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
Utah Millard Delta June 26, 2012 Wildfire $8,402,460.00 $6,600,000.00
Utah Sanpete Fountain Green June 23, 2012 Wildfire 1 $7,383,980.00 $5,800,000.00
Colorado El Paso Woodland Park, Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs June 23, 2012 Wildfire 2 $568,388,000.00 $446,460,000.00
Colorado Larimer Fort Collins June 09, 2012 Wildfire 1 $143,038,000.00 $112,354,000.00
Colorado Denver, Douglas, Arapahoe, Elbert June 06, 2012 Hail, Flood $1,273,100,000.00 $1,000,000,000.00
Colorado June 01, 2012 Drought
Colorado, Utah, Wyoming May 22, 2012 Drought
Wyoming Statewide January 01, 2012 Drought
Utah Davis, Salt Lake, Weber Centerville, Salt Lake City December 01, 2011 High Wind $88,362,300.00 $68,000,000.00
Wyoming Laramie Cheyenne July 11, 2011 Hail $155,933,000.00 $120,000,000.00
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