Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Denver/Boulder, CO
NOUS45 KBOU 250145
Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Denver/Boulder CO
645 PM MST SAT DEC 24 2016
...This week in metro Denver weather history...
20-25 In 1983...an extremely bitter cold spell occurred. The
temperature remained below zero for 115 hours in Denver...
the longest sub-zero period on record. The mercury dipped
to 21 degrees below zero on the 21st...the coldest recorded
temperature in over 20 years. The cold was accompanied
by winds that plunged chill factors to 50 to 70 degrees
below zero. Two people froze to death in Denver; both
were found outside dead of exposure. Numerous cases of
frostbite were reported. Hundreds of water pipes broke
from the intense cold...water mains and natural gas lines
also fractured...and electricity consumption reached record
levels. Light snow totaling 5.8 inches fell at times...and
holiday traffic was delayed at Stapleton International
Airport for several hours. Eight daily temperature records
were set at the time. The all-time record low maximum
temperature for the month of 8 degrees below zero on the
21st still stands today. Other temperature records still
standing include record low maximum temperatures of 5
degrees below zero on both the 22nd and 23rd and 4 degrees
below zero on the 24th.
24-25 In 1891...heavy snowfall of 7.0 inches in downtown Denver
provided a white Christmas. Most of the snow...6.5 inches...
fell on the 24th. Northwest winds were sustained to 30
mph with gusts to 40 mph on the 24th.
In 1894...snow began falling during the evening of the 24th...
ended during the early afternoon of the 25th...and totaled
6.4 inches in downtown Denver. Northwest winds were
sustained to 26 mph with gusts to 30 mph on the 24th. The
maximum snow depth on the ground was 5 inches. The high
temperature was only 18 degrees on the 25th after a low of
In 1980...strong chinook winds of 50 to 60 mph occurred in the
foothills with a wind gust to 90 mph recorded at Wondervu.
West winds gusted to 33 mph at Stapleton International
Airport on the 25th.
In 1997...a relatively rare Christmas snowstorm blanketed
much of northeastern Colorado. Snowfall in and near
the Front Range foothills and south of metro Denver ranged
from 5 to 8 inches. Elsewhere...new snow accumulations were
generally 1 to 3 inches. Snowfall totaled only 1.5 inches
at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.
North winds gusted to 29 mph at Denver International
Airport on the 24th.
In 2012...a winter-like weather moved into northeast Colorado
on Christmas Eve as an upper level trough and a strong cold
front moved through the region. At Denver International
Airport...2.5 inches of snow fell from Christmas Eve through
Christmas morning. The high temperatures on Christmas Day
only reached 16 degrees...which was the coldest day of the
25 In 1873...northwest winds were sustained to 36 mph during
the morning and to 48 mph in the evening. The chinook
winds warmed the temperature to a high of 53 degrees.
In 1883...gusty very strong winds raked Boulder...causing
11 hundred dollars in damage.
In 1985...Table Mesa in Boulder was buffeted by wind gusts
to 68 mph.
In 1993...occasional high winds occurred over portions of the
higher foothills west of Boulder and Denver. A wind gust
to 87 mph was recorded on Squaw Mountain...and a gust to 83
mph occurred at Rollinsville. Northwest winds gusted to
to 35 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 2007...a winter storm brought heavy snow to the Front Range
of Colorado. The heaviest snow fell near the foothills of
Boulder...Douglas and Jefferson Counties. The snow caused
accidents throughout the Denver metropolitan area.
Gusty winds produced snow drifts from 2 to 3.5 feet
in depth. Total snowfall for the calendar day in Denver
was 7.8 inches...setting a new record for Christmas day.
The measurement was taken at the former Stapleton
International Airport; the previous record was 6.2 inches...
set in 1894. Storm totals in the Front Range Foothills
included: 13.5 inches at Coal Creek Canyon; 12 inches...5
miles east-southeast of Aspen Park; 11 inches; 6 miles
southwest of Kassler; 10.5 inches at Eldorado Springs.
