Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Denver/Boulder, CO
NOUS45 KBOU 220959
Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Denver/Boulder CO
259 AM MST THU DEC 22 2016
...Today in metro Denver weather history...
17-24 In 1924...a prolonged cold spell occurred after mild
temperatures during the first half of the month. Most
low temperatures dipped below zero with the coldest
reading of 15 degrees below zero occurring on the 24th.
The high temperature of only 5 degrees on the 18th was
a record low maximum for the date.
18-24 In 1998...a vigorous cold front with north winds gusting as
high as 38 mph at Denver International Airport on the 18th
dropped temperatures from a high of 51 degrees to a low of
just 6 degrees before midnight. The Arctic air mass that
settled over metro Denver produced intermittent light snow
and a week-long protracted cold spell that caused low
temperatures to plunge well below zero for 6 consecutive
nights. The coldest temperature was 19 degrees below zero
on the morning of the 22nd. High temperatures climbed only
into the single digits on 4 consecutive days...from the 19th
through the 22nd. At least 15 people...mostly homeless...
were treated for hypothermia at area hospitals. The bitter
cold weather was responsible...either directly or indirectly...
for at least 5 fatalities. Three of the victims died
directly from exposure. The cold weather also caused
intermittent power outages. Following the cold snap...
thawing water pipes cracked and burst in several homes and
businesses...causing extensive damage. Only one temperature
record was set. The high temperature of only 7 degrees on
the 19th set a record low maximum for the date.
19-23 In 1990...a surge of very cold Arctic air invaded metro
Denver. Many temperature records were broken as the
mercury remained at or below zero for 85.5 hours at
Stapleton International Airport...making it the third
longest period of subzero readings in 118 years of record
keeping. On the morning of the 22nd...the mercury plunged
to 25 degrees below zero...which equaled the all time record
low temperature for the month set on December 24...1876.
In the foothills southwest of Denver at Tiny Town...the
mercury plunged to 33 degrees below zero on the morning
of the 21st. On the same morning at Castle Rock the
temperature dipped to 26 degrees below zero. During
the period...other daily temperature records were set at
Denver...including: record low maximum of 3 degrees below
zero on the 20th and a record low of 17 degrees below zero
on the 23rd. The record low was equaled with 16 degrees
below zero on the 20th and 21 degrees below zero on the
21st. Snowfall totaled 2.7 inches at Stapleton
International Airport from the 19th through the 21st.
20-22 In 1933...strong downslope winds produced a warm spell.
Low temperatures of 43 degrees on both the 20th and 21st
and 41 degrees on the 22nd were record high minimums for
those dates. High temperature of 67 degrees on the 21st
was a record maximum for the date. High temperatures of
56 degrees on the 20th and 69 degrees on the 22nd were
not records; however...the 69 degrees was the warmest of
the month. West to northwest winds were sustained to
20 and 24 mph on the 21st and 22nd respectively.
20-23 In 1918...light snowfall on each day totaled 12.0 inches
over downtown Denver. Northeast winds were sustained
to 16 mph on the 21st.
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.
21-22 In 1969...strong winds raked the eastern foothills in Boulder
and Jefferson counties. Wind gusts to 115 mph were
recorded at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in
Boulder...while in downtown Boulder winds gusted to 75 mph.
Some damage occurred.
In 1981...a snow storm dumped 3 to 8 inches of snow across
eastern Colorado. Snowfall totaled 6.8 inches at Stapleton
International Airport where north winds gusted to only
In 2011...large scale lift from an upper level low combined
with a deep easterly upslope flow behind a cold front to
produce heavy snow in and near the Front Range Foothills
and Palmer Divide. Storm totals ranged from 1.5 to 3 feet in
the Front Range Foothills...with 1 to 1.5 feet along the
Urban Corridor. In the Front Range Foothills and Palmer
Divide...storm totals included: 36.5 inches...7 miles
southwest of Boulder; 32 inches...12 miles northwest of
Golden; 28 inches at Genesee; 24.5 inches...3 miles west of
Jamestown; 23 inches at Bergen Park; 21 inches at Evergreen
and Gross Reservoir; 19 inches near Eldorado Springs and 3
miles west-southwest of Conifer; 17 inches...4 miles south-
southwest of Tiny Town; and 13.5 inches...15 miles north of
Elizabeth. Along the Urban Corridor...storm totals included:
18 inches in Golden; 14.5 inches in Boulder...13 inches at
the National Weather Service in Boulder; 12.5 inches...5 miles
south-southwest of Arapahoe Park; 12 inches at Lone Tree;
11.5 inches in Broomfield; 11 inches in Arvada...4 miles
northwest of Elbert...Niwot and Wheatridge; 10 inches in
northwest Denver; with 7.3 inches at Denver International
21-23 In 1924...heavy snowfall totaled 7.9 inches over downtown
Denver. During the storm north to northeast winds were
sustained to 21 mph. Temperatures were quite cold...ranging
from a high of 24 degrees on the 21st to a low of 5 degrees
below zero on the 23rd.
