Thornton, Colorado, USA
UpdatedThu, 21-Mar-2019 1:40pm MDT 


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Thornton’s first full day of spring to offer mild temps, calm conditions

Thursday, March 21st, 2019 5:19am MDT

Winter went out like a lamb yesterday and today spring looks to offer much of the same. We will enjoy a day with temperatures a bit above normal and a good dose of sun.

Clear skies start us off but increasing moisture aloft will see a gradual increase in cloud cover however it won’t become too intrusive. Winds will be light and out of the southwest initially then shift to come from the southeast and become a bit breezy in the mid-afternoon. Temperatures start out chilly then will warm up nicely to a high right near the 60 degree mark.

Tonight, skies will be mostly cloudy with overnight lows near the freezing mark.

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March 17 to March 23: This Week in Denver Weather History

Thursday, March 21st, 2019 2:58am MDT
This week in Denver weather history

March 17 to March 23: This Week in Denver Weather History

March weather can be gorgeous but it can also be nasty with a healthy dose of any of the four seasons. Our look back at this week highlights this with a number of notable weather events from powerful, damaging winds to landspout tornadoes and of course monstrous snow storms.

From the National Weather Service:


In 1906…an extended cold and blustery period occurred with light snow totaling 14.4 inches over 11 consecutive days. The greatest amount of snow on a single day was 4.0 inches on the 15th. Only a trace of snow fell on the 12th and 17th. High temperatures were below freezing for the entire period. The coldest were 14 degrees on the 16th and 18 degrees on the 17th. Both readings were record low maximums for the dates. Low temperatures were mostly in the single digits. The coldest were 2 degrees below zero on the 16th and 5 degrees below zero on the 19th. Northeast winds were sustained to 22 mph on the 9th. North winds were sustained to 36 mph on the 10th…32 mph on the 13th…and 22 mph on the 15th.


In 1966…high winds caused extensive minor damage across metro Denver. A light plane was overturned at Stapleton International Airport where northwest wind gusts to 55 mph were recorded. Winds gusted to 56 mph at Table Mesa in Boulder

In 1989…strong winds raked metro Denver. West wind gusts to 49 mph were clocked at Stapleton International Airport.

In 2003…the first tornado of the season was sighted near Strasburg. The small landspout touched down briefly…but caused no damage.


In 1923…4.2 inches of snow fell over downtown Denver. Northwest winds were sustained to 45 mph with gusts to 49 on the 17th. Low temperature of zero degrees on the 18th was the lowest of the month that year.

In 1944…heavy snow fell across metro Denver. The storm started as rain on the 17th…but soon turned to snow. Snowfall amounts totaled 8.5 inches in downtown Denver and 11.0 inches at Stapleton Airport. The highest wind recorded during the storm was 23 mph on the 17th.

In 1961…a major winter storm dumped 10.7 inches of snow at Stapleton Airport. Most of the snow…9.7 inches…fell on the 18th. Winds were light.

In 1994…strong winds buffeted metro Denver. West winds gusted to 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport on the 17th. Other significant wind gusts included 85 mph atop Squaw Mountain south of Idaho Springs…and 82 mph at Rollinsville southwest of Boulder…both on the 18th.

In 1996…a second storm in less than 3 days dumped heavy snow in the mountains and foothills again…but snowfall amounts across metro Denver ranged from only 2 to 4 inches. The heavy snowfall resulted in several traffic accidents along I-25 and I-70…south and west of Denver respectively. The major accidents involved at least 30 cars and resulted in several minor injuries. The accidents closed both highways for a time. Snowfall totals included 13 inches at Evergreen and 10 inches at Conifer. Snowfall totaled only 0.7 inch at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. At Denver International Airport… North winds gusted to 28 mph on the 17th and 39 mph on the 18th.

