Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Denver/Boulder, CO

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NOUS45 KBOU 240959

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Denver/Boulder CO
259 AM MST SAT DEC 24 2016

...Today in metro Denver weather history...

17-24 In 1924...a prolonged cold spell occurred after mild
        temperatures during the first half of the month.  Most
        low temperatures dipped below zero with the coldest
        reading of 15 degrees below zero occurring on the 24th.
        The high temperature of only 5 degrees on the 18th was
        a record low maximum for the date.
18-24 In 1998...a vigorous cold front with north winds gusting as
        high as 38 mph at Denver International Airport on the 18th
        dropped temperatures from a high of 51 degrees to a low of
        just 6 degrees before midnight.  The Arctic air mass that
        settled over metro Denver produced intermittent light snow
        and a week-long protracted cold spell that caused low
        temperatures to plunge well below zero for 6 consecutive
        nights.  The coldest temperature was 19 degrees below zero
        on the morning of the 22nd.  High temperatures climbed only
        into the single digits on 4 consecutive days...from the 19th
        through the 22nd.  At least 15 people...mostly homeless...
        were treated for hypothermia at area hospitals.  The bitter
        cold weather was responsible...either directly or indirectly...
        for at least 5 fatalities.  Three of the victims died
        directly from exposure.  The cold weather also caused
        intermittent power outages.  Following the cold snap...
        thawing water pipes cracked and burst in several homes and
        businesses...causing extensive damage.  Only one temperature
        record was set.  The high temperature of only 7 degrees on
        the 19th set a record low maximum for the date.
20-25 In extremely bitter cold spell occurred.  The
        temperature remained below zero for 115 hours in Denver...
        the longest sub-zero period on record.  The mercury dipped
        to 21 degrees below zero on the 21st...the coldest recorded
        temperature in over 20 years.  The cold was accompanied
        by winds that plunged chill factors to 50 to 70 degrees
        below zero.  Two people froze to death in Denver; both
        were found outside dead of exposure.  Numerous cases of
        frostbite were reported.  Hundreds of water pipes broke
        from the intense cold...water mains and natural gas lines
        also fractured...and electricity consumption reached record
        levels.  Light snow totaling 5.8 inches fell at times...and
        holiday traffic was delayed at Stapleton International
        Airport for several hours.  Eight daily temperature records
        were set at the time.  The all-time record low maximum
        temperature for the month of 8 degrees below zero on the
        21st still stands today.  Other temperature records still
        standing include record low maximum temperatures of 5
        degrees below zero on both the 22nd and 23rd and 4 degrees
        below zero on the 24th.
22-24 In 2009...A winter storm produced moderate to heavy snow
        across parts of the Front Range and adjacent plains. In
        the foothills...storm totals included: 11.5 inches near
        Eldorado Springs...10 inches...3 miles southeast of
        Pinecliffe; 9 inches at Genesee...2 miles southwest of
        Golden and Ken Caryl; 8 inches...3 miles west of Jamestown
        and White Ranch Open Space; 7 inches...4 miles east-
        northeast of Nederland.  Across the Urban Corridor and
        adjacent plains...storm totals included: 9 inches...2 miles
        west of Parker; 8 inches at Watkins; 7 inches...2 miles
        west-southwest of Byers...12 miles southwest of Buckley
        AFB and 3 miles northeast of Parker. At Denver
        International Airport...6.1 inches of snowfall was observed.
23-24 In 1907...winds nearly as strong as a hurricane raked Boulder
        and areas north of Denver...killing one person and injuring
        others.  Property damage was minor.
      In 1973...a pre-Christmas blizzard...the second in 5 days...
        produced strong winds and dumped heavy snow across metro
        Denver.  Nearly a foot...11.8 inches...of snow fell at
        Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusting
        from 30 to 40 mph produced much blowing snow.  The strong
        winds whipped the snow into 2- to 4-foot drifts...closing
        many roads and airports.  About 10 thousand people were
        stranded at Stapleton International Airport for up to 24
      In 1978...wind gusts to 90 mph on the 23rd and 73 mph on the
        24th were recorded in Boulder.  A townhouse under
        construction was severely damaged by the winds.  At
        Stapleton International Airport...west winds gusted to
        37 mph on the 23rd and northwest winds gusted to 35 mph
        on the 24th.
      In 1987...a snowstorm assured a white Christmas for metro
        Denver...where 4 to 8 inches fell.  Amounts in the foothills
        ranged from 10 to 18 inches.  Snowfall totaled 3.9 inches
        at Stapleton International Airport...where north winds gusted
        to 32 mph on the 23rd.
24    In 1876...the all-time lowest recorded temperature in December...
        25 degrees below zero...occurred.  The same temperature was
        also reached on December 22...1990.
      In 1907...west winds were sustained to 43 mph.  The chinook
        winds warmed the temperature to a high of 58 degrees.
      In 1908...west bora winds sustained to 49 mph produced a
        high temperature of 42 degrees.  A trace of snow fell.
      In 1977...wind damaged temporary wooden structures at
        construction sites in Denver.  Several trees were blown
