Deep freeze hits Colorado on 1913 blizzard anniversary

DENVER - The record cold temperatures this week hit on the 100th anniversary of a major weather event in Colorado -- the blizzard of 1913.

On December 4, 1913, a low pressure system moved over Colorado, bringing heavy rains to the eastern plains and heavy snow in the mountains, according to 7NEWS chief meteorologist Mike Nelson in his book, Colorado Weather Almanac.

By December 5, 46 inches of snow had fallen in Denver.

"A record that still stands for the single heaviest snowstorm for the city," Nelson said.

Nelson said, of all the reporting stations, Georgetown was the winner with an incredible 86 inches of snow, 63 inches of it coming on one day -- December 4.

"The December 1913 storm was a rarity in not only its intensity but also its timing. Huge, moist upslope storms are much more common in the months of March and April. In fact, December is rather low on the list for heavy snow in Denver, ranking fourth in average monthly snowfall behind March, November, and April, respectively," Nelson explained.

Nelson said the storm began with a wet slushy snow, but as temperatures fell the slush began to freeze. It paralyzed trains and trolleys across the state.

"The snow was hauled to vacant lots and piled as high as possible," Nelson said. "At the present site of the Civic Center, the mountain of snow was so high that remnants of it lasted until the following summer. Although there is no record in either the Post or the Rocky Mountain News, there is a legend that a snow-scattering party was held on the following Fourth of July, with children bringing pails and toy shovels to spread the remnant snow and help speed the melting."