In 2016…a combination of enhanced banding associated with a strong upper level jet stream…and low level upslope following the passage of a cold front…produced heavy snowfall in northern mountains as well as in and near the foothills of Boulder County. Storm totals included: 19.5 inches near Ward…16 inches near Allenspark…13.5 inches near Eldorado Springs; 13 inches at the National Weather Service Office in Boulder and 5 miles east of Boulder; 12.5 inches at Winter Park Ski Resort…12 inches at Eldora Ski Area; 11 inches…7 miles south of Lyons and at Rollinsville; 10.5 inches at Aspen Springs… and 9.5 inches near Blackhawk. In Denver and the surrounding suburbs…storm totals included: 8.5 inches in Broomfield…Lafayette and 5 miles northeast of Westminster; 7 inches near Northglenn…6.5 inches in Thornton and northwest Denver; with 6 inches at Firestone. At Denver International Airport…an official measurement of 4.7 inches of snow was observed.


In 1933…rain changed to snow on the evening of the 17th and continued through mid-day of the 19th. Snowfall totaled 5.6 inches with 0.83 inch of precipitation in in the city. North winds were sustained to 38 mph with gusts to 46 mph on the 18th and to 30 mph with gusts to 43 mph on the 19th.

In 2003…one of the worst blizzards since historic records began in 1872 struck metro Denver with a vengeance. Heavy wet snow accumulating to around 3 feet in the city and to more than 7 feet in the foothills brought transportation to a near standstill. North winds sustained to 30 mph with gusts as high as 41 mph produced drifts to 6 feet in the city. The estimated cost of property damage alone…not including large commercial buildings…was 93 million dollars… Making it the costliest snowstorm ever. Mayor Wellington Webb of Denver said…”this is the storm of the century…a backbreaker…a record breaker…a roof breaker.” Two people died in Aurora from heart attacks after shoveling the heavy wet snow. The National Guard sent 40 soldiers and 20 heavy duty vehicles to rescue stranded travelers along I-70 east of Gun Club Road. The heavy wet snow caused roofs of homes and businesses to collapse. The snow also downed trees… Branches…and power lines. Two people were injured when the roofs of their homes collapsed. In Denver alone…at least 258 structures were damaged. In Arvada…a roof collapse at west gate stables killed a horse. Up to 135 thousand people lost power during the storm…and it took several days for power to be restored in some areas. Denver International Airport was closed…stranding about 4000 travelers. The weight of the heavy snow caused a 40-foot gash in a portion of the tent roof…forcing the evacuation of that section of the main terminal building. Avalanches in the mountains and foothills closed many roads…including I-70…stranding hundreds of skiers and travelers. Along I-70…an avalanche released by the Colorado department of transportation…blocked the interstate in both directions for several hours. Several residences between Bakerville and Silver Plume were evacuated because of the high avalanche danger. At Eldora Ski Area…270 skiers were stranded when an avalanche closed the main access road. After the storm ended…a military helicopter had to ferry food to the resort until the road could be cleared. The heavy snow trapped thousands of residents in their foothills homes in Jefferson County for several days. Two homes burned to the ground when fire crews could not reach the residences. Some schools remained closed well into the following week. The storm officially dumped 31.8 inches of snow at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport…the most snowfall from a single storm since the all-time record snowfall of 37.5 inches on December 4-5…1913. The storm made March 2003 the snowiest March on record…the 4th snowiest month on record… And the 5th wettest March on record. The 22.9 inches of snow on the 18th into the 19th was the greatest 24 hour snowfall ever recorded in the city during the month of March. The storm was also a drought-buster…breaking 19 consecutive months of below normal precipitation in the city. Snowfall across metro Denver ranged from 2 feet to more than 3 feet. The highest amounts included: 40 inches in Aurora…38 inches in centennial and 6 miles east of Parker…37 inches at Buckley AFB…35 inches in southwest Denver…34 inches in Louisville… 32 inches in Arvada…31 inches in Broomfield and Westminster… And 22.5 inches in Boulder. In the foothills…snowfall ranged from 3 feet to more than 7 feet. Some of the most impressive storm totals included: 87.5 inches atop Fritz Peak and in Rollinsville…83 inches at cabin creek…74 inches near Bergen Park…73 inches northwest of Evergreen…72 inches in Coal Creek Canyon…70 inches at Georgetown…63 inches near Jamestown…60 inches near Blackhawk…55 inches at Eldora Ski Area…54 inches 8 miles west of Sedalia…and 46.6 inches at Ken Caryl Ranch. The storm was the result of a very moist…intense slow moving pacific system which tracked across the four corners and into southeastern Colorado…which allowed deep easterly upslope flow to form along the Front Range.


