The month of November is historically Denver’s second snowiest month and our look back at this week in Denver weather history supports that fact. In addition to heavy snowfall events, powerful winds are common and we have even seen thunderstorms.
It was in 1946 from the 2nd to the 5th of the month that a truly historical snowstorm pummeled the Mile High City. A whopping 30.4 inches fell in downtown Denver over the period. Snow fell continuously for 70 hours and 46 minutes, the second longest continuous period of precipitation on record. Road travel across the area came to a standstill and some roads were blocked for weeks.
From November 8th to the 10th, 1985 a powerful storm quickly dropped temperatures. On the 8th a high temperature of 66 degrees was recorded but followed by a low of 13 degrees on the 9th. The high temperature on the 10th only reached 19 degrees, the record low maximum for the date. Stapleton International Airport recorded 7.1 inches of snow over the period.
High winds struck on November 9, 1989 with gusts to 97mph recorded in the foothills west of Denver. In Boulder a house under construction was blown down and in Nederland the winds resulted in a power outage.
Thunderstorms this time of year are unusual but they can occur. On November 5, 1919 rain and snow from the thunderstorm hit the city. More recently, on November 3, 1996 a thunderstorm dropped a quick 0.10 inch of rain.
Scroll down for more details on these and other historical Denver weather events from this week in history. For the latest on Denver's weather, be sure to 'Like' us on Facebook, add us to your circles on Google+ and follow us on Twitter.
From the National Weather Service:
In 1974…heavy snowfall totaled 6.1 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 23 mph on the 3rd. Most of the snow fell on the 3rd. Maximum snow depth on the ground was 5 inches.
In 1990…a winter storm dumped 3 to 8 inches of heavy wet snow across metro Denver. In the foothills snow amounts ranged from 4 to 10 inches. Slushy snow and ice-covered roads snarled traffic. The snow…ice…and poor visibilities were blamed for numerous traffic accidents. Low clouds… Fog…and snow delayed air traffic at Stapleton International Airport for at least 90 minutes on the afternoon of the 2nd. Snowfall totaled 5.4 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 21 mph.
In 1946…a major snow storm dumped 30.4 inches of heavy snowfall downtown and 31.0 inches at Stapleton Airport. The winter storm closed schools and disrupted all forms of transportation in the city. The greatest depth of snow on the ground was 28 inches at the airport. The duration of the snowfall…from 4:22 am on the 2nd to 3:08 am on the 5th… A total of 70 hours and 46 minutes…is the second longest period of continuous precipitation on record and the second heaviest snowfall of record at the time in Denver. The 17.7 inches of snowfall on the 2nd and 3rd was the greatest 24- hour snowfall ever recorded during the month of November. Buses and street cars had a difficult time…and many cars were abandoned along roadsides and streets for several days. Secondary roads in rural areas were blocked for 2 to 3 weeks. Several buildings in the city collapsed or were damaged from the weight of the heavy snow. Football games were canceled. Livestock losses were high over eastern Colorado. The precipitation from this storm alone exceeded the greatest amount ever recorded in Denver during the entire month of November previously. The precipitation recorded downtown was 2.03 inches…and the previous record for the entire month of November was 1.95 inches in 1922. North winds were sustained to 26 mph on the 2nd.
In 1940…the longest period without snow…200 days…ended on this date with the first snow of the season…a trace…on November 4…1940. The last snow of the previous season… Also a trace…occurred on April 17…1940.
In 1959…a rare thunderstorm in November occurred around sunrise. Rainfall measured only 0.02 inch at Stapleton Airport.
In 1993…periodic high winds buffeted the foothills west of Denver. Wind gusts to 90 mph were recorded at Rollinsville in the foothills southwest of Boulder…while gusts to 85 mph were observed atop Squaw Mountain near Idaho Springs. West winds gusted to 37 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1996…a rare November thunderstorm during the early evening produced 0.10 inch of rain at Denver International Airport and only 0.06 inch of rain at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.
