High-Impact Weather and Climate Events

High-impact events cause the majority of societal costs related to weather and climate. They provoke societal responses that can either enhance or detract from long-term adaptation to climate risk. In 2015, WWA began a new research focus on extremes that is designed to place high-impact events in the context of historical climate variability and projected climate change, assess how the risk of these events varies over time and space, and examine how high-impact events interact with place-based vulnerability.

The High-Impact Events Database has 280+ historical high-impact weather and climate events in our three-state region, and a complementary set of regional event maps showing how risk varies seasonally across the region for different types of weather and climate events.

The database is a curated collection of significant weather and climate-related events in the Western Water Assessment region. The types of events included are: avalanches, cold waves, dam failures, droughts, floods, hail, high winds, landslides, tornadoes, wildfires, and winter storms. We search federal, state, county, and local databases, library archives, news accounts, and other sources for current and historic notable weather and climate-related events in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. This database is not a scientific collection of extreme events. The majority of events included in this database are incidents that were identified as remarkable by one of the sources listed above.

All CPI-Adjusted Damage costs are 2022 values, calculated from: https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/. CPI-Adjusted Damage costs are unavailable before the year 1913.

WWA High-Impact Events Database Map (1864-2021)

This map is a visual representation of all the high-impact events in our database by county from 1864-2021. The counties with no data represent counties with no events explicitly reported in the database.

State County City Date Event Type Deaths CPI Adjusted Unadjusted Summary Links
Colorado Garfield Glenwood Springs August 10, 2020 Wildfire
Colorado Mesa Grand Junction July 31, 2020 Wildfire $38,398,900.00 $34,000,000.00
Colorado, Utah, Wyoming June 06, 2020 High Wind
Colorado, Utah May 19, 2020 Drought
Utah Emery Green River May 11, 2020 Flood 2
Wyoming Carbon Arlington October 19, 2019 Winter Storm, High Wind 1
Colorado Kit Carson Bethune August 13, 2019 Hail
Colorado, Wyoming March 13, 2019 Winter Storm, High Wind, Flood 4 $4,573,250,000.00 $4,000,000,000.00
Colorado Pitkin March 09, 2019 Avalanche
Wyoming Lincoln, Sublette September 15, 2018 Wildfire
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