Elsewhere...storm totals ranged from 5 to 10 inches.
In the Urban Corridor storm totals included: 9 inches
near Elizabeth; 8 inches in southwest Denver...Highlands
Ranch...Marston Reservoir and Wheat Ridge; 7.5 inches in
Arvada; 7 inches in Centenniel and Lakewood; 6.5 inches
in Aurora and 8 miles southeast of Watkins; 6 inches in
Boulder...Englewood and Parker. Elsewhere...storm totals
ranged from 3 to 5 inches.
25-26 In 1904...after a warm Christmas Day with a high temperature
of 50 degrees...a late day cold front plunged temperatures
to a low of 7 degrees...produced northeast winds sustained
to 40 mph with gusts to 54 mph...and produced 5.2 inches of
snow overnight for a late white Christmas. The maximum
temperature on the 26th was only 16 degrees.
In 2014...a winter storm brought a rare Christmas Day
snowfall to the Front Range Foothills and Urban Corridor...
from the afternoon of the 25th to the evening of the 26th.
Storm totals included: 12.5 inches...4 miles west of Boulder;
12 inches...4 miles southwest of Eldorado Springs and 4
miles south of Golden; 11 inches at Genesee; 10 inches near
Allenspark...5 miles west of Chatfield Reservoir...5 miles
southwest of Golden and near Tiny Town; 8 inches in Lakewood
and Louisville; 7.5 inches in Niwot; 7 inches in Longmont;
with 6 inches in Broomfield and Frederick. At Denver
International Airport...5.1 inches of snowfall was observed.
25-31 In 1980...temperatures were unusually warm during the week
between Christmas and New Year`s. High temperatures for
the week ranged from the mid-50`s to the mid-70`s. Four
temperature records were set. Record highs occurred on
the 26th with 68 degrees...the 27th with 75 degrees...and
the 30th with 71 degrees. A record high minimum
temperature of 41 degrees occurred on the 27th.
26 In 1877...heavy snow fell during the early morning and
totaled nearly 6 inches. Precipitation from melted
snow was 0.58 inch. After the snowfall...a number of
sleighs were seen on the city streets.
In 1879...after a morning low of 4 degrees below zero...
the temperature climbed to a high of 57 degrees in
In 1907...west winds were sustained to 40 mph. The chinook
winds warmed the temperature to a high of 62 degrees.
In 1949...west winds gusted to 50 mph at Stapleton Airport.
In 1998...intense...but localized...downslope high winds
developed near Wondervu in the foothills southwest
of Boulder. Winds frequently gusted to 100 mph with
a highest reported wind gust to 104 mph. West winds
gusted to only 43 mph at Denver International Airport.
26-27 In 1954...a major storm dumped heavy snow across metro Denver.
Snowfall totaled 8.6 inches at Stapleton Airport. The
storm produced the heaviest snowfall of the calendar year
and was the only measurable snowfall in December.
In 1987...a snowstorm stalled in northeastern Colorado...giving
metro Denver its worst winter storm in 4 years. Total
snowfall from the storm ranged from 12 to 18 inches on the
east side...1 to 2 feet in Boulder County...and 2 to 3 feet
in western and southern parts of metro Denver. The
largest reported snowfall was 42 inches at Intercanyon in
the foothills southwest of Denver. Snowfall totaled 14.9
inches at Stapleton International Airport. Winds were light
on the 26th...but increased as high as 40 mph on the 27th...
creating near-blizzard conditions and forcing complete
closure of Stapleton International Airport for about
8 hours. The strong winds whipped drifts to 5 feet high
on the east side of town. All interstate highways leading
from Denver were closed on the 27th.
26-28 In 1979 a heavy snow storm dumped 6 to 10 inches of snow over
the metro area and 15 to 20 inches at Boulder with up to 2
feet in the foothills west of Boulder. Heavy snowfall
totaled 6.0 inches at Stapleton International Airport
where north winds gusted to 21 mph. Most of the snow...
