Current Watches and Warnings
Colorado, Phillips County
Public Information Statement
Statement as of 2:59 AM MST on December 20, 2014
... 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.
18-21 in 2010... a winter storm produced a 4-day period of moderate to
heavy snow in the mountains. The combination of strong wind
and heavy snow forced the closure of several mountain passes
due to the threat of avalanches. The amtrack train Route...
which runs from Denver to California... was rerouted through
Wyoming when Union Pacific closed its tracks along
Interstate 70. Numerous accidents forced the closure of
I-70 at times. The wind gusted to 60 mph over the higher
mountain passes. Storm totals in the ski areas west of
Denver ranged from 16 to 32 inches.
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.
19-20 in 1982... high winds buffeted the eastern foothills. At
midday on the 19th... gusts of 75 to 80 mph were recorded in
The Table Mesa area of Boulder. A gust to 62 mph was
clocked in Boulder on the evening of the 20th.
In 1989... strong winds howled at mountain top level in Clear
Creek and Gilpin counties. Speeds reached 97 mph on The
Summit of Squaw Mountain and 84 mph one mile south of
Rollinsville. Northwest winds gusted 35 mph at Stapleton
International Airport on the 20th.
19-23 in 1990... a surge of very cold Arctic air invaded Metro
Denver. Many temperature records were broken as the
Mercury remained at or below zero for 85.5 hours at
Stapleton International Airport... making it the third
longest period of subzero readings in 118 years of record
keeping. On the morning of the 22nd... the Mercury plunged
to 25 degrees below zero... which equaled the all time record
low temperature for the month set on December 24... 1876.
In the foothills southwest of Denver at Tiny Town... the
Mercury plunged to 33 degrees below zero on the morning
of the 21st. On the same morning at Castle Rock the
temperature dipped to 26 degrees below zero. During
the period... other daily temperature records were set at
Denver... including: record low maximum of 3 degrees below
zero on the 20th and a record low of 17 degrees below zero
on the 23rd. The record low was equaled with 16 degrees
below zero on the 20th and 21 degrees below zero on the
21st. Snowfall totaled 2.7 inches at Stapleton
International Airport from the 19th through the 21st.
20 in 1894... southwest winds were sustained to 40 mph with
gusts to 48 mph. The Chinook winds warmed the
temperature to a maximum of 69 degrees... which was a
record high temperature for the date. The minimum
temperature dipped to only 33 degrees.
In 1903... northwest Chinook winds sustained to 54 mph with
gusts to 60 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 58
In 1948... strong winds occurred along the eastern foothills
from Boulder north. Wind gusts to 45 mph were recorded at
Valmont with a gust to 30 mph at Boulder Airport. Some
damage occurred. Wind gusts to 50 mph caused some blowing
dust at Stapleton Airport.
In 1957... strong Chinook winds... gusting to 51 mph from the
northwest... warmed the afternoon temperature to a high of
In 1981 high winds were reported in the foothills with a
peak gust of 87 mph recorded at Wondervu.
In 1992... strong Chinook winds raked the eastern foothills
with 69 mph recorded at Table Mesa in south Boulder.
Southwest winds gusted to only 21 mph at Stapleton
In 1996... five construction workers were injured... two
seriously... when a sudden wind gust blew over a 30-foot-
high retaining wall they were working on in western
Lakewood. The scaffolding they were standing on
collapsed... and some were pinned under the rubble for
15 minutes. Wind gusts of 60 to 75 mph were reported
in the area. Southwest winds gusted to only 24 mph
at Denver International Airport.
In 2004... strong downslope winds developed over the eastern
mountain slopes and spread over Metro Denver. Peak wind
gusts approached 100 mph along the foothills of Boulder
County. In Superior... a 1200-square-foot section of roof
was peeled off the gymnasium at Monarch High School.
Two semi-trailers were toppled on Colorado Highway 58
at McIntyre street and another at c-470 and west Bowles
Avenue. Two airplanes were damaged by wind-blown debris
at Jefferson County Airport. The high winds forced the
closure of State Highway 93 between Golden and Boulder
for approximately two hours. Insurance agents estimated
650 to 850 homes suffered wind damage in the Boulder and
Louisville areas. In addition... downed trees and power
lines left about 1000 residents... mainly in the Boulder
area... without electricity. At least three people
suffered minor injuries in the Storm. Peak wind reports
included: 95 mph in Superior... 92 mph at Jefferson County
Airport... 85 mph in Golden... 81 mph in Boulder... 80 mph in
Broomfield and Evergreen... and 79 mph in Louisville. West
northwest winds gusted to 59 mph at Denver International
20-21 in 1969... high winds caused widespread... but mostly minor
damage to roofs... windows... and power lines and overturned
some house trailers in areas along and just east of the
foothills. Wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph were reported in
Boulder and south of Boulder at Rocky Flats. A wind gust
to 115 mph was measured in Boulder at the National center
for atmospheric research. At Stapleton International
Airport... west winds gusted to 44 mph on the 20th and
to 45 mph on the 21st. The warm Chinook winds warmed
the high temperature to 56 degrees on the 20th and
to 65 degrees on the 21st.
