DENVER – It’s hard to imagine, but 20 years ago today Denver was covered in snow measured in feet as near hurricane-force winds shut down highways, stranding thousands.
This week’s forecast, with a chance of light snow on Thursday, is a far cry from what things looked like Oct. 24 to Oct. 26, 1997.
When the storm was over, snow totals ranged from 14 to 31 inches across the Denver metro area with 2 to 4 feet in the foothills.
Over 100 cars were abandoned on Pena Boulevard as 4,000 people sought shelter at Denver International Airport.
The storm claimed the lives of four residents and thousands of livestock on Colorado's eastern plains.
The 1997 storm was caused by a closed area of low pressure over Utah that slowly drifted along the southern border of Colorado. The low pressure stalled out near the Texas panhandle and tapped into moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. The result was an extended period with snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour.