Denver, as always, has proved to be a fickle weather beast. During the time between October 9 and October 11, 2019, Denver saw summertime heat, bone-chilling record cold and several inches of snow.
LET’S TALK DETAILS
On Wednesday, October 9, Denver saw a high temperature of 83 degrees Fahrenheit. Then a cold front moved through. That cold front dropped temperatures from 81 degrees to 41 degrees in four hours between 4 and 8 p.m. followed closely by 55-mph wind gusts that blew in from the north. As the temperatures were dropping, most people realized that there was a big change coming. Little did we all know that it would lead to two record cold temperatures and being placed in a fourth-place tie for the largest 2-day temperature drop ever recorded in Denver!
It is not out of the norm for Colorado residents to feel drastic weather changes. Living in the High Plains means that we have a rather dry climate. In fact, Denver is borderline a desert climate but officially, Denver has a semi-arid climate and that allows for large changes in our weather to easily happen. Another thing is the overall lack of a large body of water close by to Denver, or Colorado. Bodies of water help to act as a hurdle or a barrier of sorts.
So, when this arctic plunge of air moved in from the north, there was nothing to stop it or hinder it from coming into town with full force. And that’s exactly what it did.
SO, WE BROKE SOME RECORDS?
Yes, yes we did. Some very impressive records! On October 10, the day after the cold front swung through, Denver dropped to 13º. Mind you, this was after the snow had fallen. So now, Denver was shivering from the cold airmass overhead, the snow-covered ground, and the skies cleared as we went into the night. Those ingredients together solidify the fact that we were going to have a cold night. Just before midnight on the 10th (Thursday), we fell to 13º breaking the old record set on that date by 4º. The old record was 17º.
Then the temperatures kept falling. By October 11th (Friday), temperatures at Denver International Airport (where official weather records for Denver are kept) fell to a bitterly cold 9º. 9º in October is kind of crazy and yes, it was definitely a record. The 9º temperature reading at DIA broke the old record of 22º. That’s a rather large difference when talking about record-breaking temperatures.
|Graphic from the NWS Boulder|
So, let’s recap. Denver started out on Wednesday at 83º and ended up at 9º by Friday morning? Yupp. Crazy. So crazy that Denver made it to the number 4 spot for the largest 2-day temperature change in the state’s history which goes back to 1872. Dropping from 83º to 9º is a change of 70º! Below is a list of the top 20 largest 2-day temperature drops in Denver’s History.
Not only did we make it into a top 5 spot, but that temperature drop also ended up being October’s largest 1-day (55º change) AND 2-day (70º) temperature drop in Octobers history.
SO, NOW WHAT?
Now we prepare for some more ups and downs as we head deeper into winter that are hopefully not as extreme. With that said, we are already watching for the next storm to impact us around the 20th of October. Longer range models are hinting at another significant shot of cold and snow around that time. Of course, that is still pretty far out so for right now, stay updated with the weather from verified sources. The remainder of this week will be comfortable with mainly sunny skies and temperatures ranging from the 60s to possibly the lower 80s.
~Rain or shine
I’m Andy Stein