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Winter Storm Zephyr Recap: Rockies, Denver Hit With Mid-May Snowstorm

By Jon Erdman
Published: May 13, 2014

Winter Storm Zephyr dropped heavy snow in the Rocky Mountains and even into parts of the Front Range urban corridor May 10-13, 2014.

Here are some notable snow totals from Winter Storm Zephyr:

  • 43 inches estimated at Divide Peak in the Sierra Madre range of Wyoming
  • 30.1 inches near Pinecliffe, Colorado (Jefferson Co. foothills)
  • 29 inches near Four Corners in north-central Colorado
  • 22 inches in Leadville, Colorado
  • 22 inches in Arlington, Wyoming
  • 12.0 inches officially in Cheyenne, Wyoming (up to 13.3 inches in metro)
  • 9 inches in Cedar City, Utah
  • 7 inches in Laramie, Wyoming
  • 5.6 inches in Fort Collins, Colorado
  • 4.0 inches in Denver's Stapleton neighborhood (former airport site)
  • 2.8 inches near Greeley, Colorado
  • 1.1 inches officially at Denver Int'l Airport

Dating to 1883, Sunday was the heaviest calendar-day snow so late in the season in Cheyenne, by a narrow margin. They've had a pair of 10-inch-plus snow days later in the calendar (May 13, 1961 and May 16, 1943), but slightly less than Sunday's total of 10.5 inches. Incidentally, Wyoming's capital city has also had a pair of seven-inch-plus snow days in early June (eight inches on Jun. 4, 1892 and seven inches on June 7, 1889).

The weight of this heavy, wet snow damaged trees in Cedar City, Utah on Sunday. Up to 17,000 were without power on the morning of May 12 in northern Colorado, according to Xcel Energy in Aurora, Colorado.

How Unusual Was This?

May snowstorms in the Rockies and the Denver metro are not as unusual as you may think. 

In six of the last 10 years, the season's last measurable snow (0.1 inches or more) fell in May. Denver picked up an inch of snow on May 10, 2011 and May 12, 2010. Average May snow in the Mile-High City is 0.7 inches. 

There have been five Denver snowstorms with at least six inches of snow later than May 9, including a 10.7-inch snowstorm on May 25-26, 1950.

The latest measurable snow on record in Denver was, incredibly, June 12, 1947, just three days before Father's Day.

(MORE: Winter Storm Zephyr Impacts)

MORE: Winter Storm Zephyr in Photos

Heavy snow weighs down trees and bushes as a woman runs in Washington Park in Denver on Monday, May 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)


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