In 1883…0.3 inch of snow fell in downtown Denver. This was the only measurable snowfall of the month.

In 1903…rain changed to sleet and then to snow…which became heavy. Post-frontal snowfall totaled 7.0 inches over the city. North winds were sustained to 51 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph.

In 1905…northwest winds were sustained to 42 mph.

In 1914…northeast winds were sustained to 46 mph with gusts to 56 mph behind a strong cold front. Snowfall was 3.4 inches over the city…but most of the snow melted as it fell. The estimated amount of melted snow was 8.1 inches.

In 1920…a terrific windstorm occurred along the eastern foothills. Two deaths were attributed to the storm and some damage occurred. Both Denver and Boulder were affected by the strong winds. West winds were sustained to 51 mph with gusts as high as 66 mph in downtown Denver. The strong winds did considerable damage to property… Wires…plate glass windows…and indirectly loss by fire. The wind caused the death of one young girl by toppling the side of a brick building on her as she was standing on a corner waiting for a car. The wind was also responsible for several severe auto accidents due to blowing debris into the streets and blowing dust and dirt into the eyes of drivers.

In 1954…west winds at sustained speeds of 40 mph and gusts as high as 56 mph produced some blowing dust at Stapleton Airport.

In 1979…heavy snow totaled 4 to 12 inches along the Front Range from Denver north. I-25 was closed for a brief time between Denver and Cheyenne. New snowfall totaled 4.3 inches at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 29 mph.

In 1998…a major winter storm dumped heavy snow over areas west from I-25 to the continental divide as strong upslope conditions developed. Two to 3 1/2 feet of snow fell in the foothills with 1 to 2 feet reported in west metro Denver. Snowfall totals included: 38 inches at Silver Spruce Ranch…2 miles south of Ward; 35 inches at Aspen Springs; 33 inches near Blackhawk; 30 inches at Eldora; 29 inches in Coal Creek Canyon; 27 inches at Conifer… Chief Hosa…and Nederland; 25 inches at Rollinsville and Gross Reservoir; 21 inches at Evergreen; and 15 to 19 inches at Broomfield…Lakewood…and Table Mesa in Boulder. Elsewhere across metro Denver…snowfall ranged from 8 to 14 inches. Snowfall totaled only 7.9 inches at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport. East winds gusted to 31 mph at Denver International Airport.


In 1927…heavy snowfall was 6.5 inches in downtown Denver. Northwest winds were sustained to 28 mph on the 18th.

In 1974…heavy snowfall totaled 5.8 inches at Stapleton International Airport where northeast winds gusted to 33 mph on the 19th.


In 1907…a warm spell resulted in 6 daily temperature records. Record maximum temperatures of 82 degrees occurred on the 18th with 81 degrees on the 19th and 80 degrees on the 20th. Record high minimum temperatures of 52 degrees occurred on the 19th and 20th with 54 degrees on the 21st.


In 1969…high winds buffeted the Front Range foothills causing damage in Boulder and Jefferson counties. A freight train was derailed near the entrance to a canyon 20 miles west of Denver when some empty cars were caught on a curve by a gust of wind. Two light planes were heavily damaged at Jefferson County Airport. Winds gusted to 105 mph at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder…62 mph in downtown Boulder…and 80 to 90 mph at Boulder airport. Northwest winds gusted to 49 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1976…northwest winds gusted to 55 mph in Denver with stronger winds along the foothills. The strong cold winds kicked up some blowing dust…reducing the visibility to near zero at times at Stapleton International Airport.

