Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Denver/Boulder, CO
NOUS45 KBOU 030959
Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Denver/Boulder CO
259 AM MST FRI FEB 3 2017
...Today in metro Denver weather history...
30-7 In 1985...a cold front on the 29th produced a protracted cold
spell as Arctic air remained entrenched across metro Denver.
While the only daily temperature record set was a low
maximum reading of 2 degrees on February 3rd...minimum
temperatures plunged well below zero on 9 consecutive days.
The coldest readings were 15 degrees below zero on January
31st and 14 degrees below zero on February 5th.
31-8 In 1963...warm weather that began with the strong chinook
winds on the 31st and 1st continued through the 8th.
Maximum temperatures through the period ranged from 52
degrees on the 2nd to 76 degrees on the 5th...which was
a new record high for that date.
31-12 In 1899...a protracted cold spell lasted almost two weeks.
Low temperatures plunged below zero on all days but
February 9th with a reading of 6 degrees. The coldest
low temperature of 22 degrees below zero on February 6th
was a record low for the date. Low temperatures of 20
degrees below zero occurred on both February 11th and 12th...
but only the 11th remains as the record minimum for the
date. High temperature of only 5 degrees below zero on
February 11th was a record low maximum for the date. High
temperatures climbed to only zero degrees on both February
2nd and 3rd...but were not records. Intermittent light snow
or flurries fell during the period. The most snowfall...2.0
inches...occurred on February 2nd.
1-3 In 1996...cold Arctic air plunged temperatures below zero
for more than 35 consecutive hours from late on the 1st
until sunrise on the 3rd. The temperature warmed to only
1 degree below zero on the 2nd after a record low of
16 degrees below zero.
1-4 In 2011...a frigid arctic airmass settled into Front Range
Urban Corridor. At Denver International Airport...
overnight low temperatures...from the 1st to the 3rd...
were 13 below zero...17 below zero and zero respectively.
The icy temperatures caused pipes to crack and burst
following the freeze. In Loveland...firefighters
responded to more than a dozen water pipe breaks...most
in fire sprinkler systems at businesses...apartments and
assisted care facilities. At CU Earth Science Library
in Boulder...more than 1000 books and several costumes
for an upcoming production were damaged. At the county
courts administration building in Jefferson County...a
steady stream of water from a crack on the 5th floor...
went unnoticed on the 3rd and flooded all the floors of
the administration wing overnight. As a result...much of
the office equipment...furniture and carpet sustained
water damage. A burst sprinkler line caused minor
damage at the Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton.
The icy temperatures forced to closure of several school
districts as well.
1-5 In 1985...the most bitter cold spell of the winter season
brought sub-zero temperatures to metro Denver. Daily low
temperature records were broken at Denver. The usual cold
weather problems struck including stalled vehicles...jammed
traffic lights...and frozen water and sewer lines. At
Stapleton International Airport...the high temperature
was only 2 degrees above zero on the 1st...setting a record
low maximum for the date. Low temperatures reached 13 below
zero on the 1st...12 below on the third...and 14 below on the
1-6 In 1989...one of the century`s worst doses of winter weather
ravaged the entire state. Bitterly frigid weather moved
into metro Denver on the 1st as snow buried many sections
of the state. In metro Denver where 3 to 6 inches of snow
fell...blowing snow and resultant poor visibilities caused
a 46-car pile-up on I-25 in the middle of the city on the
4th. During the period...2 to 3 hour delays were common at
Stapleton International Airport where snowfall from the
storm totaled 4.3 inches and northeast winds gusted to 30
mph on the 1st. Intense cold accompanied the storm.
Temperatures in Denver stayed below zero continuously for
the best part of 3 days (3rd...4th...5th)...for a total of 69
hours. This is the fourth longest sub-zero period on
record. Wind chill temperatures reached 50 degrees below
zero. The mercury dipped to 24 degrees below zero on the
5th...setting a record for the date. This was the city`s
coldest temperature in over 26 years. Low temperatures
dipped below zero on 8 consecutive days (2nd-9th). High
temperature of 9 degrees below zero on the 4th was a record
low maximum for the date...as was the high of 5 degrees on
the 5th. Extensive damage occurred when pipes and water
lines froze and broke. Thousands of cars failed to start.
On the 3rd...a 57-year-old woman died of hypothermia in an
Arvada park. Eighteen high school students were treated
for hypothermia after a 2-hour ride through Jefferson
County in an unheated bus. At least 2 cases of frostbite
were reported; there were undoubtedly many more.
1-9 In 1883...a protracted cold period occurred when low
temperatures dipped below zero for 9 consecutive days.
Low temperatures ranged from 22 degrees below zero on
the 4th to 2 degrees below zero on the 1st and 6th. High
temperatures ranged from 10 below zero on the 3rd to
23 on the 9th. Several temperature records were set
that still stand today. Record lows of 18 below and
22 below zero occurred on the 3rd and 4th. Record low
maximum readings of 2 below and 10 below zero occurred on
the 2nd and 3rd. The high of only 10 below zero on the
3rd is the coldest maximum temperature ever recorded in
2-3 In 1894...6.2 inches of heavy snowfall were measured over
downtown Denver. East winds gusted to 25 mph on the 2nd.
In 1999...a powerful chinook windstorm struck the foothills
and adjacent plains. Several locations registered wind
gusts in excess of 100 mph...including: 127 mph atop
Sugarloaf Mountain...120 mph at Lafayette...119 mph at
Wondervu...104 mph at Coal Creek...103 mph at the Rocky
Flats Environmental Test Facility and 100 mph in
Louisville. The damage associated with the windstorm was
extensive. Thirty 70-foot-tall power poles were damaged...
including several that supported high voltage lines
transmitting electricity directly from generating plants.
