Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Denver/Boulder, CO
NOUS45 KBOU 220045
Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Denver/Boulder CO
645 PM MDT SAT MAY 21 2016
...This week in metro Denver weather history...
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 Schoonover...to consume 3850
acres before it could be contained. Thirteen structures
were destroyed...including 4 homes...resulting in 2.2 million
dollars in damage.
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
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
In 1976...the public reported 3/4 inch diameter hail and wind
gusts to 53 mph near Littleton.
In 1987...golf 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 1993...an 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 east...golf 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
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 date...as 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
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 1994...weather 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
meadowlands...bike 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
27 In 1874...an 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.
28 In 1884...a thunderstorm apparently produced large hail.
The hail stones were noted as unusually large...but the
diameter of the stones was not measured. The hail fell
for only 5 minutes. Precipitation from the storm was
only 0.05 inch.
In 1898...heavy thunderstorm rainfall totaled 1.74 inches
in downtown Denver. Hail of unknown size accompanied
In 1981...a woman in Aurora was struck and killed by
lightning. Another bolt injured a boy on a bicycle at
about the same time a short distance away. About half an
inch of rain in 20 minutes caused street flooding in the
area. A tornado touched down for about 2 minutes some 3
miles north of Stapleton International Airport.
In 1982...severe thunderstorms produced golf ball size hail
in southeast Denver...Aurora...and Strasburg. The large
hailstones undoubtedly damaged some cars in the area.
At Stapleton International Airport...only 1/2 inch diameter
hail was measured.
In 1991...golf ball size hail fell in Brighton. No damage
was reported. Later...hail ranging in size from 3/4 inch
to 1 1/2 inches in diameter fell over southwestern sections
of metro Denver. In some areas...hail piled up a few inches
In 1994...thunderstorm wind gusts to 65 mph damaged 16 small
airplanes and a hangar at Centennial Airport.
In 2001...severe thunderstorms produced large hail across
metro Denver. Hail as large as 1 inch in diameter fell
in Lakewood...Wheat Ridge...northwest Denver...near Watkins...
Bennett...and Keenesburg. Hail 3/4 inch or larger fell
in Brighton. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 58 mph at
Denver International Airport. A small tornado (F0)
touched down near Bennett...but did no damage.