In 1982…high winds across metro Denver caused minor damage to a few mobile homes at Lowry Air Force Base. West wind gusts reached 51 mph at Stapleton International Airport where visibility was briefly reduced to 1/4 mile in blowing dust.

In 1995…strong winds associated with a pacific cold front blew across metro Denver. A west wind gust to 48 mph was recorded at Denver International Airport. Winds gusted to 59 mph at the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

In 2010…a storm system produced deep upslope and brought heavy snow to areas in and near the Front Range. The foothills of Boulder and Jefferson counties were the hardest hit. Storm totals included: 26 inches at Coal Creek Canyon…25.5 inches…4 miles southeast of Conifer; 25 inches at Genesee…24.5 inches near Kittredge… 23.5 inches…6 miles east of Nederland…20.5 inches…3 miles west of Jamestown…5 miles southeast of aspen park and 5 miles southeast Idaho Springs; and 18 inches near Ralston Buttes. In and around Denver…storm totals included: 15 inches in Golden; 12.5 inches in Boulder…11.5 inches at lone tree; 10.5 inches near Castle Pines; 11 inches…6.5 miles southwest of Castle Rock; 10 inches near Englewood…Highlands Ranch and 3 miles southwest of Wheat Ridge; 9 inches…4 miles west of Arvada…Broomfield…Centennial…Elizabeth and Westminster; 8.5 inches…in southeast Denver and Littleton; 7.5 inches in Louisville and near Thornton; 7 inches…4 miles south of Aurora…Lakewood and Niwot; 6.5 inches…4 miles northwest of Castle Rock…4 miles northwest of Denver and Northglenn; 6 inches in Brighton and 5 miles southeast of Sedalia. Officially… 1.7 inches of snow was measured at Denver International Airport.


In 1912…post-frontal heavy snowfall of 6.3 inches was measured in downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 28 mph with gusts to 30 mph on the 19th. The strong cold front plunged temperatures from a high of 60 degrees on the 19th to a low of 1 degree on the 20th.

In 1959…a major storm dumped heavy snowfall of 7.7 inches on Stapleton Airport where north winds gusting to 44 mph caused much blowing and drifting snow. Many highways were blocked…and there was damage to phone lines along the South Platte River. The storm started as rain and changed to heavy wet snow…which froze on the lines causing the poles to break. The storm caused 2 deaths over eastern Colorado.

In 2006…strong northerly winds…associated with a surface low pressure system that intensified as it moved into the central Great Plains…brought heavy wet snow to the eastern foothills and northeastern plains of Colorado. The hardest hit areas included the foothills of Boulder and Gilpin counties. Storm totals included: 15 inches at Rollinsville… 14 inches at Aspen Springs…12.5 inches near Nederland…and 5.7 inches in the Denver Stapleton area. Strong winds…heavy snow…and poor visibility forced the closure of Interstate 70 from Denver east to the Kansas state line. North winds gusted to 32 mph at Denver International Airport on the 19th.


In 1888…heavy snowfall totaled 8.6 inches over downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to 27 mph on the 19th.


In 1915…north winds were sustained to 40 mph with gusts to 42 mph. Only a trace of snow fell.

In 1989…2 to 6 inches of snow fell along the Front Range urban corridor with up to 9 inches in Boulder. Only 1.6 inches of snowfall were measured at Stapleton International Airport where north winds gusted to 36 mph.

» Click here to read the rest of March 17 to March 23: This Week in Denver Weather History

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National Weather Service announces storm spotter training dates for 2019

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 1:45pm MDT

On June 3, 1981 a tornado struck Thornton in what is the worst twister to have struck the Denver metro area. Are you ready should disaster strike again? Image courtesy the City of Thornton archives.

