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Public Information Statement

Statement as of 6:45 PM MDT on September 20, 2014

... This week in Metro Denver weather history...

20-21 in 1963... heavy rain and hail caused local flooding in
        southeast Denver. Thunderstorm rainfall was only
        0.60 inch at Stapleton Airport on the 20th.
      In 1983... the cold front on the 19th brought an unusually cold
        air mass into Metro Denver for so early in the season. The
        temperature dipped to a daily record minimum of 28 degrees
        on both days.
      In 1995... a vigorous late Summer storm brought the season's
        first heavy snow to portions of Metro Denver. Millions
        of trees were damaged and power lines downed as 4 to 8
        inches of heavy wet snow settled on fully leafed trees in
        the Boulder and Denver areas. Branches snapped and trees
        split under the weight of heavy snow... Downing power lines.
        Firefighters responded to numerous transformer fires.
        Around 100 thousand people were left without electricity
        in Boulder and Denver areas alone. It took over a week
        to fully restore power to some areas. Insurance claims
        were estimated to be around 6 million dollars to homes
        in Metro Denver and about 500 thousand dollars in damage
        to automobiles. It was estimated that about 80 percent
        of 125 million dollars Worth of city owned trees in Denver
        were damaged. Snowfall totaled 7.4 inches at the site of
        the former Stapleton International Airport where the
        greatest depth of snow on the ground was only 4 inches
        due to melting. Temperature records were set on the
        21st when the thermometer dipped to a record low reading
        of 27 degrees and climbed to a high of only 36 degrees...
        setting a record low maximum for the date. North winds
        gusted to 29 mph at Denver International Airport on the
20-22 in 1902... a thunderstorm on the 20th... in advance of an
        apparent cold front... produced rain... hail... and northwest
        winds to 40 mph with gusts to 48 mph. Widespread rain
        developed behind the cold front and totaled 3.21 inches
        from the evening of the 20th through the early afternoon
        of the 22nd. The 2.70 inches of precipitation recorded
        from 800 PM on the 20th to 800 PM on the 21st is the
        greatest 24 hour precipitation ever recorded in the
        month of September. The temperature dipped from a high
        of 80 degrees on the 20th to a high of only 51 degrees
        on the 21st.
21 in 1951... 4.2 inches of snow fell at Stapleton Airport...
        where northeast winds gusted to 27 mph. This was the
        first snowfall of the season in Denver... marking the end
        of the second shortest snow-free period on record... 109
        days... from June 4th through September 20th. A trace of
        snow fell on June 3rd.
      In 1984... thunderstorm winds gusted to 56 mph at Stapleton
      In 1992... the only precipitation of the month at Stapleton
        International Airport... 0.01 inch of rain... fell from a
        brief shower around daybreak.
      In 2009... an early season storm brought moderate to heavy
        snow to the foothills of Clear Creek... Jefferson and park
        counties... west and southwest of Denver. A trained
        spotter... 4 miles west-northwest of Conifer... was the big
        Winner with 14 inches of snow. Storm totals elsewhere
        generally ranged from 5 to 10 inches.
21-22 in 1870... strong winds occurred in the foothills and in
        Boulder and Denver.
      In 1895... rain changed to snow overnight and totaled 11.4
        inches in downtown Denver. This was the first snowfall
        of the season and the second heaviest first snowfall of
        the season on record. North winds were sustained to 27
        mph with gusts to 30 mph on the 21st.
22 in 1913... a thunderstorm produced northwest winds sustained
        to 40 mph with gusts to 44 mph.
      In 1946... a trace of snow fell in downtown Denver. This
        marked the start of the longest snow season on record...
        263 days through June 11... 1947... when a trace of snow
        also fell.
23 in 1873... north to northwest winds blowing almost a gale
        spread clouds of dust and sand into the city during the
        afternoon and evening. From the roof of the weather
        observer's building... houses a few hundred yards away were
        not visible and not even the sky could be seen through the
        clouds of sand. The wind reached sustained speeds of 35
        mph... but only 28 mph was registered for any one hour.
