One Hundred Year Anniversary of Denver's Snowiest Snowstorm

Every once in a while it snows a whole lot in Denver. And sometimes it snows even more than that. One hundred years ago next week was one of those times.

Source: Denver Public LibraryBetween December 1 and 5, 1913, Denver received 45.7 inches of snow. Even after one hundred years, it remains Denver's largest single snowfall event. The next closest was the blizzard of 2003 when 31.8" of snow was recorded at Denver International Airport, nearly 14 fewer inches than in 1913.

Denver was not the only location to experience record snowfall during this four day event. Georgetown, 50 minutes west of Denver, took the cake recording an incredible 86 inches over the same period. Estes Park recorded 53 inches, while Boulder ended up with just a couple inches fewer than Denver at 43.75 inches.

One of my favorite parts about exploring this historic storm is digging up local media coverage of the event. The Denver Post, one of the city's two major papers at the time, was absolutely filled with gems. On the morning of the 5th, the headline read "Denver in Mantle of Shimmering White Stops Activity and Everybody Jollifies". The section under "What the Snow Did, Is Doing and Will Do!" outlined interruptions to telegraph, telephone, railroads, and streetcars (yes, Denver had one of the largest streetcar networks in the country at one point). In all, it seems as though the great Queen City of the West took this storm with stride, as "gloom-chasers" took to the street to shout what a privilege it was to live in Colorado.

If you are interested in learning more about this record snowfall, the National Weather Service in Boulder has put together additional resources on this storm, including an excellent cartoon with reactions from "the city," "in the suburbs" and "on the farm". Also, provided there are still tickets, several local meteorologists and historians will be hosting an event on December 3 at the History Colorado Center about the Great Blizzard of 1913.

Denver Public Library

Denver Blizzard 1913 | Denver Public Library

Brendan Heberton

Brendan is founder of Weather5280. He is co-founder of FreshyMap, and develops software for geospatial data analysis and visualization.

Denver, Colorado
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