Severe weather is a fact of life in Colorado – from blizzards to tornadoes we can and do see it all.  Each year the weather is responsible for claiming lives in our state and across the nation and the threat is very real.  Storm spotter training allows you to learn how to protect yourself and your family while providing a public service.

Education is key to knowing how to protect you and your family.  Whether you want to be an official storm spotter or maybe just want to learn more about severe weather, storm spotter training can provide you an incredible opportunity to learn.

The National Weather Service Denver / Boulder office has announced a series of Skywarn storm spotter training dates for Colorado for the 2019 season.

The storm spotter program is a nationwide program with more than 280,000 trained spotters.  These volunteers report weather hazards to their local National Weather Service office providing vital information when severe strikes.  Data from spotters include severe wind, rain, snow measurements, thunderstorms and hail and of course tornadoes.

Storm spotters are part of the ranks of citizens who form the Nation’s first line of defense against severe weather. There can be no finer reward than to know that their efforts have given communities the precious gift of time–seconds and minutes that can help save lives.

By completing one of these training classes you can become an official storm spotter.  When severe weather strikes, you can report it by calling a special toll free number or submit your report via the National Weather Service’s website.

These are great sessions for anyone wanting to learn more about the severe weather we experience in Colorado, whether you want to be an official spotter or not.  All training is free.  Topics include:

  • Basics of thunderstorm development
  • Fundamentals of storm structure
  • Identifying potential severe weather features
  • Information to report
  • How to report information
  • Basic severe weather safety

To learn more about the program, see here: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/bou/awebphp/spotter.php

Below are the dates, times and locations announced thus far.  The embedded calendar should automatically update with new dates and changes but be sure to check the National Weather Service site for the latest.

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March 2019 top shots: Monthly photo slideshow

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 10:45am MDT
A bald eagle takes flight over Adams County. (Bill Hutchinson)

A bald eagle takes flight over Adams County. (Bill Hutchinson)

The month of March is the start of meteorological spring and while conditions do begin warming, winter weather is certainly out of the question.  From hot to cold, snow to rain, the conditions can be very conducive to great pictures as we see in our slideshow.

March in Denver typically means frequent and rapid weather changes. The days grow longer and we start enjoying more sunshine and sometimes summer-like weather. However, on occasion arctic air masses can still force their way south into Colorado dropping temperatures quickly and markedly.

With the active wildlife, increased outdoor activities by us humans, and of course the weather, March imagery contains a wide variety of subjects and extremes.

  • Slideshow updated March 20, 2019. To learn more about how to send your photo to us for inclusion in the slideshow, see below the slideshow.

Showcasing images captured by ThorntonWeather.com readers as well as some of our own, our monthly slideshow covers the entire gamut of weather-related imagery.

Sunsets, sunrises, wildlife and of course every type of weather condition are vividly depicted in images captured from yours and our cameras.

What is missing in the slideshow above?  Your photo!

Our monthly photo slideshow is going to feature images that we have taken but more importantly images that you have captured.  The photos can be of anything even remotely weather-related.

Landscapes, current conditions, wildlife, pets, kids.  Whimsical, newsy, artsy.  Taken at the zoo, some other area attraction, a local park, a national park or your backyard.  You name it, we want to see and share it!

Images can be taken in Thornton, Denver or anywhere across the extraordinary Centennial State.  We’ll even take some from out of state if we can tie it to Colorado somehow.

We’ll keep the criteria very open to interpretation with just about any image eligible to be shown in our slideshows.

What do you win for having your image in our slideshow?  We are just a ‘mom and pop’ outfit and make no money from our site so we really don’t have the means to provide prizes.  However you will have our undying gratitude and the satisfaction that your images are shared on the most popular website in Thornton.

To share you images with us and get them included in the slideshow just email them to us or share them with ThorntonWeather.com on any of the various social media outlets.  Links are provided below.

So come on, get those camera’s rolling!

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Last hours of winter to offer lots of sun, seasonal temperatures in Thornton

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 5:01am MDT

The changing of the seasons will be a calm affair today. Spring officially begins at 3:58pm and Mother Nature is welcoming it with a pleasant day to end winter.

