Comparing this weekend’s storm to that of 2003 is a big mistake

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Haven't seen this since 2003.

DENVER — Incorrect comparisons have been drawn between this weekend’s storm to the great March blizzard of 2003. How easily details are forgotten over time.

The 2003 storm nearly doubled, if not more, the snowfall totals from this weekend’s storm and paralyzed the entire area for days.


click to enlarge. 2016 April storm totals

Snowfall totals from this weekend’s storm have topped nearly 4 feet in the mountains west of Denver, while 2 feet fell in sections of Douglas and Jefferson counties.

The March 2003 storm saw more than 6 feet of snow to the mountains west of Denver, and 30 to 50 inches of snow from Douglas through Jefferson counties. The Denver metro area in 2003 was covered in 20-30 inches of snowfall, a far cry from the less than a foot readings from much of the downtown area.

2003 Blizzard

Click to enlarge

The wind was far more powerful with the 2003 storm also. Six-foot drifts were reported around the metro area with that storm from 41 mph wind gusts.

The 2003 storm was also costly, nearly $93 million, making it the most expensive snowstorm ever for the area. Denver had more than 250 damaged structures. Up to 135,000 people were without power.

At Denver International Airport, the official total was 31.8 inches of snow. This weekend’s storm sits at 12.1 inches.