Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Denver/Boulder, CO
NOUS45 KBOU 160859
Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Denver/Boulder CO
259 AM MDT FRI SEP 16 2016
...Today in metro Denver weather history...
11-16 In 2013...a deep southerly flow over Colorado...ahead of a
nearly stationary low pressure system over the Great Basin...
pumped copious amounts of monsoonal moisture into the area.
In addition...a weak stationary front stretched along the
Front Range Foothills and Palmer Divide. This resulted in
a prolonged period of moderate to heavy rain across the
Front Range Foothills...Palmer Divide...Urban Corridor. By
the 14th...storm totals ranged from 6 to 18 inches...highest
in the foothills of Boulder County. The headwaters then
moved down the South Platte River and caused widespread
flooding with record flood stages at several locations as
it made its way downstream. The record high flood stages
resulted in widespread flooding along the South
Platte River Basin. The flood damage encompassed 4500
square miles of the Front Range...left 7 dead...forced
thousands to evacuate...and destroyed thousands of homes
and farms. Record amounts of rainfall generated flash
floods that tore up roads and lines of communication...
leaving many stranded. Nearly 19000 homes were damaged...
and over 1500 destroyed. Colorado Department of
Transportation estimated at least 30 state highway bridges
were destroyed and an additional 20 seriously damaged.
Preliminary assessments of the state`s infrastructure
showed damage of $40 million to roads and $112 million to
bridges. Repair costs for state and and county roads ran
into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Miles of freight
and passenger rail lines were washed out or submerged...
including a section servicing Amtrak`s iconic California
Zephyr. The town of Lyons was isolated by the flooding
of St. Vrain Creek...and several earth dams along the
Front Range burst or were over-topped. Floodwaters swept
through Estes Park; damaged hundreds of buildings and
destroyed large sections of U.S. 34 from Loveland and U.S.
36 from Lyons to Boulder. U.S. 34 suffered the most damage...
with 85 percent of its roadway and bridges destroyed. In
Weld County...about nearly two thousand gas wells were
damaged and had to be closed off as the floodwaters
inundated entire communities. Sewage treatment plants and
other utilities were knocked out in a number of towns.
Governor Hickenlooper declared a disaster emergency on
September 13th...in 11 counties across northeast Colorado
Jefferson...Larimer...Logan...Morgan...Washington and Weld. By
the 15th...federal emergency declarations covered those
counties as well as Clear Creek County. Projected losses
from the flooding statewide was nearly two billion dollars
in property damage...according to Eqecat...a catastrophe
modeling firm. The damage was most severe in and around
Lyons and Boulder. More than 11 thousand people were
evacuated...reportedly the largest since Hurricane
Katrina. President Obama declared a state of emergency
for Boulder and Larimer Counties. An additional 10
counties were added on the 16th and included: Adams...
Morgan...Logan...Washington and Weld Counties. The
president also declared a major disaster specifically
for Boulder County. There were six fatalities
directly attributed to flash flooding. Two 19-yr old
teenagers died on the 11th...after they were swept
away by floodwaters after abandoning their car on
Lindon Drive in Boulder. In Jamestown...a 72-yr old
man was killed when the building he was in collapsed.
An 80-yr old Lyons resident died in the early morning
hours of the 12th...when his truck was swept into the
St. Vrain River near his home. Later on the 12th...a
79-yr old Larimer County resident was killed when she
was swept away while trying to climb to safety from
her home in Cedar Point. A 61-yr old Cedar Point
resident died when her home was swept down the Big
Thompson River by the floodwaters. An 80-yr old
Idaho Springs resident drowned in Clear Creek when
the embankment he was standing on collapsed. In
Boulder...some of the monthly records broken included:
one-day all-time record: 9.08 inches which shattered
the previous wettest day of 4.8 inches set on July 31...
1919; one-month record of 18.16 inches...which broke
the previous all-time monthly record of 9.59 inches set
in May of 1995; wettest September on record which broke
the previous record of 5.5 inches set in September of
1940; one-year record of 34.15 inches broke the previous
wettest year of 29.93 inches set in 1995. At Denver
International Airport...the total precipitation for the
month of September was 5.61 inches...which was 4.65
inches above the normal of 0.96 inches. This is the most
precipitation ever recorded in Denver for the month of
September. Daily precipitation records included 1.11
inches on the 12th and 2.01 inches on the 14th.
15-17 In 2000...unusually hot weather for so late in the season
occurred when temperatures climbed into the 90`s setting
daily record maximum temperatures on each of the 3 days.
The high temperature was 92 degrees on the 15th and 95
degrees on both the 16th and 17th.
15-19 In 1906...rain on 5 consecutive days totaled 1.61 inches.
A thunderstorm occurred on the 17th. High temperatures
ranged from 48 degrees on the 16th to 65 degrees on the
15th. Low temperatures were in the lower to mid 40`s.
16 In 1874...a blast of west winds caused minor injuries during
working hours in Boulder. In Denver...the winds veered
suddenly from the southwest to the northwest around noon
and increased to a maximum sustained speed of 49 mph
behind an apparent cold front. The winds remained strong
and backed to the west for the remainder of the afternoon.
In 2000...the record high temperature of 95 degrees at Denver
International Airport established or equaled 3 different
record extremes: the high temperature broke the previous
record high for the day of 92 degrees set over a century
ago in 1895; it marked the warmest that it has been so
late in September; it also marked the 60th day during the
warm season that the temperature had reached 90 degrees or
more...equaling the record first set on September 29...1994.
In 2006...strong bora winds behind a Pacific cold front
raked the eastern slopes of the mountains and metro
Denver during the afternoon. Northwest winds were
sustained to 40 mph with gusts as high as 54 mph at
Denver International Airport.
In 2007...a severe thunderstorm produced a peak wind gust
of 67 mph...about one mile east of Bennett. At Denver
International Airport...a peak wind gust of 48 mph was
16-19 In 1971...a record breaking early fall snow storm caused
extensive damage to trees and utility lines. The heavy wet
snow occurred with little wind...but caused record breaking
cold temperatures for so early in the season. Snowfall
totaled 15.6 inches at Stapleton International Airport
with most of the snowfall...12.0 inches...occurring on the
17th. This was the heaviest first snow of the season.
The maximum snow depth on the ground was 13 inches.
Record low temperatures were set on three consecutive days:
31 degrees on the 17th...23 degrees on the 18th...and 20
degrees on the 19th...which was also a new all-time record
minimum for the month at that time. Record low maximum
temperatures were set on 4 consecutive days: 48 degrees
on the 16th...35 degrees on the 17th...40 degrees on the 18th...
and 42 degrees on the 19th.