Sunny skies with nary a cloud to be seen above will be the rule through the day today. Winds will be light and out of the northeast. Temperatures will top out around 56 degrees, the average high for the date.

Tonight, skies remain clear with lows in the mid to upper 20s.

Enjoy! Live weather gauges.

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Tuesday to bring cooler temperatures, just a slight chance for snow

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 4:53am MDT

A cold front is going to cool things down ensuring we continue to see well below normal temperatures. The afternoon may bring just a quick bit of snow.

Mostly cloudy skies start things off and similar sky conditions will be above throughout the day. Temperatures will top out in the low 40s, about 15 degrees below normal.

This afternoon there looks to be enough moisture and instability to set off a few snow showers. Any that does fall however is not expected to amount to much at all.

Tonight, partly clear skies will be above with lows in the mid-20s.

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Cool temperatures, a good bit of cloud cover start off Thornton’s workweek

Monday, March 18th, 2019 4:58am MDT

A passing weak system will serve to impact our weather today. Temps will be below normal and we will have some cloud cover above.

Partly clear skies start us off and will be with us through much of the day. The mid-afternoon will see an increase in clouds. Winds will be generally light and out of the north.

Temperatures start out chilly and below freezing then will head toward a high in the mid-40s.

Tonight, mostly cloudy skies will be above with overnight lows in the upper 20s.

What lies ahead for the rest of the week? Find out in our extended weather forecast here.

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Thornton’s weekend to offer calm conditions, gradually warming temperatures

Friday, March 15th, 2019 4:57am MDT

A three day period of calm and dry conditions ahead for us. Temperatures will be warming but remain below normal as we work to scour out the lingering cold air and snow cover.

Friday will bring us sunny skies with perhaps a few high, thin clouds. Highs today will be near the 40 degree mark. Tonight, skies will be mostly clear with lows around 20 degrees.

Tomorrow, temperatures continue improvement with highs in the mid-40s. Sunny skies and calm conditions can again be expected.

The weekend closes out on Sunday with the warmest day of the period. Highs will push close to the 50 degree mark with a good dose of sun above.

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Thornton’s March blizzard ends but the cold and wind will linger

Thursday, March 14th, 2019 4:36am MDT

Well, that was quite the interesting day yesterday, eh? We received a healthy 6.2 inches of snow and coupled it with miserable wind. The snow has ended but Thursday will see the weather being slow to recover with cold temperatures and wind sticking around.

The day starts with cloudy skies. There will some, gradual improvement in the skies as the day progresses with some hints of blue later. Winds are going to continue to be quite breezy with gusts to 30mph lasting for much of the day before easing up after mid-afternoon.

High temperatures today will only be around the freezing mark. Wind chills will make it feel much colder.

Tonight, clouds will be decreasing with lows in the low teens.

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Most significant storm of the season set to hit Thornton, potentially bring blizzard conditions

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 5:06am MDT

The much-discussed winter storm is now descending on eastern Colorado. All indications are that the nasty, winter weather conditions we were expecting will occur and create hazardous conditions.

The first part of the morning will see rain and a rain / snow mix. Currently the transition to all snow is expected to occur by mid-morning. At that time, moderate to heavy snow will seen.

The snow will be coupled with powerful winds with gusts potentially exceeding 50 mph. This will create drifting snow and limit visibility greatly.

Total snow accumulations for Thornton look to be in the 4 to 7 inch range, perhaps a bit more depending on how things play out.

Our high temperature for the day was already seen and the mercury will decrease through the day.

By 5:00pm we will be down to the mid to upper 20s. Snow should start to ease after about 5:00pm with only light snow seen after that and lasting through much of the night. Strong wind will continue overnight. Look for lows tonight to dip to the mid-20s.

A Blizzard Warning is in effect from 10:00am until midnight. Do not travel if you do not need to!

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