4.8 inches...fell on the 27th.
27 In 1895...west chinook winds sustained to 44 mph with gusts
to 48 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 52 degrees.
In 1901...an apparent cold front produced sustained north
winds to 41 mph with gusts to 48 mph.
In 1957...northwest winds gusting to 52 mph produced some
blowing dust across metro Denver.
In 1975...a northwest wind gust to 53 mph was recorded at
Stapleton International Airport.
In 1976...a strong Pacific cold front moving across metro
Denver produced a northwest wind gust to 53 mph at
Stapleton International Airport.
In 1990...high winds raked the eastern foothills with a wind
gust to 84 mph clocked on Fritz Peak near Rollinsville.
The strong northwest winds of 50 to 70 mph whipped newly
fallen snow over higher areas into billowy clouds several
hundred feet high that could be seen from most locations
across metro Denver.
In 1996...another round of high winds developed over portions
of the Front Range foothills during the morning hours.
Several wind gusts from 70 to 100 mph were reported at
Wondervu southwest of Boulder. West-northwest winds
gusted to 38 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 2005...a trained weather observer in Georgetown recorded
a wind gust to 94 mph. No damage was reported.
In 2007...a winter storm brought heavy snow to portions of the
Urban Corridor and adjacent plains. Storm totals generally
ranged from 3 to 7 inches. Locally heavier bands produced
up to 10 inches of snow. In the Urban Corridor...storm
totals included: 10 inches...10 miles south-southeast
of Buckley AFB and at Castle Pines; 9.5 inches...4 miles
south-southeast of Aurora and Kassler; 7.5 inches...2 miles
southeast of Highlands Ranch; 7 inches in Aurora and
Sedalia; 6.5 inches in Arvada...4 miles east of Denver and
Lafayette; 6 inches in Castle Rock and Thornton. A
measurement of 5.4 inches was taken at the former
Stapleton International Airport. The official total for
the month was 20.9 inches; making it the 6th snowiest
December on record.
27-28 In 1997...high winds combined with fresh snow from a previous
storm caused highways to become slick from drifting snow
and near whiteout conditions in localized ground blizzards.
Strong winds blew snow across the runways at Centennial
Airport...which glazed over and formed areas of ice. Two
planes were damaged when they slid off the runway while
landing. No injuries were reported. Numerous accidents
also occurred on I-25 and I-70 as ice formed under the
same conditions. A rollover accident which injured
4 people on State Highway 93 near the Rocky Flats
Environmental Test Facility was also attributed to the
high winds. The high winds caused an office building
and showroom under construction in Golden to collapse.
The largest wall was 180 feet long and 28 feet high.
Some high wind reports included: 86 mph at Golden Gate
Canyon...72 mph near Conifer...and 70 mph at Jefferson
County Airport and the National Center for Atmospheric
Research on the mesa near Boulder. West-northwest winds
gusted to 53 mph at Denver International Airport on the
In 1998...damaging downslope winds formed in and near the
foothills. Peak wind gusts ranged from 71 to 114 mph.
Numerous trees were blown down in Coal Creek Canyon and
near Gross Reservoir. Power lines were blown down...
resulting in scattered outages. Peak wind reports
included: 114 mph at Wondervu...92 mph in Golden Gate
Canyon...88 mph in Coal Creek Canyon...and 79 mph 8 miles
west of Conifer. West winds gusted to 46 mph at Denver
International Airport on the 28th.
27-29 In 1983...a second surge of bitter cold air in less than a
week was less intense. Record breaking low temperatures
of 12 degrees below zero on the 28th and 15 degrees below
zero on the 29th were accompanied by 3.7 inches of snowfall
and northeast winds gusting to 23 mph.
28 In 2001...brief high winds developed in the foothills west
of Denver. Winds gusted to 86 mph on Fritz Peak near
Rollinsville. West to northwest winds gusted to 39 mph
at Denver International Airport where the temperature
climbed to a high of 51 degrees.
