It was six years ago today that a major storm system moved through the Denver area dumping nearly four inches of rain. The storm flooded roadways and required fire department personnel to perform more than a dozen rescues. These types of flooding events are not unusual this time of year and serve as a reminder of the number one rule when it comes to flooding – Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
From the National Weather Service:
From the 16th to the 19th:
In 1979…heavy thunderstorm rains on each of 4 consecutive days dumped a total of 2.62 inches of rain on Stapleton International Airport. The heaviest rain…1.05 inches… On the 19th was accompanied by 1/4 inch diameter hail.
On the 18th:
In 1965…heavy rain in areas south and east of Denver caused some flooding in Littleton and Englewood. Clear creek was running near bankfull…and heavy rain in southwest Denver flooded intersections.
In 1966…a brief very heavy thunderstorm dumped 0.61 inch of rain in just 5 minutes at Stapleton International Airport. Total rainfall from the storm…0.64 inch…fell in just 10 minutes. Half inch diameter hail also fell at Stapleton International Airport. The public sighted funnel clouds 10 to 15 miles south of the airport.
In 1967…hail struck in a strip along the eastern foothills and caused minor damage in Boulder. Hail accumulated to a depth of 4 to 6 inches in Jefferson County just southwest of Denver.
In 1983…one inch to hen egg size hail was reported in Broomfield with golf ball size hail at Northglenn.
In 1990…dime size hail and thunderstorm wind gusts to 50 mph were reported by storm spotters just east of Aurora near the intersection of Mississippi Avenue and Gun Club Road. The hail and strong winds damaged a number of windows in the area.
In 1991…very heavy rain from slow moving thunderstorms dumped up to 3 inches of rain in 20 minutes in the vicinity of Idaho Springs and central city. Flooding in Idaho Springs forced the closure of the Virginia Gulch Road…which runs from Idaho Springs to central city. Dirt roads above Central City were damaged or destroyed with the mud being swept onto streets in town. High water in Clear Creek…up to 3 feet above flood stage…washed out a bridge in Idaho Springs. Rock and mud slides forced the closure of I-70 about 1 mile east of Idaho Springs.
In 1997…dry microbursts produced two peak wind gusts to an estimated 60 mph east of Buckley Field.
In 2000…hail as large as 3/4 inch in diameter was measured 5 miles west of Sedalia.
In 2003…a severe thunderstorm produced hail as large as 2.75 inches in diameter at Highlands Ranch. Hail to 3/4 inch was reported in Aurora near Cherry Creek and in Arapahoe County 9 miles southeast of Aurora.
In 2004…heavy thunderstorm rainfall caused flash flooding across central and southern metro Denver. A rain gage at City Park recorded 4.37 inches of rainfall from the deluge. Several roads in and around the city had to be closed due to floodwaters…stranding many vehicles. The Denver fire department conducted at least 15 water rescues. One driver nearly drowned when he made a wrong turn into a retaining pond. Four men who witnessed the accident were able to save the man before his car was completely submerged. Widespread street flooding was reported in the Denver Stapleton area where rainfall totaled 3.81 inches. Standing water over 6 inches deep was reported near I-70 and Quebec…I-225 south of I-70…and I-25 near 6th Avenue. Flood waters reached 8 feet deep in some low lying areas as sewers became clogged and the storm runoff pipes were unable to handle the heavy flow of water. Heavy rainfall caused additional flash flooding south of Denver. Several street intersections in Centennial and southern Aurora became impassable due to high water. Two feet of water covered portions of the roadway near Park Meadows Mall. One person had to be rescued near the intersection of Arapahoe Road and Liverpool. Floodwaters forced the closure of Stonegate Parkway near Jordan Road and Lincoln Avenue. Flooding was also reported on meridian Blvd. Near I-25. Rainfall was 1.62 inches at Denver International Airport.
From the 18th to the 19th:
In 1875…nearly 0.75 inch of rainfall in the city overnight… Possibly assisted by heavier rainfall upstream…produced a decided and rapid rise in Cherry Creek…which washed out some bridges. Other small creeks and streams were filled to overflowing.