September 4 to September 10: This Week in Denver Weather History

This Week in Denver Weather History

The first full week of September sees us start one of the most pleasant times of year in Denver. While less common this time year, severe weather can and does occur. Our look back at this week in Denver weather history includes hail, damaging wind and even smoke from wildfires hundreds of miles away.

From the National Weather Service


In 1995…record breaking heat occurred on the first 5 days of the month when the temperature climbed into the 90’s on each day. Record high temperatures of 97 degrees on both the 1st and 4th equaled the all-time record maximum for the month. High temperature of 95 degrees on the 3rd was a record for the date. High temperatures of 94 degrees on both the 2nd and the 5th were not records. The low temperature of 64 degrees on the 4th equaled the record high minimum for the date.


In 1978…the temperature reached 90 degrees or more on seven consecutive days with the highest temperature…94 degrees… Recorded on both the 4th and 6th.


In 2020…a worsening drought that started in the spring and continued through September. Outside of an early season snow on the 8th…the month of September was another unseasonably warm and dry period. The combination of hot…mostly dry conditions…and critically dry fuels… resulted in a continuation and rapid expansion of several massive wildfires. The Cameron Peak fire…which became the largest in the state`s history started on August 13th…and continued through September. As a result…very poor air quality continued to impact Denver and the entire Front Range. Denver recorded the most days ever with a high temperature of 90 degrees or better; 75 days. The last of which was 91 degrees on the 24th. The previous record was 73 days set in 2012.


In 1909…rainfall for the 4 days accumulated to 3.97 inches in Boulder…while in Denver rainfall totaled 2.45 inches on the 4th…5th…and 6th.


In 1909…apparent post-frontal heavy rainfall totaled 1.94 inches in downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 19 mph.

In 1944…a trace of rain fell. This together with a trace of rain on the 9th…10th…and 30th was the only precipitation for the month. The total of a trace of precipitation for the month equaled the driest September on record first set in 1892.

In 1960…the highest recorded temperature in September…97 degrees…occurred. The same temperature also occurred on September 5…1899…September 1…1995…and September 4… 1995.

In 1989…a strong thunderstorm wind gust flipped a plane taxiing on a private runway in Adams County east of Denver. Two people were slightly injured and the plane was heavily damaged.

In 1992…strong winds developed across metro Denver behind a pacific cold front. Sustained winds above 40 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph were recorded mainly in and near the foothills. Pre-frontal south winds gusted to 37 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1995…two people were injured when lightning struck their home in Lakewood. The lightning entered the attic where it started a small fire. It then traveled through the walls… Exploding a mirror and spraying glass on the residents. Lightning also sparked small grass fires near Aurora…Denver International Airport…and Bennett. The highest recorded temperature in September…97 degrees…occurred. The same temperature also occurred on September 5…1899…September 4…1960…and September 1…1995.

In 2000…thunderstorm winds gusted to 64 mph in Castle Rock.


In 1899…the highest recorded temperature in September…97 degrees…occurred. The same temperature was also reached on September 4…1960…and September 1 and 4…1995.

In 1940…a severe wind and hail storm confined mostly to the west and north parts of the city occurred shortly after 4:30 pm. Hail stones ranged in size from 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter. In north Denver…hail piled to a depth of 4 inches. Flooding occurred in one underpass…which stalled 2 cars. One girl was injured when the weight of the hail flattened a porch on which she stood. Northeast winds were sustained to 29 mph with gusts to 32 mph in downtown Denver.

In 1987…a thunderstorm complex produced hail as large as 1 3/8 inches in diameter…2 miles east of Buckley Field in Aurora. No damage was reported.


In 2020…a strong upper level low brought an end to record heat to the Front Range urban corridor…and provided Denver its second earliest measurable snowfall on record. Numerous heat records were set leading up to the snowfall…and several new snowfall and cold records were also broken in this abrupt bout with winter. Denver set its all time record high for September…reaching 101 degrees during the afternoon. This was also the latest date a 100 degree reading has ever been observed in Denver. Another daily record high was then tied on September 6th when Denver hit 97 degrees. September 7th was the last day of heat when Denver`s high temperature reached 93 degrees. That tied Denver for the record for the number of 90 degree days for a year at 73…and was also the warmest temperature ever recorded before a day of measurable snowfall. By the evening of September 7th…a series of cold fronts progressed southward from Wyoming into Colorado… dropping the temperature into the low 30s by the early morning hours of September 8th. Snow developed across the Front Range mountains and foothills overnight… while a mix of rain and snow developed along the I-25 corridor. A few locations picked up light snowfall accumulations in the morning. Accumulating snow was mostly confined to the higher elevations much of the day…before spreading across the plains during the late afternoon and evening. Storm totals ranged from 4 to 10 inches in the mountains…with 3 to 6 inches near the foothills. A total of 5.6 inches of snow was measured at the NWS Boulder office…while at Denver International Airport…the official measurement was 1.0 inch.


In 1988…layers of smoke aloft from large forest fires in Yellowstone National Park completely obliterated the sun at times. At Stapleton International Airport…surface visibility was reduced at times to 5 and 6 miles in smoke.


