|The National Weather Service in Pueblo predicted that chilly temperatures from a quick-moving weather system might ice out residents in Colorado, and the predictions proved to be all too true.The first hints of winter’s abrupt arrival came on Wednesday when snow fell atop Pikes Peak, and other mountains around Colorado, and the forecast called for even more snow in high elevations over the weekend. That turned out to be an understatement.
Many areas in the Denver metro region found themselves shoveling through 1.5 to 7 inches of new snow over the weekend, and Douglas and Elbert County received 6 to 12 inches. Front Range foothills and mountain areas in the state saw 5 to 15 inches of snow. Boulder only experienced a light dusting, but the half-inch of snow seems to have tied for the earliest snowfall on record with Sept. 12, 1974.
The snow may have come as an unfortunate surprise for many Colorado residents, whose roofs have been plagued with hail damage over the past season. Roofs provide a crucial first line of defense against severe weather, but many Colorado roofers reported that residents were putting off roof repairs until they were out of the worst of hail season.
Temperatures fell as low as the upper teens and low 20s on Monday morning, creating icy driving conditions and endangering less cold-resistant plants. Fortunately, sunshine and a slight warming melted much of the snow later in the day.
Though this snowfall still doesn’t beat the record set by the earliest snow in Colorado Springs, which fell on Sept. 2, 1961, the size of the snowstorm was substantial. Early snow fell across Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska as well, setting records for other locations like Rapid City, South Dakota. In fact, this storm means that two of Rapid City’s three all-time heaviest snowstorms and record earliest snow occurred in only a 19-month span.
Snowfall up to 18 inches was reported in Wyoming, and Buffalo was beset by broken branches, fallen trees and power outages as 7-8 inches of snow fell over the weekend.
The storm hit 11 days before the official end of summer.