We continue to see that the first part of February has historically been eventful time period in Denver weather history. Of note is a cold weather front that moved through the area 11 years ago today dropping the temperature 21 degrees in 30 minutes! Dangerous wind shear caused flights into DIA to be diverted to Colorado Springs, a roof was blown off in Montbello and more.
From the National Weather Service:
From the 31st to the 12th:
In 1899…a protracted cold spell lasted almost two weeks. Low temperatures plunged below zero on all days but February 9th with a reading of 6 degrees. The coldest low temperature of 22 degrees below zero on February 6th was a record low for the date. Low temperatures of 20 degrees below zero occurred on both February 11th and 12th… But only the 11th remains as the record minimum for the date. High temperature of only 5 degrees below zero on February 11th was a record low maximum for the date. High temperatures climbed to only zero degrees on both February 2nd and 3rd…but were not records. Intermittent light snow or flurries fell during the period. The most snowfall…2.0 inches…occurred on February 2nd.
From the 6th to the 10th:
In 1933…3:00 pm on the 6th marked the start of a protracted cold period through 8:00 am on the 10th when the temperature was below zero for 86 out of 88 hours. The cold period was interrupted on the 8th at 9:00 am when the temperature was 1 degree above zero and at 10:00 am when the temperature was 8 degrees above zero. Four temperature records were set. High temperatures of 4 degrees below zero on the 7th…8 degrees on the 8th…and 5 degrees below zero on the 9th were record low maximums for those dates. The only record low temperature record was 14 degrees below zero on the 10th. The lowest temperature reached during the period was 16 degrees below zero on both the 7th and 8th…which were not records.
From the 9th to the 10th:
In 1934…rain changed to heavy snow on the afternoon of the 9th and continued through the day on the 10th. Snowfall totaled 7.4 inches in downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 24 mph on the 10th.
In 1972…heavy post-frontal snowfall totaled 6.2 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 46 mph on the 9th. Temperatures plunged from a high of 51 degrees on the 9th to a low of 16 on the morning of the 10th.
In 1981…the season’s coldest arctic air mass rolled into metro Denver plunging temperatures from 10 below to 20 degrees below zero. Bitter north winds gusting as high as 36 mph sent wind chill temperatures to 50 below zero. Two to four inches of snow fell over metro Denver with 6 to 12 inches in the foothills. A Boulder man died of hypothermia while cross country skiing in the mountains west of the city. Snowfall totaled only 1.5 inches at Stapleton International Airport where the minimum temperature on the morning of the 10th was 5 degrees below zero. The temperature that day warmed to to a high of only 9 degrees.
In 2003…high winds occurred in and near the eastern foothills. The highest wind gusts recorded: Included 80 mph atop Fritz Peak and 73 mph atop Blue Mountain and at the national wind technology center on rocky flats south of Boulder. At least 4 multi-car accidents occurred along state highway 93…between golden and Boulder when blowing snow caused whiteout conditions. Northwest winds gusted to 36 mph at Denver International Airport on the 10th.
From the 9th to the 11th:
In 1965…heavy snowfall totaled 6.2 inches at Stapleton International airport where northeast winds gusted to 25 mph.
In 1993…the same storm that dumped heavy snow in the mountains combined with an arctic cold front to produce heavy snow across metro Denver. Upslope snows of 4 to 8 inches were common with some areas receiving nearly a foot. Ten inches of new snow were measured in parker and 7 inches in southeast Denver. At Stapleton International Airport… Snowfall totaled 8.1 inches. Strong winds combined with the snowfall to produce near-blizzard conditions over the plains closing many roads east of Denver. North winds gusted to only 18 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 9th.
On the 10th:
In 1890…north winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph behind an apparent cold front. Light snow also fell.
In 1932…a large cumulo-nimbus thunderhead was observed in the eastern sky at 4:00 pm. Thunderstorms are relatively rare in february.
In 1990…northwest winds gusted to 52 mph at Stapleton International airport. The strong chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 56 degrees.
In 1999…a vigorous cold front moved a wall of blowing dust across the plains of northeastern Colorado during the afternoon and early evening hours. While the strongest winds and wind damage were north and east of metro Denver… North to northeast winds did gust to 48 mph at Denver International airport…reducing the visibility to as low as 3/4 mile in blowing dust. The temperature dropped as much as 15 degrees in 5 minutes and 21 degrees in 30 minutes following the passage of the cold front. Dangerous wind shear conditions at DIA delayed several flights…while others were redirected to Colorado Springs. In the Montbello area of northeast Denver…the strong winds blew the roof off a building. Downed power lines sparked a small brush fire…which burned about 10 acres near the former Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center.
From the 10th to the 11th:
In 1971…a wind gust to 80 mph was recorded in Boulder at the national center for atmospheric research. A wind gust to 69 mph was measured at the national bureau of standards. In downtown Boulder wind gusts to 43 mph were clocked. No damage was reported. North to northwest winds gusted to 39 mph on the 10th and to 41 mph on the 11th at Stapleton International Airport.
In 1999…heavy snow developed over sections of metro Denver during the evening hours. Snowfall totals included: 6 inches at Eaglecrest…6.5 inches at Highlands Ranch…and 8.5 inches about 5 miles south of Sedalia. Only 1.0 inch of snow fell at the site of the former Stapleton International airport. Strong winds and snow caused near blizzard conditions north of metro Denver.
From the 10th to the 12th:
In 1958…heavy snow fell across metro Denver. At Stapleton Airport…where northeast winds gusted to 22 mph…6.7 inches of snowfall were measured.
In 1995…cold arctic air brought heavy snow to the foothills and western Denver suburbs. Golden measured 15 inches of snow with 14 inches in south Boulder. Locations in the foothills recorded between 10 and 15 inches of snow. Only 6.1 inches of snow fell at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 30 mph on the 10th.
From the 10th to the 13th:
In 1905…an extremely cold arctic air mass moved over the city behind a cold front on the 10th and persisted through the morning of the 13th. North winds were sustained to 25 mph behind the front on the 10th dropping the temperature to a low of 2 degrees below zero…which was also the high reading on the 11th. Light snowfall totaled 3.0 inches overnight of the 10th into the 11th. The low temperature plunged to 19 degrees below zero on the 11th. Records were set on the 12th and 13th. The high temperature of only zero degrees on the 12th was a record low maximum for the date. The low readings of 21 degrees below zero on the 12th and 14 degrees below zero on the 13th were record minimum temperatures for those dates.
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