Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Denver/Boulder, CO
NOUS45 KBOU 150045
Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Denver/Boulder CO
645 PM MDT SAT MAY 14 2016
...This week in metro Denver weather history...
14-15 In 1977...high winds up to 100 mph felled hundreds of trees in
Gilpin County and caused extensive damage to telephone and
power lines. Lumber and steel tanks were blown around in
Boulder Canyon. West winds gusted to 46 mph at Stapleton
International Airport on the 15th.
14-18 In 1996...a period of unusually warm weather resulted in
4 record maximum temperatures in 5 days. The record high
temperatures were 87 degrees on the 14th...89 degrees on
the 15th...and 93 degrees on both the 16th and 18th. The
temperature climbed to only 81 degrees on the 17th which
was not a record.
15 In 1894...southwest winds were sustained to 38 mph with gusts
to 50 mph.
In 1910...an apparent cold front produced sustained northeast
winds to 48 mph.
In 1986...a thunderstorm dumped an inch of rain in an hour
over the eastern part of Aurora. Total rainfall from the
storm was 1.62 inches.
In 1989...a 47 year old man...a Lakewood police officer...was
struck and injured by lightning. Small hail piled up 3
to 4 inches deep near Golden. There was reported street
flooding from heavy thunderstorm rains over western metro
Denver. Rainfall totaled 0.76 inch at Stapleton
In 1990...a thunderstorm produced a wind gust to 69 mph at
Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield. Thunderstorm winds
gusting to 49 mph at Stapleton International Airport
produced some blowing dust.
In 1991...a funnel cloud was sighted near Morrison. Later...
hail up to 2 inches deep covered U.S. Highway 285 at South
Turkey Creek Road in west metro Denver. Baseball size hail
was reported on the east side of Littleton. Dime size hail
was reported in Boulder.
In 1993...lightning started a fire which damaged a home in
Boulder. No one was injured.
In 1997...a wind gust to 58 mph was recorded at the site
of the former Stapleton International Airport. A street
sign was blown down at the Havana Street exit along I-70.
In 1999...lightning ignited a small fire in a 3-story
structure in Sunshine Canyon above Boulder. The fire
was quickly extinguished and caused only minor damage.
In 2003...thunderstorms produced very heavy rainfall and
localized flash flooding in the foothills of central
Boulder County. Rainfall ranged from 1.5 to 2.5 inches
in less than 2 hours. Water ranging in depth from 6 to 9
inches covered State Highway 119 in Boulder Canyon. Dirt
and rocks also washed over the roadway. Some basements
were flooded in the Sugarloaf area. Rockslides were also
reported at Boulder Falls...Lefthand Canyon...and Fourmile
15-16 In 1957...heavy snowfall totaled 8.8 inches at Stapleton
Airport. The greatest amount on the ground was 3 inches.
In 1986...a spring storm dumped 1 to 2 inches of rain over
metro Denver...but 2.71 inches fell at Buckley Field in
Aurora. Rainfall only totaled 0.84 inch at Stapleton
International Airport. Snow fell in the foothills with
7 inches recorded in Coal Creek Canyon southwest of
16 In 1875...a heavy hail storm turned into heavy rain during
the afternoon. Rainfall totaled 0.86 inch in just 37
minutes...while the temperature dropped 22 degrees in
22 minutes. Precipitation totaled 0.90 inch.
In 1894...west winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts
to 56 mph.
In 1949...a tornado was observed for 16 minutes...20 miles to
the southeast of Stapleton Airport. The tornado moved 5
miles to the northeast before dissipating. No damage was
In 1963...intense lightning started several forest fires in
the foothills southwest of Denver near Deckers and
Cheeseman Lake. Little precipitation fell from the storms
to alleviate the unusual dry conditions so early in the
In 1978...thunderstorm winds caused damage in southeast
Aurora. Winds of 60 to 80 mph blew down numerous fences and
damaged several homes under construction. High winds tore
docks loose at Cherry Creek Reservoir...sinking 3 or 4 boats
and damaging about 15 others. At Stapleton International
Airport where winds gusted to 60 mph...a 727 jet suffered
15 hundred dollars damage when wind toppled a runway light
onto it. The public reported an unconfirmed tornado 7 miles
south-southwest of Stapleton International Airport.
In 1990...a line of thunderstorms moving across metro Denver
uprooted a large ash tree...which fell and blocked the
outside doors to a Denver elementary school...briefly
trapping the students inside. Thunderstorm wind gusts to
69 mph were reported at Jefferson County Airport.
