Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Denver/Boulder, CO

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Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Denver/Boulder CO
259 AM MDT SUN MAY 21 2017

...Today 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.

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