In 2005…strong winds developed over the urban corridor. While the damaging winds were in the Fort Collins area… High winds also developed to the south of Denver in Douglas County. Peak wind reports included 70 mph at Franktown…65 mph in Castle Rock…and 61 mph in Sedalia. West winds gusting as high as 47 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 69 degrees at Denver International Airport. Winds were strong and gusty for most of the daytime hours across metro Denver.
In 1994…a fast moving snow storm dumped 8 to 9 inches of snow on Boulder…Broomfield…and Lafayette. Snowfall totaled only 1.8 inches at Stapleton International Airport where on the 3rd east winds gusted to 20 mph and some freezing drizzle fell.
In 1940…a trace of snow fell in downtown Denver. This marked the start of the shortest snow season on record… 167 days…through April 19…1941…when 0.4 inch of snow fell.
In 1959…high winds caused damage in many areas of the eastern plains. In Denver…winds averaged 40 mph with gusts to 70 mph. Some damage was reported to utility lines…signs…and vehicles. Northeast winds were sustained to 30 mph at Stapleton Airport.
In 1933…the first measurable snow of the season totaled only 2.5 inches. This was the only measurable snow of the month. Northwest winds were sustained to 27 mph on the 4th.
In 1951…heavy snowfall of 5.7 inches was measured at Stapleton Airport where northwest winds gusted to 32 mph.
In 1896…west Chinook winds sustained to 44 mph with gusts to 46 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 56 degrees in the city.
In 1919…a rare November thunderstorm produced a mixture of rain and snow during the evening. Precipitation totaled only 0.14 inch with only a trace of snow. Northeast winds were sustained to 39 mph with gusts to 44 mph.
In 1948…a west-northwest wind gust to 50 mph was recorded at Stapleton Airport.
In 1994…winds gusted to 76 mph on the summit of Squaw Mountain…5 miles south of Idaho Springs.
In 2000…snow fell in the foothills west of Denver and across the southern suburbs. Snow totals included 6 inches near Evergreen…11 miles southwest of Morrison… And 7 miles south of tiny town and 5 inches in Aurora and Parker. Snowfall totaled 5.5 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. Northeast winds gusted to 26 mph at Denver International Airport where the visibility was reduced to 1/4 mile in heavy snow at times.
In 1938…heavy snowfall totaled 7.5 inches over downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 16 mph with gusts to 19 mph on the 5th.
In 1918…rain was mixed with and changed to snow…which became heavy and totaled 8.1 inches in downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 21 mph with gusts to 23 mph.
In 1962…west winds gusted to 55 mph…briefly reducing the visibility to 1 1/2 miles in blowing dust at Stapleton Airport. The strong winds blew all day.
In 1989…high winds to 62 mph were recorded in Boulder. Northwest winds gusted to 33 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1991…strong westerly Chinook winds blew into metro Denver with gusts to 88 mph recorded at Rollinsville and to 51 mph in Boulder. Later…northeast winds with gusts of 30 to 40 mph were common across all of metro Denver behind a cold front…which produced only 0.2 inch of snowfall at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1958…a strong cold front produced northeast wind gusts to 52 mph at Stapleton Airport where some blowing dust was observed.
In 1980…Chinook winds at sustained speeds of 40 mph were recorded with a peak gust to 71 mph measured at Wondervu southwest of Boulder. West winds gusted to 25 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1989…strong winds buffeted many foothills areas. Wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph were recorded in Boulder and Longmont. Northwest winds gusted to 43 mph at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1996…wind gusts to 75 mph were recorded at Golden Gate Canyon and at the Rocky Flats Environmental Test Facility northwest of Denver. Northwest winds gusted to 40 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 1998…upslope conditions…coupled with a moist and unstable air mass…allowed heavy snow to develop in the foothills west of Denver. Snowfall generally ranged from 4 to 6 inches…but 7 inches were measured 4 miles south of Evergreen. Only 1.2 inches of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. This was the first measurable snow of the season.
In 1969…wind gusts to 48 mph in downtown Boulder caused minor damage.
In 1896…southwest Chinook winds sustained to 42 mph with gusts as high as 46 mph warmed the temperature to a high of 53 degrees.
In 1977 near-blizzard conditions in blowing snow caused the closure of I-70 to the west of Denver in clear creek canyon and east of Denver to limon. Northeast wind gusts to 46 mph were recorded at Stapleton International Airport where snowfall totaled only 1.1 inches.