Northwest winds gusted to 44 mph at Stapleton International
In 1991...two tornadoes touched down briefly in Castle Rock...
but no injuries or damage were recorded. Heavy
thunderstorm rains of 0.50 to 1.10 inches in a couple of
hours caused Lena Gulch near Golden to flood. No damage
In 1996...dry microburst winds of unknown strength overturned
a trailer and damaged storage sheds in Strasburg east of
16-17 In 1981...a heavy rain storm dumped 1 to 2 1/2 inches of rain
across metro Denver. Rainfall totaled 1.27 inches at
Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted
to 38 mph on 17th.
In 1983...a very strong late spring storm dumped heavy snow
over the Front Range. Strong winds with the storm produced
blizzard conditions at times. Sustained winds were 20 to
40 mph with a peak gust to 55 mph at Stapleton International
Airport. The foothills received 1 to 2 feet of snow
with 4 to 12 inches along the foothills. Howling winds
whipped the snow into drifts several feet deep...closing
schools and highways. Stapleton International Airport was
forced to reduce flight operations...closing 2 of 4 runways
and stranding hundreds of travelers. Most of the damage
and inconvenience caused by the storm was in power outages...
which occurred when wind and heavy wet snow caused hundreds
of power poles to snap and topple. About 20 square miles
of Denver were blacked out. Precipitation from the storm
totaled 1 to 3 inches. At Stapleton International Airport...
snowfall totaled 7.1 inches with a maximum snow depth on
the ground of only 2 inches due to melting. The high
temperature of 40 degrees on the 17th was a record low
maximum for the date. Due to the heavy moisture content
of the storm...widespread street flooding occurred on the
18th when much of the snow melted under the warm May sun
and temperatures climbed to a high of 57 degrees.
In 1995...significant moisture and upslope flow caused
flooding across metro Denver. Moderate to heavy rains...
which began on the evening of the 16th...developed in the
foothills and spread eastward over metro Denver throughout
the night. The heavy rains brought many creeks and small
streams to bankfull or slightly over. Locations along the
foothills received between 3 and 4 inches of rainfall from
the storm. Boulder received 3.60 inches of rainfall for
the 24-hour period...causing minor street flooding near
small streams. To the northwest of Boulder...a bridge which
crossed Fourmile Creek was washed out. Numerous rock and
mudslides occurred in foothills canyons...closing portions
of U.S. Highways 6 and 40 and State Highway 119 for a few
hours at a time. Rocks were piled 6 feet deep on a stretch
of State Highway 119 along with boulders as large as cars on
U.S. Highway 6. A parking lot near a creek in Golden caved
in leaving a hole the size of an 18-wheeler. Rushing water
washed out a 50-foot stretch of a road in Westminster.
Rainfall totaled 1.75 inches at Denver International
Airport...but only 1.42 inches at the site of the former
Stapleton International Airport.
17 In 1903...southwest winds were sustained to 42 mph with gusts
to 45 mph from an apparent microburst which produced only
a trace of rain.
In 1960...hail to 3/4 inch diameter was measured in Thornton.
Golf ball size hail fell in Arvada.
In 1972...microburst winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton
In 1975...hail 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter fell over western
In 1978...a small tornado touched down in south Aurora
damaging 40 homes...6 to a considerable extent. One garage
was demolished and blown across the street. Parts of roofs
were completely blown away. Several 2x4-inch boards were
blown into the sides of houses. Another small tornado in
Parker damaged two airplanes. Other funnel clouds were
sighted over Northglenn and near Golden.
In 1985...a thunderstorm produced a total of 1.50 inches of
rain in Brighton where 0.72 inches fell in 40 minutes.
Small hail covered the ground...and there was some street
and basement flooding.
In 1987...small hail piled up 4 inches deep in southwest
Aurora. There was also widespread street flooding and a
few power outages. Hail as large as 3/4 inch in diameter
fell at Castle Rock.
In 2000...high winds occurred along and east of the Front Range
foothills...as a deep surface low pressure center formed over
the northeast plains of Colorado. An amusement park in
north Boulder received about 25 thousand dollars in property
damage. Peak wind reports included: 88 mph at the National
Wind Technology Center...84 mph in Boulder...and 80 mph at the
National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesa Laboratory.
A powder keg of severe weather...including tornadoes and
thunderstorms producing large hail...damaging winds and
heavy rain...occurred over the plains to the northeast of
Denver. The only severe weather reported across metro
Denver was 1 inch diameter hail in Littleton.
18 In 1864...heavy rains combined with melting snow to cause much
flooding on North Clear Creek in Blackhawk. Many bridges on
the road to Denver were washed away by the high water on
In 1893...northwest winds were sustained to 56 mph with an
extreme velocity to 60 mph.
