Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Denver/Boulder, CO
NOUS45 KBOU 200859
Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Denver/Boulder CO
259 AM MDT FRI MAY 20 2016
...Today in metro Denver weather history...
18-20 In 1915...3.9 inches of snow fell in the city. The estimated
amount of snow that melted as it fell was 6.2 inches which
would have totaled an estimated 10.1 inches of snowfall.
Precipitation totaled 1.03 inches. North winds were
sustained to 32 mph on the 18th. Low temperatures dipped
to 25 degrees on both the 18th and 20th...establishing
record minimums for both dates.
In 1988...prolonged heavy rainfall drenched metro Denver.
The event began when heavy thunderstorms on the 18th caused
some street flooding and power outages...followed by steady
rain on the 19th and 20th. Rain amounts across metro
Denver totaled 3 to 4 inches. Rainfall totaled 3.71 inches
at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted
to 39 mph on the 20th. Four to eight inches of snow fell in
the foothills above 7 thousand feet.
19-20 In 1864...a devastating major flash flood occurred on the
normally dry and sandy Cherry Creek in Denver. The flood
was caused by heavy thunderstorm rainfall and hail over the
Palmer Ridge to the south of the city in both the Cherry
Creek and Plum Creek basins. Nineteen deaths occurred along
the South Platte River and Cherry Creek in Denver. The
torrent swept cattle and sheep along with large trees and
houses before it washing out several bridges...and moving
large structures from their foundations. All city records
were destroyed when City Hall washed away. The Rocky
Mountain News building...built on stilts in the middle of the
creek...was totally destroyed by the raging waters...which
were as deep as 5 feet on the morning of the 20th. Once
the flood waters receded...much sand and gravel was left
behind. Property damage from the flood was estimated at
nearly one million dollars. This was the first major
flood of record in the city.
20 In 1874...after a light late afternoon shower...3 rainbows
were visible in the eastern sky. The two upper bows
were of the usual colors. The lower bow had a deep
violet center with a faint yellow and white rim.
In 1892...apparent post-frontal north winds were sustained to
40 mph with gusts to 48 mph. A trace of snow was the last
snowfall of the season.
In 1899...snow pellets from 1/4 to 3/8 inch in diameter fell
from a thundershower during the late afternoon. West winds
were sustained to 42 mph with gusts as high as 48 mph.
In 1904...southeast winds were sustained to 40 mph with an
extreme velocity of 42 mph produced by a thunderstorm.
In 1961...a tornado tore through central Douglas County...1 1/2
miles north of Castle Rock. The storm struck 2 ranches and
the property of a drilling company. A car on the highway
was lifted off the road and slammed into a truck...injuring
the two occupants.
In 1983...heavy rain fell in Aurora with 1.00 to 1.50 inches
of precipitation. Local flooding occurred in Lakewood.
In 1990...1 inch diameter hail fell at Buckley Field in
Aurora. Minor damage was reported to autos...buildings and
In 1995...hail as large as 3/4 inch in diameter fell near
Bennett where a funnel cloud was sighted.
In 2001...damaging winds developed behind a vigorous cold
front that moved south from Wyoming into metro Denver.
High winds...gusting to 58 mph at Denver International
Airport...downed trees and power lines and kicked up blowing
dust...dirt...and debris...reducing the visibility to near
zero at times. The poor visibility caused a multi-vehicle
accident along U.S. Highway 85 north of Fort Lupton. Six
people were treated for minor injuries. Several vehicles...
including semi-trailers...were blown off I-70 east of Denver.
About 32 thousand Xcel Energy customers in metro Denver were
without electricity for up to 2 hours. At least a dozen
incoming flights at Denver International Airport were
diverted to other airports. All departing flights were
grounded for at least an hour. At Southwest Plaza...shoppers
were evacuated as rocks holding a tarp on a portion of a
roof under repair toppled into the mall. After the passage
of the cold front...temperatures plunged from the lower 70`s
to the mid 30`s in one hour as light snow developed. Heavy
snow developed in the foothills during the evening. Peak
wind reports included 68 mph near Parker and 63 mph near
Sedalia. Snowfall totals included: 7 inches near Blackhawk...
at Ken Caryl Ranch...and near Sedalia; 6 inches in Coal Creek
Canyon...at Eldorado Springs...and atop Lookout Mountain; 5
inches at Chief Hosa...in Louisville...Rollinsville...and Wheat
Ridge; and 4 inches in Aurora...Bailey...Parker...Castle Rock
and near Morrison. Low temperature of 31 degrees during the
early morning of the 21st equaled the record low for the
date last set in 1931.
In 2004...severe thunderstorms produced hail as large as 1.25
inches near Ft. Lupton and hail to 1.50 inches 10 miles
north of Ft. Lupton.
In 2014...severe thunderstorm produced hail...from 1 to 1 1/4
inches in diameter...across parts of Aurora...Denver...
Englewood and Lakewood.
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 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.