28-29 In 1906...a trace of snow fell on both days...which along
with a trace of snow on the 5th...was the only snow of
the month...ranking the month the second least snowiest
December on record.
In 1970...wind gusts to 87 mph were recorded at the National
Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. Winds gusted
to only 46 mph in downtown Boulder. Damage was minor.
In 2006...while metro Denver residents were still digging
out from the heavy snowfall and blizzard that occurred
on December 20-21...the second major winter storm in a
week buried the city and the eastern foothills again in
more deep snow. Heavy snowfall ranged from 1 to 2 1/2
feet in the foothills and from 6 to 18 inches across the
city. Another slow moving storm system centered over the
Texas panhandle produced deep upslope flow over the high
plains and against the Front Range Mountains. The storm
produced blizzard conditions over the plains mainly south
of Interstate 76. Interstate 70 as well as other roads
and highways was closed from Denver to the Kansas line due
to snow and blizzard conditions. Greyhound was forced to
cancel all bus trips from Denver. The heaviest snow fell
in and near the foothills and south of Denver over the
Palmer Divide...where north winds sustained at speeds of
20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph piled the snow into
drifts 4 to 14 feet deep. In the city...the heavy snowfall
persisted for a total of 29 hours. Snowfall totals across
metro Denver included: 17.5 inches at Ken Caryl; 15 inches
3 miles south-southeast of Morrison; 14 inches in Boulder
and Lone Tree; 12 inches in Castle Rock and Highlands
Ranch; 11 inches in Wheat Ridge; 10.5 inches in Littleton;
10 inches in Arvada...Broomfield...and Louviers; and 8.5
inches in Lakewood and Thornton. Officially...snowfall
totaled 8.0 inches at Denver Stapleton. North winds
sustained to 25 mph with gusts to 32 mph produced some
blowing snow at Denver International Airport. In the
city...this second storm increased the total snowfall for
the month to 29.4 inches...making the month the third
snowiest on record. In the foothills the snow fell at a
rate of 3 to 4 inches an hour at times. Total snowfall
in the foothills included: 30 inches near Genesee;
29.5 inches 12 miles northwest of Golden; 25 inches in
Evergreen and near Bergen Park; 24 inches near Conifer;
23.5 inches 3 miles southwest of Golden and near Gold
Hill; 23 inches near Jamestown; 22.5 inches in
Rollinsville; 19.5 inches in Aspen Springs; 19 inches
near Blackhawk; 18.5 inches at Nederland; 16 inches
in Indian Hills...at Intercanyon...and in Eldora; 15.5
inches at Echo Lake; and 12 inches near Ralston
Reservoir. The total cost of snow removal just at
Denver International Airport from this storm and the
previous storm was in tens of millions of dollars. The
airport estimated up to 6.7 million dollars in extra
costs for contractors...overtime...equipment...de-icing
chemicals...and other expenses. The two storms cost the
airport 4.6 million dollars in loss concession revenues.
United Airlines reported lost revenue of over 25 million
dollars from the two storms...while Frontier Airlines
lost an estimated 12.1 million dollars.
29 In 1997...high winds persisted mainly in and near the
foothills. Strong cross winds gusting between 60 and
70 mph blew a rental truck off the roadway in northern
Jefferson County near the Coal Creek Canyon road. West
winds gusted to 33 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 2005...high winds were recorded across metro Denver.
Peak wind gusts included 75 mph near Chatfield Reservoir
and 64 mph at Denver International Airport. No damage was
29-30 In 1898...heavy snowfall totaled 6.2 inches in downtown
Denver. Northeast winds were sustained to 35 mph with
gusts to 40 mph on the 29th.
In 1912...strong winds buffeted Boulder...causing hundreds of
dollars damage. The winds were described as one of the
most terrific in the history of the city.