In 1964...high winds were recorded along the eastern
foothills. A wind gust to 100 mph was registered at
Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield. In Boulder...
where many thousands of dollars in damage occurred...warm
chinook winds gusted in excess of 45 mph downtown. A wind
gust to 82 mph was recorded at the National Center for
Atmospheric Research in Boulder. Heavy damage to power
lines...homes...and roads was reported at Evergreen...Golden...
and Boulder. Several people were injured by wind-caused
accidents. West winds gusted to 53 mph on the 22nd and
to 51 mph on the 23rd at Stapleton International Airport
where some blowing dust occurred. The chinook winds warmed
temperatures in Denver to highs of 68 degrees on the 22nd
and 71 degrees on the 23rd.
22 In 1885...a windstorm produced sustained west winds to 48 mph.
The winds were strong all afternoon and evening.
In 1892...terribly strong winds hit the foothills above
Boulder. The wind was described as a young tornado...but
likely was straight line in nature. Winds in Boulder
In 1901...the passage of an apparent cold front produced north
winds sustained to 48 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph.
In 1922...a major storm dumped 8.0 inches of snow in downtown
In 1941...post-frontal heavy snow fell over downtown Denver
where 8.0 inches of new snow were measured. Northwest winds
were sustained to 26 mph. The cold front and snowfall
abruptly broke a week of warm weather with high temperatures
in the 50`s and 60`s.
In 1977...high winds unroofed a mobile home in Broomfield.
Wind gusts reached 93 mph at Table Mesa in south Boulder
and 74 mph at Rocky Flats. West winds gusted to 52 mph
at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1988...high winds hit many foothills areas. Recorded wind
gusts reached 95 mph just north of Boulder and 80 mph on
Table Mesa. The strong winds caused power outages around
Boulder. West winds gusted to 45 mph at Stapleton
In 1990...the all-time lowest recorded temperature in December...
25 degrees below zero...occurred. The same temperature was
also reached on December 24...1876.
22-23 In 1926...snow was heavy and totaled 6.7 inches in downtown
Denver. Northeast winds were sustained to 17 mph with
gusts to 18 mph on the 23rd.
In 1979...heavy snow blanketed metro Denver. Total snowfall
at Stapleton International Airport was 6.9 inches...and north
winds gusted to 20 mph. Most of the snow...5.7 inches...fell
on the 22nd.
In 1984...strong chinook winds howled along the Front Range
foothills. At Table Mesa in southwest Boulder...gusts
reached 108 mph on the morning of the 23rd. Gusts to 79
mph were clocked in Golden Gate Canyon. Gusts to 94 mph
were reported in east Boulder. The winds flattened a two
floor cinder block building under construction in Boulder...
causing 75 thousand dollars damage. Flying debris from the
building slightly injured a policeman. A chain link
fence was blown down. Dozens of windows and roofs were
damaged in Boulder...along with mobile homes and cars.
Numerous trees and power lines were downed. A giant
plastic bubble dome was blown apart and collapsed...causing
at least 100 thousand dollars damage. West winds gusted
to 41 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 23rd.
22-24 In 2009...A winter storm produced moderate to heavy snow
across parts of the Front Range and adjacent plains. In
the foothills...storm totals included: 11.5 inches near
Eldorado Springs...10 inches...3 miles southeast of
Pinecliffe; 9 inches at Genesee...2 miles southwest of
Golden and Ken Caryl; 8 inches...3 miles west of Jamestown
and White Ranch Open Space; 7 inches...4 miles east-
northeast of Nederland. Across the Urban Corridor and
adjacent plains...storm totals included: 9 inches...2 miles
west of Parker; 8 inches at Watkins; 7 inches...2 miles
west-southwest of Byers...12 miles southwest of Buckley
AFB and 3 miles northeast of Parker. At Denver
International Airport...6.1 inches of snowfall was observed.