      In 1977... wind gusts from 50 to 80 mph were reported along the
        foothills. A northwest wind gust to 53 mph was recorded at
        Stapleton International Airport.
23-24 in 2000... the first snowstorm of the season brought heavy
        snow to areas in and near the foothills. While the
        heaviest snow fell north of Metro Denver... 6 inches were
        measured in Boulder... 4 inches at both Castle Rock and
        Morrison... but only 0.2 inch at the site of the former
        Stapleton International Airport where most of the
        precipitation fell as rain. At Denver International
        Airport where drizzle and rain fell on the 23rd...
        snowfall during the early morning of the 24th was
        estimated at 2.1 inches due to melting. The foothills
        west of Denver received more snow with 10 inches measured
        at Conifer... 9 inches 11 miles southwest of Morrison...
        8 inches atop Crow Hill... 7 inches at chief hosa... and
        5 inches at Ralston Reservoir.
24 in 1901... northwest winds were sustained to 50 mph with
        gusts as high as 57 mph in the city.
      In 1932... thunderstorm rainfall of only 0.11 inch was the
        only measurable precipitation for the month that year
        in the city.
      In 1986... a very strong wind storm roared across Metro
        Denver. Boulder was hit hardest. Winds peaked to 131 mph
        at the National center for atmospheric research. This is
        thought to be the highest wind gust ever recorded in Boulder
        during September. A wind gust to 118 mph was clocked on
        Davidson Mesa and to 92 mph near Niwot. Gusts of 70 to 80
        mph were common over all of Boulder where an estimated 70
        to 90 large trees were uprooted. About a dozen of them hit
        cars. Two walls of a building under construction were
        toppled and solar panels were blown off a house. Traffic
        lights and power lines were downed. Damage to power
        equipment alone was estimated at 100 thousand dollars.
        Wind gusts to 87 mph at Jefferson County Airport damaged
        two planes. A woman was seriously injured in Boulder.
        She suffered a fractured skull when struck by a falling
        tree limb. Trees were also downed in Louisville and
        Lafayette. West wind gusts to 45 mph were recorded at
        Stapleton International Airport.
25 in 1873... a fire was sighted in the Woods near Platte Canyon...
        probably caused by high winds blowing Sparks among the
      In 1896... an apparent cold front produced northeast sustained
        winds to 40 mph with gusts to 48 mph.
      In 1910... a thunderstorm produced sustained north winds to
        51 mph. This was the highest recorded wind speed in the
        city in September at the time.
      In 1936... a vigorous cold front produced a deadly dust storm
        in the city. North winds sustained to 36 mph with gusts
        to 38 mph produced much blowing dense dust... greatly
        restricting the visibility. The temperature plunged from
        a high of 84 degrees to a low of 38 degrees by midnight.
        The weather observer described the event with the following.
        "At 6:00 PM the temperature was 82 degrees and the wind
        velocity was only 4 mph; but with the wind shifting to the
        north and the barometer rising quite rapidly... the temperature
        fell sharply. By 6:30 PM... the wind velocity increased
        rapidly and by 7:00 PM had reached a maximum sustained
        velocity of 36 mph... bringing with it clouds of dust which
        had been picked up by gale force winds in southern Wyoming
        and northern Colorado... covering the city. The visibility
        was generally reduced to about 1/4 mile; however... the
        whirling of the dust down the streets and alleys... the
        visibility was at times somewhat less. Airplanes were
        grounded... traffic was halted at times... and homes filled
        with dust. The strong winds damaged electric power and
        telephone lines... leaving homes in darkness for a few hours
        in the city and for 18 hours in suburban towns and putting
        2500 telephones out of service because of broken lines. An
        electric lineman was killed while repairing damage by the
        high winds. The dust storm was followed by rain that began
        falling at 10:55 PM... which turned to snow during the early
        morning hours of the 26th. A major snow storm followed on
        the 27th through the 29th."
