Looking back at today in Denver weather history we see how cold weather can turn deadly. In fact, it was 11 years ago this week that a cold spell hospitalized many for hypothermia and killed five people.

From the National Weather Service:

From the 17th to the 24th:

In 1924...a prolonged cold spell occurred after mild temperatures during the first half of the month. Most low temperatures dipped below zero with the coldest reading of 15 degrees below zero occurring on the 24th. The high temperature of only 5 degrees on the 18th was a record low maximum for the date.

From the 18th to the 24th:

In 1998...a vigorous cold front with north winds gusting as high as 38 mph at Denver International Airport on the 18th dropped temperatures from a high of 51 degrees to a low of just 6 degrees before midnight. The arctic air mass that settled over metro Denver produced intermittent light snow and a week-long protracted cold spell that caused low temperatures to plunge well below zero for 6 consecutive nights. The coldest temperature was 19 degrees below zero on the morning of the 22nd. High temperatures climbed only into the single digits on 4 consecutive days...from the 19th through the 22nd. At least 15 people...mostly homeless...were treated for hypothermia at area hospitals. The bitter cold weather was responsible...either directly or indirectly...for at least 5 fatalities. Three of the victims died directly from exposure. The cold weather also caused intermittent power outages. Following the cold snap... Thawing water pipes cracked and burst in several homes and businesses...causing extensive damage. Only one temperature record was set. The high temperature of only 7 degrees on the 19th set a record low maximum for the date.

On the 19th:

In 1913...post-frontal heavy snowfall totaled 8.5 inches over downtown Denver. North winds were sustained to only 16 mph.

In 1994...an intense pacific storm system and associated cold front moved across Colorado early in the day. Strong downslope winds buffeted the front range eastern foothills. The highest wind gust recorded was 92 mph at rocky flats in northern Jefferson County. Most of the wind gusts during the day ranged from 63 to 86 mph with lighter gusts of 40 to 58 mph on the northeast plains. The strong winds downed power lines and poles in south Lakewood...causing power outages to 2400 homes. Other small power outages and surges occurred across metro Denver. Northwest winds gusted to 43 mph at Stapleton International Airport.

From the 19th to the 20th:

In 1982...high winds buffeted the eastern foothills. At midday on the 19th...gusts of 75 to 80 mph were recorded in the table mesa area of Boulder. A gust to 62 mph was clocked in Boulder on the evening of the 20th.

In 1989...strong winds howled at mountain top level in clear creek and Gilpin Counties. Speeds reached 97 mph on the summit of Squaw Mountain and 84 mph one mile south of Rollinsville. Northwest winds gusted 35 mph at Stapleton International airport on the 20th.

From the 19th to the 23rd:

In 1990...a surge of very cold arctic air invaded metro Denver. Many temperature records were broken as the mercury remained at or below zero for 85.5 hours at Stapleton International Airport...making it the third longest period of subzero readings in 118 years of record keeping. On the morning of the 22nd...the mercury plunged to 25 degrees below zero...which equaled the all time record low temperature for the month set on December 24, 1876. In the foothills southwest of Denver at Tiny Town...the mercury plunged to 33 degrees below zero on the morning of the 21st. On the same morning at Castle Rock the temperature dipped to 26 degrees below zero. During the period...other daily temperature records were set at Denver...including: record low maximum of 3 degrees below zero on the 20th and a record low of 17 degrees below zero on the 23rd. The record low was equaled with 16 degrees below zero on the 20th and 21 degrees below zero on the 21st. Snowfall totaled 2.7 inches at Stapleton International airport from the 19th through the 21st.