NewsCovering Colorado


Wild and extreme Colorado weather events

Colorado all-time temperature records
Colorado all-time precipitation records
Colorado severe weather records
Posted at 5:15 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 20:02:12-04

Colorado has some of the wildest weather in the west, if not the country.

The weather here can change from one extreme to the next in a short amount of time. From the Rocky Mountains to the high Plains, sharp changes in elevation can enhance storms and create microclimates that are unique to Colorado.

Extreme temperatures

Let's start out with record setting temperatures. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Colorado occurred at John Martin Dam in Bent County. Located between La Junta and Lamar, the temperature here reached 115 degrees last year on July 20, 2019.

Colorado all-time temperature records
All-time temperature records for Colorado

Colorado's coldest temperature on record didn't happen in the mountains as one might think. A temperature of -61 degrees occurred on February 1, 1985 in the small village of Maybell, located in Moffat County. Maybell is situated in the Yampa River Valley at an elevation of 5,922 feet.

Record-setting rainfall and snowfall

Colorado's 24-hour rainfall record is held by Fort Carson. In September of 2013, a powerful storm dumped almost a foot of rain on the military base. The storm caused massive flooding across the state, resulting in nearly 4 billion dollars worth of damage.

Colorado all-time precipitation records
All-time precipitation records for Colorado

Most of the records discussed so far have occurred in more recent times. As for the state's 24-hour snowfall record, we look back to April 14-15, 1921, when almost 76" of snow fell on Silver Lake, which is located along the Front Range just west of Boulder.

Extreme severe weather events

As strong westerly jet stream winds move storms off of the mountains and into the Plains, surface winds from the east rise over the eastern slopes and energize these storms. Strong updrafts will push clouds high into the sky, where large and damaging hail often forms.

The largest hail stone on record in Colorado was seen during a storm last August in Bethune. Located in Kit Carson County, a monster hail stone 4.83" in diameter fell from the sky. That's larger than the size of a grapefruit!

Colorado severe weather records
Colorado severe weather records

Lastly, we go back to the winter of 2016, when our state's most powerful wind gust on record was reported on Monarch Pass. The 148 mph wind gust is equivalent to that of a category 4 hurricane, or an EF3 tornado!