A number of big snowstorms mark a look back at November 21st on the Denver weather calendar. The most notable storm occurred 31 years ago and dumped more than 17 inches of snow on the Mile High City.
From the 19th to the 21st:
In 1979…a heavy snowstorm buried most of Colorado under at least a foot of snow. Snowfall at Stapleton International Airport totaled 17.7 inches…the greatest snow depth since 1946. Winds to 60 mph produced 5-foot drifts paralyzing the city as temperatures hovered in the 20’s. While small airports closed…Stapleton remained open…but with long delays that snarled Thanksgiving holiday traffic. Schools and businesses closed and postal deliveries were delayed. Almost all major highways leading out of Denver were closed to traffic for periods of time on the 20th and 21st. Most of the snow…13.5 inches…fell on the 20th. At Stapleton International Airport…north winds gusted to 35 mph on the 20th and to 38 mph on the 21st.
From the 20th to the 21st:
In 1898…snowfall totaled 4.0 inches in downtown Denver. Northeast winds were sustained to 48 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph behind an apparent cold front on the 20th… When temperatures plunged from a high of 66 degrees to a low of 9 degrees. On the 21st the high was only 24 degrees and the low was 2 degrees.
In 1970…a wind gust to 94 mph was recorded at Gold Hill in the foothills west of Boulder. Strong winds also swept across metro Denver. Wind gusts reached 59 mph in downtown boulder…while at Stapleton International Airport west- northwest winds gusted to 43 mph on the 21st. Damage was minor.
In 1992…a large Canadian air mass moved into the state at the same time an upper level storm system approached from the west. The combination of cold air at the surface and very moist air aloft produced heavy snow across the entire state. Snowfall totaled 6.3 inches at Stapleton International Airport…where north winds gusted to 23 mph on the 20th. Snow was heavier in the foothills…with 14 inches at Wondervu…13 inches at Aspen Springs…Conifer… Boulder…and Gross Reservoir…8 inches at Rollinsville… And 10 inches at Golden Gate Canyon and Morrison.
On the 21st:
In 1891…northwest winds were sustained to 50 mph with gusts to 60 mph.
In 1899…a trace of snow fell in the city. This…together with a trace of precipitation on the 16th and 23rd…was the only precipitation of the month…making the month the driest on record. The record was equaled in November of 1901 and 1949. This trace of snow along with a trace of snow on the 23rd was the only snow of the month…ranking the month the 2nd least snowiest on record. This record was equaled in November of 1884…1901…1905…1917…and 1939.
In 1900…west winds were sustained to 46 mph with gusts to 54 mph. The Chinook winds warmed the temperature to a high of 64 degrees.
In 1934…the latest date for the first measurable snow of the season occurred. This was not the first snow of the season… Because traces of snow had fallen earlier in September. Snowfall totaled only 1.0 inch over downtown Denver.
In 1962…strong west-northwest Chinook winds gusted to 53 mph at Stapleton Airport.
In 1998…an intense mountain wave allowed for high winds to develop in the foothills of Boulder County. Wind gusts as high as 77 mph were measured 3 miles east- northeast of Nederland.
In 1905…a trace of snow fell on both days in downtown Denver. This was the only snow of the month…ranking the month along with other Novembers…the 2nd least snowiest on record.
In 1999…the first significant snowfall of the season struck metro Denver. Snowfall totals included: 16 inches near bailey; 13 inches near Evergreen; 12 inches at North Turkey Creek…Genesee…near Morrison…and near Sedalia; 11 inches near Conifer and in Evergreen; 10 inches in Louisville; 9 inches in Brighton…Broomfield…and Denver; and 8 inches at Arvada…Castle Rock…and Eldorado Springs. Snowfall totaled 8.4 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.
In 2003…heavy snow fell in and near the foothills of Boulder County. Snowfall totaled 10.5 inches in Eldorado Springs. Across the city…snowfall was lighter with 2.8 inches measured at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport on the 22nd. North winds gusted to 32 mph at Denver International Airport on the 22nd.
From the 21st to the 23rd:
In 1918…post-frontal snowfall totaled 5.9 inches in downtown Denver. Most of the snow…5.3 inches…fell on the 22nd. North winds were sustained to 20 mph on the 21st.
In 1931…a major storm dumped a total of 13.2 inches of snowfall over downtown Denver. Most of the snow…11.4 inches…fell on the 21st. A very cold air mass settled over the city after the heavy snow on the 21st. After a low temperature of zero…the temperature climbed to a high of only 5 degrees on the 22nd…a record low maximum for the date.
From the 21st to the 25th:
In 1952…snowfall of 6.2 inches was measured at Stapleton Airport where northeast winds gusted to 17 mph on the 21st.
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