In 1984…a rare November thunderstorm produced west winds gusting to 31 mph…but only 0.04 inch of rain at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1996…high winds gusting from 80 to 100 mph were recorded at Wondervu in the foothills southwest of Boulder. West northwest winds gusted to 32 mph at Denver International Airport.
In 2006…the temperature in Denver climbed to a high of 80 degrees. This was the first time the temperature had ever exceeded the 70′s in November since records began in 1872. This new all-time record maximum temperature for the month of November was also a new daily record and the highest temperature ever recorded so late in the season.
In 1897…west winds were sustained to 45 mph with gusts as high as 50 mph in the city.
In 1919…post-frontal heavy snowfall totaled 8.4 inches over downtown Denver. Most of the snow…6.6 inches…fell on the 9th. North winds were sustained to 26 mph with gusts to 30 mph on the 8th.
In 1950…a major winter storm dumped 10.4 inches of snow at Stapleton Airport with the most snow…7.8 inches…falling on the 8th. East winds gusted to 31 mph at Stapleton Airport on the 8th. Snowfall totaled 8.2 inches in downtown Denver.
In 1958…strong winds caused some damage in Boulder. West- northwest winds gusted to 40 mph at Stapleton Airport on the 8th.
In 1975…heavy snowfall hit metro Denver. Snowfall at Stapleton International Airport totaled 8.0 inches and east winds gusted to 21 mph. Power outages caused by the storm affected over 10 thousand people in metro Denver. In the foothills west of Denver…10 to 15 inches of snow fell. The storm produced the greatest 24-hour precipitation…1.29 inches…ever recorded during the month of November in the city.
In 1983…metro Denver received 4 to 8 inches of snow with the heaviest amounts near the foothills. It was the first measurable snow of the season in Denver. Only 1.8 inches of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 20 mph.
In 1989…strong winds hit the Front Range. On the 9th…the wooden frame of a house under construction in Boulder was blown down. The previous evening a power outage blackened Nederland. Wind gusts to 95 mph were recorded 4 miles south of Rollinsville with 97 mph on Fritz Peak near that town. At Stapleton International Airport…northwest winds gusted to 45 mph on the 8th and to 38 mph on the 9th.
In 1998…another upslope snow event developed in the Front Range foothills. The heaviest snowfall occurred in west central Jefferson County where 14 inches were measured 8 miles west of Conifer. Other snowfall totals included: 10 inches at Evergreen and 9 miles northwest of Bergen Park; 9 inches at Genesee…Nederland…and near the Chief Hosa exit on I-70; and 8 inches in Coal Creek Canyon. On the 9th…snowfall was 2.6 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. North-northeast winds gusted to 30 mph at Denver International Airport on the 9th.
In 1985…Indian summer came to an abrupt end when a winter storm dumped 10 to 18 inches of snow in the Front Range foothills and 6 to 10 inches across metro Denver…snarling traffic and causing flight delays of up to 3 hours at Stapleton International Airport. The temperature plunged from a high of 66 degrees on the 8th to a low of only 13 degrees on the 9th…after the passage of a vigorous cold front with northeast winds gusting to 32 mph. The temperature climbed to only 19 degrees on the 10th…setting a record low maximum for the date. Snowfall totaled 7.3 inches at Stapleton International Airport with most of the snow…7.1 inches…falling on the 9th.
In 1939…a trace of snow fell over downtown Denver. This snow…along with a trace of snow on the 2nd…was the only snow of the month…ranking it…along with other months…the second least snowiest November on record. Precipitation of 0.01 inch was the only precipitation of the month…making this the second driest November on record.
In 1944…the first killing frost of the season occurred in the city when the low temperature dipped to 35 degrees. This is the latest date for a killing frost ever recorded in Denver.
In 1946…heavy snowfall totaled 7.7 inches over downtown Denver. This was the second heavy snowfall in less than a week. Northwest winds were sustained to 26 mph.
In 1995…strong downslope winds gusted between 50 and 57 mph at Erie and Boulder. West wind gusts to 44 mph were recorded at Denver International Airport.