In 1960...large hail to 1 inch in diameter damaged roofs and
cars in metro Denver. Heavy snow and rain in the foothills
caused rock and landslides...which blocked some highways.
There was widespread minor damage from lightning.
Hail as large as 1 1/8 inch in diameter was measured at
Stapleton Airport where winds gusted to 44 mph.
In 1975...a tornado touched down briefly just south of Buckley
Field in Aurora. A few minutes later the same tornado
touched down in open country 8 miles northeast of
Stapleton International Airport. No damage was reported.
In 1985...3/4 inch hail fell just southeast of Aurora.
In 1988...lightning started a fire at a home in the foothills
west of Boulder...causing 50 thousand dollars in damage.
In 1995...strong thunderstorms rumbled across metro Denver
dropping mainly pea to marble size hail. However...hail
stones as large as 1 1/4 inches in diameter fell in Wheat
Ridge and downtown Denver. Hail piled up to 2 inches deep
in Wheat Ridge and northwest Denver.
In 1996...the Buffalo Creek wildfire started and spread
rapidly on strong southwest winds at 20 to 30 mph. Dry
weather conditions contributed to the spread of the fire...
which burned nearly 12 thousand acres and destroyed 12
structures including some houses.
In 2001...a 19-year-old man was struck and killed by lightning
as he was walking along the shoulder of U.S. Highway 36 in
In 2003...hail to 3/4 inch in diameter was measured at Denver
In 2010...a small tornado touched down near Firestone but did
18-19 In 2011...a severe thunderstorm in central Adams County
produced large hail and heavy rainfall on the 18th. Large
hail from 1 inch to 1 3/4 inches in diameter...was reported
in Commerce City...2 miles south-southeast of Federal
Heights...Northglenn...and 2 miles south of Thornton. In
Commerce City...the storm uprooted trees and knocked out
power lines. A carport was lifted off the ground and
struck the power lines overhead. Heavy rain...from 1.0 to
1.5 inches fell in less than 2 hours in Commerce City and
near Brighton. The combination of hail and strong winds
broke windows in Northglenn. In the foothills...moderate to
heavy snow showers developed overnight. Storm totals
included: 10.5 inches at Gold Hill...9.5 inches...3 miles
west of Jamestown; 9 inches at Lake Eldora; with 6 inches...
11 miles southwest of Gilpin and 4 miles east-northeast of
Nederland. At Denver International Airport...total rainfall
over the 2-day period totaled 1.71 inches. In addition...a
peak wind gust to 37 mph was recorded on the 18th.
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 In 1927...southeast winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts
to 44 mph.
In 1956...a thunderstorm wind gust to 54 mph was recorded at
Stapleton International Airport.
In 1969...hail stones to 1 inch in diameter were measured in
Arvada and Aurora. Some minor damage was reported.
Pea to marble size hail fell in Westminster.
In 1972...a tornado was reported by aircraft about 5 to 10
miles east of Parker.
In 1988...lightning started a fire at a house in the Denver
suburb of Greenwood Village...causing 2 thousand dollars in
In 1991...strong thunderstorms over east metro Denver produced
wind gusts of 56 to 60 mph. The strong winds downed power
lines...trees...and fences at some locations in Aurora.
Thunderstorm outflow winds gusted to 60 mph at Stapleton
In 1994...severe thunderstorms rumbled across metro Denver.
The storms produced wind gusts averaging 65 mph and hail up
to dime size. Wind gusts to 77 mph were recorded in
Brighton. Numerous trees and power poles were downed by
the winds. One power pole fell onto spectators at a high
school graduation ceremony in Commerce City...injuring 6
people. In Fort Lupton...trees fell onto 2 parked cars...
knocking out the windshields. Hail to 3/4 inch in diameter
was reported in Littleton. A thunderstorm wind gust to 52
mph was recorded at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1995...a slow moving tornado...which was mainly discernible
by its dust and debris cloud...was spotted 2 miles northeast
of Denver International Airport or about 10 miles
northwest of Bennett. No damage was reported.
In 2007...lightning struck a 33-ft statue of Jesus at Mother
Cabrini Shrine...in the foothills west of Golden. The blast
broke off one of the statue`s arms and a hand...and also
damaged a foot. It cost an estimated $200000 to repair.
In 2009...lightning struck the roof of a residence in Highlands
Ranch. The home was not a total loss...but the fire caused
In 2010...a thunderstorm produced hail up to 7/8 inch in
diameter in Thornton.
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.
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.