Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Denver/Boulder, CO
NOUS45 KBOU 210859
Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Denver/Boulder CO
259 AM MDT SAT MAY 21 2016
...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 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 In 1874...an 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 1935...no 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...Pea 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.