For the city of Denver, March 13th, 2019 would go down in history as being significant for the weather record books. It was on that day that the state of Colorado experienced a front of winds and snow that would result in an impact similar to that of a category one hurricane.
Boom Goes the “Bomb”
What was being called the “Bomb Cyclone” got its name from the effect of two weather systems collapsing upon Denver, one of high-pressure, and one of low-pressure. For these two systems to meet during a time of concurrent snowfall meant that the weather pattern would ‘explode’ into a cyclonic wind and snow force majeure.
Weather Service experts called the event remarkable due to the odds of this specific circumstance involving disparate weather systems. Once the “Bomb Cyclone” went off at about 11:00 AM on March 13, 2019, the snowfall began picking up speed immediately. More than 8 inches of accumulated snow fell in a span of only three hours, and snow continued to fall along with winds gusting at up to 60 miles-per-hour. The entire metropolitan areas of Denver, Fort Collins, Greeley, and Boulder suffered significant delays in traffic and emergency response times.
What’s especially interesting to note about the “Bomb Cyclone” of 2019 is its timing. Only a few days prior to March 13, the front range of the Colorado Rockies experienced a historically high amount of avalanches. These avalanches caused numerous mountain town blackouts, and some drivers along I-70 were left stranded without resources for as long as eight hours. These setbacks were especially frustrating for those travelling to and from the mountain towns for a weekend of skiing.
Travel in and out of Denver International Airport was also severely hampered due to the weather. While the city and its residents did have plenty of time to prepare for this significant blizzard, many travel plans were already booked well in advance. This left travellers competing for much-needed logistical resources like Uber and Lyft rides to and from the downtown area.
Finally, A City in Relief
As the evening of March 13th drew to a close, the snowfall continued to pile up. Perhaps the only saving grace for Denver and the surrounding areas was that the temperatures prior to the “Bomb Cyclone” were fairly high. This meant that the snow that did fall during the blizzard didn’t stick, and most of the earlier accumulation simply melted off.
As school children in Denver rejoiced thanks to the ‘snow day’, the “Bomb Cyclone” that hit Denver in 2019 was truly one to remember.