Denver hits 80 degrees, shatters all-time February high temperature

DENVER -- Denver not only shattered a record high temperature on Friday, but it marked the warmest recorded February day ever as strong Chinook winds barreled out of the mountains and foothills, and led to abnormal heating.

The temperature reached 80 degrees at 1:38 p.m. at Denver International Airport, the official reporting station for the city, the National Weather Service said.

The previous warmest temperature for any day in February was 77 degrees on Feb. 4, 1890 and Feb. 28, 2006.

Friday's mark broke the previous high for the date of 71 degrees set in 1951. The record fell when the temperature spiked to 74 degrees at 10:24 a.m., the National Weather Service said.

A wind gust of 104 mph was recorded on Berthoud Pass early Friday morning. Other strong wind gusts were recorded at Breckenridge Ski Resort's Peak 8 (103 mph), the top of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (75 mph), Georgetown (71 mph) Monarch Pass (68 mph) and Floyd Hill (61 mph).

No major damage has been reported, though semitrucks tipped over and two fires broke out in Boulder County that prompted the evacuation of nearly 300 homes.

The mountains were dry, windy and abnormally warm. But rain and snow will spread in Friday afternoon and Friday night.

There initially will be rain up to 8,500 feet before it changes to snow on Saturday morning, with 4-10 inches of total accumulation for the central and northern mountains.

A couple pockets of 12 inches can be expected near Steamboat Springs, Crested Butte and Snowmass. The strong wind gusts will decrease Friday night.

After the record warm temperatures on Friday, the pattern will change Saturday for the Front Range.

The morning will start dry, then rain moves in during the afternoon. It changes to snow on Saturday night through the overnight into Sunday morning.

Expect 0-2 inches of snow accumulation with the best chances west and south of the metro area. Saturday's high will reach 55 before the storm moves in.

There will be snow showers early Sunday before things dry up quickly and the sun emerges in the afternoon with temperatures climbing into the low 40s.

High pressure will settle in next week, delivering dry, warm weather.

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