The combination of downed power poles...power lines...and
trees resulted in outages for about 10 thousand residents.
In Lafayette...power poles were sheared off for a mile
and a quarter. The power outages primarily affected
residents in Boulder...Broomfield...Lafayette...Louisville...
and Fort Lupton. In addition to the outages...high winds
ripped apart several roofs in Boulder...including the roof
of the Boulder County Jail. At Jefferson County Airport...
several planes were overturned and some hangars damaged or
destroyed. Damage to the airport alone was estimated at
100 thousand dollars. In southern Jefferson County...
localized ground blizzards reduced visibilities in blowing
snow to less than 20 feet along U.S. Highway 285...resulting
in several accidents. In Pine Junction a downed tree
damaged a nearby residence...when it crashed onto the roof.
In Bailey...a downed tree crushed a vehicle parked in the
resident`s driveway. Total damage estimates for the
windstorm reached 3 million dollars...making it the fourth
costliest on record at the time in Colorado. Other peak
wind gusts include: 97 mph at Boulder...93 mph at the
National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesa Lab in Boulder...
88 mph at Nederland...86 mph at Aspen Springs...and 83 mph at
Blue Mountain near Coal Creek Canyon. West to northwest
winds gusted as high as 46 mph at Denver International
2-4 In 2012...a slow moving and powerful storm system brought heavy
snow to areas in and near the Front Range Foothills and Palmer
Divide...with blizzard conditions over the northeast plains of
Colorado. In the Front Range Foothills...the snow piled up to
over 4 feet in some areas. Across the Palmer Divide...the
combination of snow and gusty winds resulted in road closures
with snow drifts ranging from 2 to 5 feet in depth. Northerly
winds 15 to 25 mph were common with gusts to 40 mph. Several
snowfall records were also set in Denver. At Denver
International Airport...12.5 inches of snow feet on the 3rd
shattered the previous record of 7.5 inches for the date. It
also set a new daily record for the entire month of February.
A new 3-day record was also established for Denver. The 3-day
storm total from February 2nd to the 4th was 15.9 inches...
which broke the previous record of 14.1 inches in 1912.
Denver International Airport canceled more than six hundred
flights. In addition...snow and blowing snow produced near zero
visibilities...forcing officials to close the westbound lanes of
Interstate 70...between the Kansas state line and Denver...as
well as the eastbound lanes from Denver to Limon. Other road
closures included State Highway 86...between Kiowa and I-70.
Across the Urban Corridor storm totals included: 22 inches in
Broomfield; 21 inches at Lafayette...Louisville and Westminster;
20 inches at Northglenn; 19 inches at the National Weather
Service in Boulder...Castle Rock...Centenniel and Parker; 18
inches in Arvada...16.5 inches in Erie...13.5 inches near
Longmont; 11 inches in Lyons and 10 inches in Frederick.
Storm totals in the mountains and foothills included: 51
inches at Coal Creek Canyon...45.5 inches...4.6 miles northeast
of Ward; 44.5 inches...3 miles west of Jamestown; 38 inches...3
miles north of Blackhawk; 37 inches...3 miles west-southwest of
Conifer and 4 miles east-northeast of Nederland; 35.5 inches...
3.6 miles west-northwest of Boulder; 34 inches...5.2 miles east-
southeast of Aspen Springs; 33 inches near Evergreen...32 inches
at Genesee; 31 inches...10.3 miles west of Bellvue and Eldora
Mountain Ski Resort; 24 inches at Echo Mountain Ski Resort; 21
inches at Niwot Ridge SNOTEL; and 19 inches at Gross Reservoir.
Along the Palmer Divide storm totals included: 26 inches...14
miles east-northeast of Kiowa; 25 inches...10 miles south-
southwest of Buckley Air Force Base...and 8 miles southeast
of Watkins; 20 inches near Strasburg; 12 inches near Elizabeth.
3 In 1883...the lowest daily maximum temperature ever recorded
in Denver...10 degrees below zero...occurred.
In 1885...a windstorm occurred from late morning through the
late afternoon. Northwest winds were sustained to 45 mph
in the city.
In 1888...a trace of light rain fell in downtown Denver.
Rain is relatively rare this early in the month.
In 1924...northwest winds were sustained to 48 mph. These
were the strongest winds of the month that year.
In 1932...a major storm dumped 7.5 inches of snow in
downtown Denver where northwest winds gusted to 23 mph.
Boulder received 9 inches of snow from the storm.
3-4 In 1906...northeast winds were sustained to 43 mph behind a
cold front on the 3rd. The front plunged temperatures
from a high of 62 degrees on the 3rd to a low of 24
degrees...which was also the high reading on the 4th.
The low temperature on the 4th was only 3 degrees.
Snowfall was only 0.6 inch on the 4th.
In 1970...a wind gust to 115 mph was recorded in Boulder at
the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Sustained
winds of 35 mph with gusts as high as 62 mph were measured
in downtown Boulder. Northwest winds gusted to 47 mph at
Stapleton International Airport on the 3rd.
3-5 In 1982...a cold surge of Arctic air brought light snow and
sub-zero temperatures to metro Denver. Temperatures
plunged to 6 below zero at midnight on the 3rd and never
warmed above zero on the 4th as snow flurries continued.
High temperature on the 4th of 1 below zero was a record
low maximum. The temperature dipped to a record low of
15 below zero on the 5th.