        over...causing damage to houses and cars.  Power outages
        occurred in northwest Denver.  Some chimneys were blown off
        a house in the Ken Caryl Ranch area.  Wind gusts to 70 mph
        were reported in Boulder...and northwest winds gusted to
        53 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
      In 1982...on Christmas Eve one of the worst blizzards of all
        time dumped 24 to 34 inches of snow across metro Denver.
        The heaviest official one-day snow amount in the city`s
        history...23.6 inches...brought traffic to a stand still and
        completely closed Stapleton International Airport on
        Christmas day.  Boulder received 18 to 24 inches of snow.
        Two feet of snow buried Parker and Sedalia to the south of
        Denver.  Weather conditions during the storm were brutal.
        Visibility at Stapleton International Airport was reduced
        to 1/4 mile or less for 17 consecutive hours.  Sustained
        winds of 25 mph or more persisted for 15 consecutive hours.
        Gusts over 40 mph were recorded during 12 different hours.
        The highest recorded wind gust was 51 mph.  The howling
        winds blew snow into drifts 4 to 8 feet high...paralyzing
        all modes of transportation.  All highways leading out
        of Denver were closed.  Stapleton International Airport
        was closed for 33 hours and operated on only a limited
        schedule for days afterward.  Thousands of travelers
        were stranded and failed to reach their destinations
        in time for Christmas.  Many wayward commuters and
        shoppers were forced to take refuge in shopping malls...
        which remained open when workers themselves became
        stranded.  Mall restaurants served food to the refugees.
        The storm prevented most people in the area from
        spending Christmas day with family and friends.  In metro
        Denver...three people died as a direct result of the
        blizzard:  a 60-year-old man died of hypothermia on his
        screened in back porch; a 66 year old man froze to death
        after falling into a drift a few feet from his home; a 34-
        year-old man froze to death just east of Denver after
        abandoning his 4-wheel drive vehicle which became stuck in
        the snow.  With the heavy snow and wind chill temperatures
        of 20 to 30 degrees below zero...there were many injuries
        from frostbite and falls.  Damage from the blizzard was
        varied and widespread.  A number of roofs collapsed under
        the weight of the heavy snow; greenhouses received the
        greatest damage when the heavy snow shattered glass roofs...
        allowing cold air to freeze the tender plants inside.
        Total damage to greenhouses and plants alone was estimated
        at 5 million dollars.  The strong winds with the storm
        damaged many fences and caused numerous power outages.
        Last minute Christmas shoppers were literally left out in
        the cold and the storm made travel increasingly
        difficult during the day.  Merchants lost significant
        income from the last shopping day before Christmas.
        Overall...businesses lost an estimated 500 million dollars
        due to the blizzard.  In metro million
        dollars were spent for snow removal...three million dollars
        in the City of Denver alone.  This expenditure did not
        prevent a subsequent snow removal controversy.  Once the
        major streets were made passable...cold late December and
        January temperatures prevented much melting.  Icy and
        snowpacked side streets and parking lots became rutted...
        making travel around metro Denver difficult for nearly a
        month after the storm.  In fact...snow cover of an inch
        or more lasted for 48 consecutive days after the storm...
        through February 9...1983.  This is the third longest
        period of snow cover on record in the city.  The period
        would have been longer...but no significant snow fell
        for more than 2 months after the storm.
24-25 In 1891...heavy snowfall of 7.0 inches in downtown Denver
        provided a white Christmas.  Most of the snow...6.5 inches...
        fell on the 24th.  Northwest winds were sustained to 30
        mph with gusts to 40 mph on the 24th.
      In 1894...snow began falling during the evening of the 24th...
        ended during the early afternoon of the 25th...and totaled
        6.4 inches in downtown Denver.  Northwest winds were
        sustained to 26 mph with gusts to 30 mph on the 24th.  The
        maximum snow depth on the ground was 5 inches.  The high
        temperature was only 18 degrees on the 25th after a low of
        8 degrees.
      In 1980...strong chinook winds of 50 to 60 mph occurred in the
        foothills with a wind gust to 90 mph recorded at Wondervu.
        West winds gusted to 33 mph at Stapleton International
        Airport on the 25th.
      In 1997...a relatively rare Christmas snowstorm blanketed
        much of northeastern Colorado.  Snowfall in and near
        the Front Range foothills and south of metro Denver ranged
        from 5 to 8 inches. snow accumulations were
        generally 1 to 3 inches.  Snowfall totaled only 1.5 inches
        at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.
        North winds gusted to 29 mph at Denver International
        Airport on the 24th.
      In 2012...a winter-like weather moved into northeast Colorado
        on Christmas Eve as an upper level trough and a strong cold
        front moved through the region. At Denver International
        Airport...2.5 inches of snow fell from Christmas Eve through
        Christmas morning.  The high temperatures on Christmas Day
        only reached 16 degrees...which was the coldest day of the

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