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Wild weather day in Denver: 90 degrees to snowfall in a matter of hours

Posted at 9:33 AM, Sep 08, 2020

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer throughout the U.S. — and the Denver area seemingly took that to heart by skipping straight to winter on Tuesday.

Just after noon on Monday, Denver recorded temperatures of over 90 degrees. Less than 24 hours later, temperatures had plummeted to near freezing, and snow was falling in parts of the city.

A powerful cold front was the culprit for the sharp change in temperatures. The system will bring winter weather to the Denver area through Wednesday evening.

According to meteorologists with Scripps station KMGH in Denver, between 3 and 7 inches of snow is expected to fall in the Front Range corridor by early Wednesday.

There are also freeze warnings in effect for the Colorado plains east of Denver, where temperatures are expected to dip below freezing by Wednesday morning.

Officials fear the early freeze could damage crops, some of which are about to be harvested. Officials also fear that a deep freeze with full foliage could cause tree limbs to snap and cause power outages in the area.

KMGH reports that Denver's earliest snow of the season came Sept. 3, 1961, when a Labor Day storm brought 4.2 inches to the city's airport and dumped nearly a foot in the western suburbs and foothills. On Sept. 8, 1962, Denver saw its earliest freeze of the season when temperatures dipped to 31 degrees.

Wednesday's snowfall was Denver's earliest in the last decade. The previous record for earlier snowfall in the last 10 years came Oct. 5, 2012. Last year's first snow came earlier than usual on Oct. 10 — still a full month earlier than Tuesday's snowfall.

The enormous temperature swing between Monday and Tuesday could also turn out to be the largest swing on record. The previous record occurred on Jan. 25, 1872, when the temperature dropped 66 degrees, from 46 degrees to -20 degrees.

Monday also marked Denver's 73rd day in 2020 with temperatures in the 90s, which ties an all-time record. The city could break that record by early next week when temperatures are expected to climb back into the high 80s.