20 Years Ago Today: Front Range Buried In October Blizzard

By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – Do you remember the October blizzard of 1997?

It struck on Friday the 24th and today is still known as one of the worst and deadliest storms in Colorado weather history.

97 blizzard12 20 Years Ago Today: Front Range Buried In October Blizzard

Heavy, wet snow blanketed much of the Front Range during a blizzard that hit on Oct. 24-25, 1997. (credit: CBS)

Up to three feet of snow fell across parts of the Denver metro area with higher totals in the foothills. Sustained winds of 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph created drifts up to 10 feet deep.

97 blizzard 22 20 Years Ago Today: Front Range Buried In October Blizzard

(credit: CBS)

Travel was impossible as hundreds of cars and trucks became stranded in the deep snow. At least 120 cars were abandoned on Pena Blvd alone.

Roughly 4,000 passengers were stranded at DIA when the airport shut down.

97 blizzard7 20 Years Ago Today: Front Range Buried In October Blizzard

(credit: CBS)

Four people lost their lives and thousands of cattle died in the storm.

You can look at some archived weather maps and images from this storm here.

Snow totals included…

  • 51″ – Coal Creek Canyon
  • 48″ – Silver Spruce Ranch (near Ward)
  • 37″ – Sedalia
  • 35″ – Aspen Springs
  • 35″ – Conifer
  • 31″ – Eldorado Springs
  • 31″ – Southeast Aurora
  • 31″ – Englewood
  • 30″ – Table Mesa in Boulder
  • 21.9″ – Stapleton (19.1 of which fell in 24 hours)
  • 14″ – Denver International Airport
97 blizzard8 20 Years Ago Today: Front Range Buried In October Blizzard

(credit: CBS)

Meteorologist Chris Spears travels weekly in the CBS4 Mobile Weather Lab reporting about Colorado’s weather and climate. Check out his bio, connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCBS4.

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