Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Denver/Boulder, CO

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NOUS45 KBOU 210045

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Denver/Boulder CO
645 PM MDT SAT MAY 20 2017

...This week in metro Denver weather history...

20-21 In 1891...heavy rain was mixed with snow at times and totaled
        2.02 inches in the city.  Snowfall was 1.0 inch.  Northeast
        winds gusted to 28 mph on the 20th.
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 consume 3850
        acres before it could be contained.  Thirteen structures
        were destroyed...including 4 homes...resulting in 2.2 million
        dollars in damage.
21    In extensive fire at Central City in the mountains to
        the west of Denver produced large columns of smoke that were
        visible from the city.  In the afternoon...the smoke and fire
        produced a dark inky black convective cloud...which spread over
        the city and produced brief strong and gusty winds along with
        a few sprinkles of rain.
      In 1880...west winds increased to a sustained velocity of 40 mph
        during the afternoon.
      In 1893...north winds were sustained to 48 mph.
      In 1914...a severe thunderstorm was attended by hail...excessive
        rainfall which totaled 1.94 inches...and an unusual amount
        of vivid lightning.  The heavy rainfall of 0.83 inch in 15
        minutes produced flooding...which caused considerable damage
        to bottom lands in eastern and southern parts of the city.
        Many garden tracts and cellars were flooded.  Southwest
        winds were sustained to 29 mph with gusts to 34 mph.
      In precipitation occurred...making this one of
        only two days without precipitation during the entire
        month.  The other day was the 10th.  Precipitation
        totaled 4.95 inches for the month.
      In 1952...a tornado produced a high column of dust and dirt
        over northwest Denver.  No damage was reported.
      In 1988...a microburst wind gust to 52 mph was recorded at
        Stapleton International Airport.
      In 2002...very strong winds occurred over metro Denver and
        northeastern Colorado as a developing surface low pressure
        center intensified.  Trees and branches snapped...downing
        power lines across parts of metro Denver.  About 20 thousand
        residents lost electricity.  The strong winds produced much
        blowing dust and dirt especially to the northeast of metro
        Denver.  Winds gusted to 61 mph at Parker.  South winds
        gusted to 58 mph at Denver International Airport.
      In 2006...a large dust devil formed near Quincy Reservoir in
        south Aurora.  The tall column resembling a tornado or
        smoke plume extended upward into small high-based cumulus
        clouds and was visible for miles across southern Aurora
        and eastern Centennial.  No damage was reported.
      In 2014...severe thunderstorms occurred in and around metro
        Denver. The storms produced large hail...from quarter to
        golfball size. Frontier Airlines canceled 16 flights...when
        several planes sustained hail damage. Forty flights at Denver
        International Airport were either delayed or canceled. Some
        homes in Green Valley Ranch...east of Denver...were damaged by
        hail. Several vehicles were also damaged. Five short lived
        tornadoes touched down near Bennett and Byers but no damage
        was reported. The storms also produced heavy rain and strong
        damaging winds. The wind downed trees and power lines east of
        Denver. The heavy rain and hail...up to 6 inches deep in
        spots...caused street flooding around the metro area. The
        hailstorm at Dicks Sporting Goods Park knocked out power to
        the stadium where the 4A and 5A girls soccer championship
        games were about to be played. The inclement weather snarled
        traffic on Interstate 70...Pena Boulevard...U.S. 85 and
        elsewhere due to the flooded roads. In some areas...snow plows
        were called out to clear the hail. Parts of Tower Road and
        Peoria Street...and other roads in Commerce City...were closed
        through the late evening hours...because of standing water.
        Several vehicles stalled in standing water where water pooled
        in the underpasses. At Denver International Airport...1.2
        inches of water was observed...along with a wind gust to 42
        mph from the northwest.
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 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 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
      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 Missle 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
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 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 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
      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 spotters reported 2 funnel clouds over
        Aurora and a short-lived waterspout on Cherry Creek
      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
      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
      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...
        up 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 Centenniel 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
      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 Cherry 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
      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
      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 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 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
      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.

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