In 1923...a cold wave caused temperatures to plunge 58
degrees in 24 hours. The temperature was 54 degrees at
2:00 PM on the 29th and only 4 degrees below zero at the
same time on the 30th. The low temperature of 14 degrees
on the 29th was the high temperature on the 30th. The low
temperature on the 30th dipped to 10 degrees below zero.
Light snowfall totaled only 0.7 inch. Northeast winds
were sustained to 23 mph on the 29th.
In 2008...very strong Chinook winds blasted areas in and near
the foothills of Boulder and Jefferson Counties. The wind
blew down trees and power poles...downed electrical lines
and fences...and damaged homes and vehicles. Scattered
power outages were reported along the Front Range. In
Metropolitan Denver alone...24000 Xcel customers were
affected by the outages. Four planed were damaged at the
Vance Brand Municipal Airport in Longmont...one was heavily
damaged. Insurance companies estimated up to 7 million
dollars in damage. Peak wind gusts included 87 mph at the
National Wind Technology Center...86 mph...2 miles north of
Longmont; 77 mph at Erie...and 75 mph at Lafayette. On the
30th...a peak wind gust to 47 mph was recorded at Denver
International Airport. .
30 In 1875...snow fell from the early morning into the early
evening. While the amount of snowfall was not recorded...
precipitation from melted snow totaled 0.53 inch.
Good sleighing was reported...so snowfall must have been
5 inches or more.
In 1895...northwest winds were sustained to 60 mph in the
In 1897...west winds sustained to 52 mph with gusts to 60
mph warmed the temperature to a high of 55 degrees.
In 1912...west winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts to
52 mph. The chinook winds warmed the temperature to a
high of 50 degrees.
In 1928...snowfall was 0.1 inch in downtown Denver. This
was the only measurable snow of the month...ranking the
month the third least snowiest on record in the city.
In 1990...strong downslope winds buffeted the eastern
foothills. Wind gusts to 91 mph were recorded atop Table
Mesa in southwest Boulder...while a gust to 94 mph was
clocked at Rollinsville. The high winds caused whiteout
conditions due to blowing snow along some highways south
and north of Boulder. The high winds downed power lines
near the Rocky Flats plant south of Boulder.
In 1998...high winds continued to buffet areas in and near
the foothills. Near Evergreen...a 100-foot-high blue
spruce crashed down on the roof of a home...splitting the
corrugated metal roof in half. Fortunately...the tree...
which measured 10 feet in circumference...only penetrated
the home`s interior in a few places. Peak wind reports
included: 90 mph at Wondervu...88 mph at the Rocky Flats
Test Facility...83 mph near Conifer...and 82 mph atop Blue
Mountain near Coal Creek Canyon. West winds gusted to
39 mph at Denver International Airport.
30-31 In 1887...heavy snow totaled 6.5 inches in downtown Denver.
Most of the snow...4.5 inches...fell on the 31st. North
winds were sustained to 18 mph.
In 1928...snowfall of 0.6 inch was the only measurable snow
of the month in the city.
In 1947...post-frontal heavy snow totaled 6.3 inches over
downtown Denver. Most of the snow fell on the 30th.
North winds were sustained to 17 mph on the 30th.
In 1995...the foothills west of Denver received 5 to 9 inches
of new snow...except for Bailey where 11 inches of snow were
measured. No snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton
31 In 1890...northeast winds were sustained to 46 mph with gusts
as high as 60 mph behind an apparent cold front. A trace
of sleet fell.
In 1899...northwest winds were sustained to 44 mph with gusts
as high as 48 mph. The chinook winds warmed the temperature
to a high of 49 degrees.
In 1927...the temperature was below zero all day. The high
temperature of 3 degrees below zero was a record low
maximum for the date. The low temperature was 11 degrees
In 1970...warm chinook winds whistled through Boulder. A wind
gust to 92 mph was recorded at the National Center for
Atmospheric Research...while at the National Bureau of
Standards...winds peaked to 70 mph. Northwest winds gusting
to 30 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 60 degrees at
Stapleton International Airport.
