee; and 5 inches…11 miles southwest of Morrison. Only a trace of snow was recorded at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.
In 2016…bands of moderate to heavy snow fell along the Interstate 70 Corridor as strong fast moving storm system moved across Colorado. Wet roads quickly became icy and snowpacked. A 20-vehicle crash involving semis kept both directions of I-70 closed near Evergreen for a couple of hours. Storm totals included: 11.5 inches…4.5 miles south-southeast of Idaho Springs; 8 inches…5 miles west of Evergreen; 7.5 inches near Conifer…with 4 to 7 inches elsewhere. At Denver International Airport…1.7 inches of snowfall was observed.
In 1869…the heaviest wind storm in 5 or 6 years raked the eastern foothills including Boulder…Denver…Georgetown… And Golden. Some hundreds of dollars in damage occurred in Boulder.
In 1872…fresh west winds contributed to the relative humidity dipping to zero at 2:43 pm. The maximum temperature was 54 degrees.
In 1907…heavy snowfall totaled 6.0 inches over downtown Denver. Snow fell all day. North winds were sustained to 19 mph.
In 1915…northwest winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts as high as 48 mph. It was windy most of the day.
In 1996…high winds struck the foothills west of Denver. Wind gusts ranged from 70 to 75 mph. A few power lines were downed…but no major outages were reported.
In 1998…strong downslope winds developed during the morning. Wind gusts reached a peak of 72 mph at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield. West winds gusted to 41 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 1999…high winds developed in and near the Front Range foothills. The strong winds downed power lines…which sparked several small brush fires. In Broomfield… Scaffolding was damaged at the Wadsworth Recreation Center…while flying rocks broke several windows at a local bank building. Peak wind gusts included: 91 mph atop Blue Mountain near Wondervu…88 mph atop the Gamow Tower on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder… 83 mph at Jefferson County Airport…81 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research mesa lab above Boulder…and 80 mph at Wondervu. West-northwest winds gusted to 48 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 1975…snowfall totaled only 5.5 inches and north winds gusted to 35 mph causing some blowing snow at Stapleton International Airport…while a major blizzard struck southeastern Colorado.
In 1985…4 to 7 inches of snow fell across metro Denver. Snowfall totaled 4.4 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 23 mph.
In 1991…another strong winter storm produced heavy snow over metro Denver. Snowfall totaled 9.5 inches at Stapleton International Airport with 9 inches at Parker… And 8 inches in southeast Denver…Morrison…and Wheat Ridge. This second storm brought the 5 day (15th-19th) snowfall total at Stapleton International Airport to 21.1 inches. The greatest depth of snow on the ground was 13 inches on the morning of the 19th. The adverse effects of the two storms were diminished by the lack of significant winds.
In 1930…a major storm dumped a total of 13.6 inches of snowfall over downtown Denver. Most of the snow…9.4 inches…fell on the 19th when north winds were sustained to 23 mph. This was the only measurable snow of the month. Temperatures hovered in the 20’s and lower 30’s.
In 1956…an intense winter storm dumped 12.8 inches of snowfall on metro Denver. Strong north-northeast winds gusting to 33 mph at Stapleton Airport frequently reduced the visibility to 1/2 mile in snow and blowing snow on the 19th. Most of the snowfall…10.7 inches…occurred on the 19th.