In 2006... a major blizzard buried greater Metro Denver and
the adjacent foothills in deep snow. A slow moving upper
level low pressure center produced deep moist upslope flow
over the High Plains and against the eastern slopes of
the mountains... allowing heavy snowfall to persist for
34 hours across Metro Denver. Total snow accumulations
ranged from 1 to 2 1/2 feet across the city and from 2 to
nearly 4 feet in the foothills. Adding to the misery...
strong north winds sustained at 20 to 35 mph with gusts
from 45 to nearly 60 mph produced much blowing snow and
piled the snow into drifts from 6 to 12 feet high... closing
businesses and bringing all transportation to a halt. The
storm forced the closure of Denver International Airport
for a total of 45 hours which snarled the nation's air
traffic system. This was the longest closure in the
airport's 12 year history. The closure stranded nearly
5000 travelers when 2000 flights were canceled. Many
inbound flights were diverted to other airports... stranding
even more passengers. Many of the stranded travelers
failed to reach their final destinations until days after
the Airport re-opened due to fully booked flights during
the Holiday season. Police and National guardsmen rescued
hundreds of commuters stuck in their cars... and sent them to
temporary shelters set up by the Red Cross. All interstates
and other major highways in and out of Denver were closed.
Greyhound was forced to cancel all bus trips from Denver.
Mail delivery was suspended. The regional transportation
district suspended all Metro Denver bus service for the
first time since the March 2003 blizzard. The roof of a
discount store in Aurora collapsed under the weight of the
heavy snow. In Lakewood... a power outage left 5600 residents
without electricity for a brief time. Metro Denver snowfall
amounts included: 34 inches 10 miles southeast of Buckley
AFB... 32 inches in Littleton... 30 inches in Thornton and near
Castle Rock... 29.5 inches near Parker... 28 inches in Wheat
Ridge... 25.5 inches at Centennial Airport... 25 inches at
Niwot... 24 inches in Aurora... 22.5 inches at Greenwood Village...
22 inches in Arvada... 21.5 inches in Lakewood... 20 inches in
Longmont... and 15.5 inches in Boulder. Snowfall measured 20.7
inches officially in the Denver Stapleton area. This ranked
the snowfall as the 7th greatest in the city since 1946.
North winds were sustained to 37 mph with gusts to 55 mph at
Denver International Airport. In the foothills snowfall
totaled: 42 inches at Conifer and 11 miles southwest of
Boulder... 40 inches at Evergreen... 39 inches at Aspen Springs...
37.5 inches 8 miles north of Blackhawk... 33 inches near
Nederland... 31 inches at intercanyon and near Tiny Town... 30.5
inches atop BUckhorn Mountain... 30 inches near Indian HIlls...
29 inches at Rollinsville... 24 inches near Gross Reservoir
and Ralston Reservoir... 22.4 inches atop Crow Hill... and 20
inches near Georgetown. Snowpacked and rutted streets
and parking lots persisted for a month or more after the
storm and subsequent storms. The heavy snowfall created a
snow removal controversy when many citizens complained that
residential streets were not cleared in a timely manner in
the city and in some suburban areas. This was in spite of
the fact that tens of millions of dollars were spent on snow
removal. In the city of Denver... snow cover of an inch or
more from this storm and subsequent storms persisted for 61
consecutive days... through February 19... 2007. This is the
second longest period of snow cover on record in the city.
Many homeowners who had extensive Christmas lights and
decorations in their yards were not able to remove the
lights because the wires were buried in deep snow and ice
until the end of February or later.
20-22 in 1933... strong downslope winds produced a warm spell.
Low temperatures of 43 degrees on both the 20th and 21st
and 41 degrees on the 22nd were record high minimums for
those dates. High temperature of 67 degrees on the 21st
was a record maximum for the date. High temperatures of
56 degrees on the 20th and 69 degrees on the 22nd were
not records; however... the 69 degrees was the warmest of
the month. West to northwest winds were sustained to
20 and 24 mph on the 21st and 22nd respectively.
20-23 in 1918... light snowfall on each day totaled 12.0 inches
over downtown Denver. Northeast winds were sustained
to 16 mph on the 21st.
20-25 in 1983... an 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.
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