In 1993...occasional high winds occurred northwest of Denver
and in the foothills. A wind gust to 85 mph was recorded
at Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield. Wind gusts to
86 mph occurred on Squaw Mountain with 75 mph recorded at
Rollinsville. West winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton
In 2011...an intense and fast moving storm system...produced a
powerful windstorm across the Front Range. In the
mountains and foothills...several locations recorded wind
gusts in excess of 100 mph. Numerous trees were knocked
down throughout Arapahoe National Forest. One man was
killed when he was impaled by a falling tree limb while
driving along U.S. Highway 36...north of Boulder. The
strong winds produced extensive damage to fences and roofs...
and also knocked down trees which resulted in power
outages that affected 19 thousand residents along the
Front Range. In the mountains and foothills...peak wind
gusts included: 111 mph...3 miles south-southeast of
Pinecliffe; 101 mph...1 mile west of Lyons; 94 mph atop
Berthoud Pass; 86 mph...3 miles south of Golden; 84 mph...
4 miles northwest of Boulder; 81 mph in Boulder; 79 mph
at Kenosha Pass...NCAR Mesa Lab and the junction of U.S.
Highways 72 and 93; 77 mph at the National Wind Technology
Center; and 76 mph...3 miles north-northwest of Morrison.
Peak wind gusts for the Urban Corridor included: 80 mph...3
mile east of Cedar Point; 77 mph in north Longmont; 67
mph...10 miles east of Parker; 64 mph at Buckley AFB and
Lakewood; 60 mph at Bennett and Front Range Airport in
Watkins; 59 mph at Denver International Airport and Deer
Trail; 58 mph at Rocky Mountain Regional Airport in
Broomfield and 2 miles north-northwest of Louisville.
31-1 In 1900...low temperatures dipped to 19 degrees below zero on
both days to establish daily record minimum temperatures.
In 1975...only 4.2 inches of snow fell at Stapleton
International Airport...while north of Denver a major
blizzard raged. All roads north of Denver into Wyoming
were closed when strong winds whipped snow into 5 to 6
foot drifts. North winds gusted to 43 mph at Stapleton
International Airport on the 31st...causing some blowing
snow. Freezing drizzle also fell on the 31st.
In 1984...heavy snow fell in the foothills with 8 inches at
Boulder and 6 inches in southern and western metro Denver.
Only 1.5 inches of snow fell overnight at Stapleton
In 1991...a New Year`s Eve snow storm dumped 2 to 8 inches of
snow across northeastern Colorado. Snowfall totaled 3.4
inches at Stapleton International Airport. The 1.9 inches
of snow that fell on the 31st was the only measurable
snowfall of the month.
In 2008...another brief period of high winds occurred in and
near the foothills of Boulder and Jefferson Counties. In
Nederland...the strong wind snapped a blue spruce which
landed on a nearby propane tank. Some roofs in the
immediate area were damaged and power lines were downed;
which left 126 residences without electricity for six
hours. Peak wind gusts included 90 mph at the National
Wind Technology Center...and 89 mph; 6 miles northwest of
Boulder. At Denver International Airport...a peak wind gust
of 23 mph was measured from the southwest.
31-6 In 1973...the 31st marked the start of a protracted cold spell
that extended into January of 1974 when temperatures
dipped below zero on 7 consecutive days. Record daily
minimum readings occurred on the 3rd and 5th when the
temperature plunged to 17 degrees below zero on both days.
A record low daily maximum temperature of only 4 degrees
occurred on the 5th.
31-7 In 1941...a protracted cold spell through January 7...1942...
produced below zero low temperatures on 7 of the 8 days.
A low temperature of 2 degrees on the 3rd prevented a
string of 8 days below zero. The coldest days during the
period were the 1st with a high of 2 degrees and
a low of 9 degrees below zero...the 4th with a high of 2
degrees and a low of 11 degrees below zero...and the 5th
with a high of 26 degrees and a low of 12 degrees below