Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Denver/Boulder, CO
NOUS45 KBOU 220859
Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Denver/Boulder CO
259 AM MDT SUN MAY 22 2016
...Today in metro Denver weather history...
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.
21-22 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.
22 In 1876...the most precipitation in Denver on any calendar
In 1901...northeast winds were sustained to 41 mph with gusts
to 45 mph.
In 1903...west winds were sustained to 45 mph with gusts to
55 mph from an apparent microburst...which produced a trace
In 1976...the public reported 3/4 inch diameter hail and wind
gusts to 53 mph near Littleton.
In 1987...golf ball size hail fell in the Lorretto Heights
area of south metro Denver.
In 1991...a tornado touched down briefly in Castle Rock. No
injuries were reported.
In 1993...an off duty National Weather Service employee
reported hail up to golf ball size just west of the City
of Denver in Jefferson County. Thunderstorm wind gusts
reached 58 mph at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield
and 33 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1996...a severe thunderstorm pummeled northwest and
northern sections of metro Denver with large hail ranging
in size from 3/4 to 2 inches in diameter. The cities of
Arvada and Westminster were the hardest hit. The insurance
industry estimated 60 million dollars in damage to homes
and personal property and 62 million dollars in damage to
automobiles...for a total of 122 million dollars in insured
losses. This estimate also included the cities of Golden...
Thornton...and Wheat Ridge. This was the fourth worst
hailstorm to hit metro Denver in the last 10 years.
In 1998...large hail fell across north metro Denver. Hail
as large as 1 1/2 inches in diameter was measured in
Broomfield and Hudson. Hail to 1 1/4 inches fell in
Roggen. Hail to 1 inch fell in Brighton...near Keenesburg...
in Watkins...and in the City of Denver. Lightning ignited
a house fire in Ft. Lupton. A warehouse worker in Denver
was injured when he was knocked off a loading dock by
a lightning bolt. The bolt skipped off a nearby radio
tower and struck him in the arm. He was treated for
numbness in his right arm and released.
In 1999...severe thunderstorms produced 7/8 inch diameter
hail over the City of Denver...with one inch diameter hail
reported in Aurora...and 3/4 inch hail near Watkins.
In 2006...a lightning strike sparked a fire and damaged the
roof of a recreation center in Evergreen. The fire spread
into some brush and consumed about one quarter acre before
it was extinguished. Severe thunderstorms produced strong
wind gusts across portions of metro Denver. Winds gusted
to 72 mph in Georgetown...62 mph near Parker and Bennett...
60 mph in Castle Rock...and 59 mph in Longmont. The winds
caused no reportable damage. A thunderstorm produced
southwest wind gusts to 52 mph at Denver International
In 2008...a powerful tornado swept north-northwestward across
Weld County...carving a path of destruction nearly 39 miles
in length. The tornado...up to one-mile wide at times...
initially touched down northeast of Platteville and finally
lifted 6 miles west-northwest of Wellington. A tornado
assessment in the aftermath of the tornado revealed
extensive areas of damage. On the enhanced Fujita Scale...
there were pockets of EF3 damage near the Missle Silo Park
Campground and to businesses and a home in eastern Windsor.
Farmers reported extensive damage to crops and irrigation
equipment. There was one fatality and 78 injuries...
ranging from broken bones to minor cuts and lacerations.
One man was killed when he tried to escape a trailer park
in his motor home. Tractor trailers were flipped along
U.S. Highway 85...and over 200 power poles were snapped or
blown down. Approximately 60000 people were left without
electricity. The tornado overturned 15 railroad cars and
destroyed a lumber car. The tornado also flattened the
main feedlot in Windsor and destroyed a dairy barn. Most
of the 400 cows were killed in the tornado or destroyed
later. The thunderstorm also produced hail up to the size
of baseballs. Another tornado from a separate thunderstorm...
rated an EF1...briefly touched down near Dacono and
destroyed 5 buildings. The tornado overturned a five-wheel
trailer and injured a man sitting inside. Preliminary
estimates from FEMA indicated 850 homes were damaged...and
nearly 300 homes were significantly damaged or destroyed.
The Poudre Valley Rural Electric Associated reported $1
million of damage to electric transmission lines.
Privately insured damages totaled $147 million...making it
the state`s 4th costliest disaster. Large hail up to 1 1/2
inches in diameter...was reported in the vicinities of
Golden and Longmont.
In 2014...a severe thunderstorm Denver area produced nickel
to quarter size hail in parts of west Denver and near
Bennett. Locally heavy rainfall produced some minor
street flooding in parts of metro Denver. The heavy
rainfall produced localized flash flooding near Bennett.
Rainfall totaled 0.54 inches at Denver International
22-23 In 1933...high winds and gales overnight caused considerable
damage in and near the city. Much greenhouse glass was
broken...which caused damage to sheltered plants. Great
numbers of plants growing in the open were damaged or
killed by wind-driven sand and soil. Fields were eroded
by the wind and a few trees were uprooted. West winds
were sustained to 38 mph with gusts as high as 65 mph
in downtown Denver on the 22nd.