A bit of a stormy month that likes to pretend it’s chilly as a cucumber
Welcome June to Denver! A month that acts like summer most of the time but isn’t afraid to show its springtime contempt whenever it feels the need to – and it usually delivers those blows in the form of thunderstorms and big hail .
Like most of spring, June is a month of transition. It is a month that falls between the cool rains of May and the warm rains of the monsoon. The warm humidity of the gulf will occasionally cause battles with cold fronts, creating periods of instability, thunderstorms, hail and sometimes tornadoes.
The month can receive the most intense extreme weather of the year, according to the National Weather Service. Tornado season also heats up in June. But let’s get rid of the statistics.
June is the third hottest month of the year in the city, behind July and August. Denver’s average monthly temperature for the month of June is 67.4 degrees, based on averages from 1981 to 2010. We start the month with an average high of 77 degrees and end the month with an average 10 degrees warmer . The hottest temperature on record in June was 105 degrees for two days in a row in 2012!
Temperatures can drop below zero, but this is very rare. The coldest June temperature recorded in Denver was 30 degrees on June 2, 1951. But we average about 48 degrees at the beginning and 56 degrees toward the end of the month when it comes to low temperatures.
Coming out of what is considered the wettest month of the year, May, the sixth month of the year precedes what is considered the second wettest month of the year in Denver, July. We tend to see a lot of humidity in the form of severe thunderstorms in June, after all, bad weather season is in full swing.
The average monthly precipitation is 1.98 inches. The wettest June we’ve seen in Denver was in 1882, when 4.96 inches of humidity fell in the city. And more recently, in 20009, we got 4.69 inches of humidity. But our driest June came in 1916 when just 0.08 inches of rain fell in Denver for the entire month.
And do you remember the snow? It can happen, but it is also a very rare event. Snow has only occurred seven times in June in Denver since 1882 with the last occurrence in 1974 with a trace, according to the NWS. Mile High City’s snowiest June occurred in 1953 when a whopping 0.5 inch total fell for the entire month.
bad weather season
As mentioned above, June may be the most relentless month in terms of weather for Denver. Severe thunderstorms accompanied by large hail, damaging wind gusts, heavy rains and strong tornadoes are common in the sixth month of the year.
Colorado is entering peak tornado season. The state sees an average of 27 tornadoes in May and June, with June being the busiest month with an average of 17 tornadoes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. There have been 2,125 tornadoes recorded in Colorado and at least five tornado-related deaths since 1950.
The most tornado-prone county in Colorado — and in the entire country — is Weld County, which has seen 268 tornadoes since 1950. The city and county of Denver has seen 16 tornadoes during the same period.
The largest tornado to hit Denver was on June 15, 1988. Seven people were injured when an F-3 tornado touched down in the southern part of the city, cutting an erratic 2.5 mile path from long. The storm damaged 85 buildings and several cars and uprooted trees.
The injuries were minor, but according to NWS reports, very traumatic for some of those involved. A golfer was thrown 40 feet but was not injured. A man clinging to a telephone pole escaped unscathed but lost both of his shoes. A woman holding a baby was sucked through the shattered window of a convenience store, but neither the woman nor the baby were injured.
Tornadic activity does not always occur in the usual places in Colorado. Although extremely rare, tornadoes and funnel clouds have been spotted on the western slope and in high altitude areas. There were three tornado touchdowns in Park County, on June 8, 2014, August 18, 2009, and August 23, 2008. In 2011, a tornado was documented on Mount Evans at an altitude of 11,900 feet. And on June 20, 1975, an F2 tornado touched down in Pitkin County.
Destructive hail is also a concern in June. Storms can produce hailstones up to the diameter of a mature grapefruit. In a typical season, which runs from mid-April to mid-August, the Front Range sees about three or four catastrophic hailstorms, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.
Colorado, along with Nebraska and Wyoming, is what meteorologists call “hail alley.” The region experiences an average of seven to nine hail days per year. According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, the reason this area gets so much hail is because the freezing levels (the area of the atmosphere at 32 degrees or less) in the high plains are much closer to the ground than they might be. are at sea level, where hail has plenty of time to melt before reaching the ground.
Hail is usually sized from a pea to a marble, but large thunderstorms can produce large hail. Baseball-sized hail struck parts of Golden and Lakewood during a record storm in 2017.
According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, Colorado had the second-highest number of hail-related claims in the United States from 2013 to 2015 (182,591), second only to Texas. The costliest hailstorm to hit Colorado occurred on May 8, 2017. The Denver metro area suffered $2.3 billion in insured damage.
Prepare for inclement weather
Be prepared for extreme weather conditions when they strike. Follow these tips provided by the Colorado Office of Emergency Management:
- Put together an emergency kit and develop a family communication plan.
- Identify a safe shelter location – a basement is best, followed by interior rooms on the lowest level of the building, away from windows. Mobile homes are often dangerous during a tornado – identify a neighbor’s house or a public shelter you can go to if a tornado warning is issued.
- Secure outdoor objects that could be blown away or cause damage during a thunderstorm.
- Unplug all electronic equipment before the storm arrives.
- Pick up a NOAA Weather Radio (link is external) to receive alerts of impending severe weather.
- Sign up for reverse phone alerts (link is external) for your county, and don’t forget to include your cell phone.
- Make sure you have sufficient insurance coverage – including flood insurance, which is separate from your homeowner’s or renter’s policy.
- Photograph or take video footage of your home’s contents in case you need to file a claim after a disaster.
- Keep copies of your important documents in another location, such as a bank safe.
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