      In 1999... high winds developed in the foothills of Boulder
        County. Winds gusted to 90 mph at Wondervu.
25-26 in 1908... apparent Post-frontal rain changed to snow overnight
        and totaled 6.5 inches in downtown Denver. This was the
        first snow of the season. Precipitation totaled 0.76 inch.
        North winds were sustained to 39 mph on the 25th.
25-27 in 1996... an early season snowstorm brought heavy snow
        to the Front Range eastern foothills. Snowfall totals
        included: 8 to 12 inches around Conifer... 7 inches on
        Floyd hill... and 6 inches at both Bailey and chief hosa.
        Snowfall totaled only 4.7 inches at the site of the
        former Stapleton International Airport. This was the
        first measurable snow of the season. After the passage
        of a strong cold front... north winds gusted to 38 mph at
        Denver International Airport on the 25th.
26 in 1907... a late afternoon thunderstorm produced hail... 0.23
        inch of precipitation... and north winds sustained to 24 mph.
      In 1927... snowfall of 1.7 inches... mixed at times with sleet...
        was the first measurable snowfall of the season.
      In 2012... a man was seriously injured when he was struck by
        lightning outside the hebrew educational Alliance as he
        and his family were getting in their car. The victim
        stopped breathing but was saved when his wife performed
        cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him immediately
        following the lightning strike. He suffered Burns to 15
        percent of his body which included his legs... chest...
        abdomen and neck. Lightning also caused 48 outages in
        Denver which affected 6582 xcel energy customers.
26-28 in 1936... the heaviest snowfall ever recorded in September
        and the heaviest snowfall ever recorded so early in the
        season dumped a total of 16.5 inches of snow on downtown
        Denver and 21.3 inches at Denver Municipal Airport. The
        15.0 inches of snow measured from 6:00 PM on the 27th to
        6:00 PM on the 28th is the greatest 24 hour snowfall ever
        recorded in September. This was the first snow of the
        season. The snow was intermittent through the 26th... but
        continuous from early afternoon on the 27th to around
        midnight on the 28th... except for a period of rain during
        the afternoon of the 28th which contributed to a loss of
        depth on the ground. The greatest snow depth on the ground
        downtown was 13 inches with 8 inches at Denver Municipal
        Airport. There were no high winds with the storm and
        traffic was interrupted for only a short period. The
        storm produced property damage estimated at 7 million
        dollars. With trees and shrubs in full foliage... the leaves
        caught and held the heavy water-laden snow... until the
        branches snapped from the weight. More than 3000 workmen
        were called to remove the debris and snow from the city. The
        city firemen who were off duty... as well as all the reserves...
        were asked to report to their stations. All schools in the
        city remained open... but attendance was only 50 percent of
        normal. Grade school students were sent home at noon on the
        28th. The early storm caught stockmen with many cattle still
        in higher ranges. Warm weather followed the snow... which had
        all melted by the end of the month... except for a few inches
        in sheltered places.
27 in 1877... smoke from heavy Forest fires in the mountains
        spread over the city on upper wind currents.
      In 1935... the first snow of the season was 2.8 inches in
        downtown Denver. The low temperature dipped to 31
        degrees for the first freeze of the season.
27-28 in 1984... heavy snow fell over the plains and foothills.
        Snowfall amounts ranged from 2 to 5 inches on the plains
        with up to a foot at higher elevations in the foothills.
        The main problem caused by the storm was thousands of
        power outages caused by snow-laden tree limbs snapping and
        falling onto power lines. Over 15 thousand homes lost
        power in Metro Denver. Some cars were damaged by falling
        trees and limbs. The snow also caused some flight delays
        at Stapleton International Airport where 5.1 inches of
        snow fell and northeast winds gusted to 29 mph. Maximum
        snow depth on the ground was 3 inches due to melting. The
        high temperature of only 34 degrees on the 28th was a
        record low maximum for the date and equaled the all-time
        record for the month at that time.

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