In 1940…a thunderstorm pelted the city with small hail. The storm produced some lightning damage. One woman was stunned by a bolt which struck near her. Heavy rain from the storm raised the level of Cherry Creek by more than 3 feet during the height of the storm. Rainfall downtown was only 0.26 inch.

In 1988…strong winds blew down two houses that were under construction in Castle Rock. Northwest winds gusted to 44 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1993…a man was struck and killed by lightning while standing outside his home in unincorporated Arapahoe County 11 miles south of Denver. Lightning also struck a cabin in Marshdale…20 miles southwest of Denver…which started a fire and damaged one room and a portion of the roof.

In 1995…hail as large as 3/4 inch in diameter fell in Coal Creek Canyon in northern Jefferson County.

In 2001…a thunderstorm dropped 3/4 inch diameter hail in Aurora near Cherry Creek.


In 1875…the creeks were running dangerously high during the night from heavy rains in the mountains.

In 1885…a thunderstorm produced very white hail of irregular shape and about the size of beans. Precipitation was only 0.10 inch.

In 1971…a vigorous cold front accompanied by a thunderstorm produced wind gusts to 48 mph at Stapleton International Airport and much upslope cloudiness and light rain across metro Denver.

In 1989…widespread thunderstorms produced lightning strikes that knocked out power to about 13 thousand homes in Boulder County. In a rugged area stripped of vegetation by a forest fire earlier in July…heavy rain triggered mud slides that destroyed one home and severely damaged another in Boulder Canyon 10 miles west of Boulder. In one home…the mud caved in an exterior wall and poured into the residence only seconds after 2 people had evacuated the premises. Rainfall totaled 1 to 3 inches. Hail 1 3/4 inches in diameter fell in Nederland…Idaho Springs…and Golden Gate Canyon. Hail 1 inch in diameter was measured 10 miles north of Golden.

In 1993…thunderstorm winds toppled an overhead sign onto the intersection of I-70 and I-25 in Denver…causing considerable damage to 4 vehicles. The winds also caused a police car to be blown off the road northeast of Denver. Thunderstorm winds gusting to 66 mph damaged the siding of a residence southeast of Brighton. A thunderstorm wind gust to 53 mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport. Hail to 7/8 inch in diameter fell at Kittredge in the foothills of Jefferson County.

In 1994…lightning severely damaged a public television transmitter atop Squaw Mountain west of Denver.


In 1884…a windstorm from mid-afternoon until the early morning hours of the 8th produced south winds sustained to 48 mph. The strong winds toppled several trees in the city.

In 1892…there was a trace of rainfall each day. This together with a trace of rain on both the 2nd and 3rd was the only rainfall of the month…making the month the driest on record. The record was equaled in 1944.


In 1886…the last thunderstorm of the season pelted the city with hail the size of beans and dropped 0.81 inch of precipitation.

In 1962…the earliest first freeze of the season occurred. The temperature dipped to a low of 31 degrees.

In 1973…hail up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter fell northeast of Boulder. A tornado was reported by a pilot east of Parker. No damage was reported.


In 1933…heavy rain in the foothills over the clear creek and Golden Gate Canyon watersheds caused flooding in Golden and damaged the roadway in Golden Gate Canyon… Which resulted in its closure.

In 1969…a funnel cloud was sighted in southeast Denver. There was also considerable thunderstorm activity and local heavy rain across metro Denver. Rainfall totaled 1.30 inches at Stapleton International Airport where small hail also fell.

In 1973…hail from 3/4 inch to 1 3/4 inches in diameter fell in Westminster and south of Broomfield.

In 2011…A man was struck by lightning at the Adams County Fairgrounds.  He was leaning against a tree while watching a cross country meet when the tree was hit.  The lightning traveled down the tree and up through the ground…using him as a conductor.  The victim received second and third degree burns.


In 1933…heavy rain over the Cherry Creek…Plum Creek…Big Dry Creek…and Little Dry Creek watersheds caused flooding on the South Platte River in Denver overnight. Nearly an inch of rain…0.98 inch…fell in the city.

In 1944…a trace of rain fell on each day. This together with a trace of rain on the 4th and 30th was the only precipitation for the month. The total of a trace of precipitation for the month equaled the driest September on record first set in 1892.

In 1994…unusually very warm weather resulted in three temperature records being equaled. High temperatures of 94 degrees on the 9th and 93 degrees on the 10th equaled record maximums for the dates. Low temperature of 63 degrees on the 9th equaled the record high minimum for the date.


In 1985…golf ball size hail was reported just east of Parker.

In 1989…3/4 inch diameter hail fell in Littleton. Heavy rain produced local flooding in Lakewood. The heavy rain caused the wall of a house to collapse.

In 1993…thunderstorm winds downed power lines…which caused a power outage in Castle Rock.


In 2018…the high temperature equaled or exceeded 90 degrees for 8 consecutive days; breaking the previous streak of 7 consecutive days in the month of September.


In 2018…the high temperature equaled or exceeded 90 degrees for 9 consecutive days; marking the first time such an occurrence has taken place in the month of September. It also brought September of 2018 into a 4-way tie for most 90 degree + days in the month. Previous years included 2017…2005 and 1895. During the streak…4 record high temperatures were either tied or broken…and one record high minumum temperatures was broken.

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