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
Wyoming Teton Afton May 18, 2011 Landslide
Utah Washington St. George December 21, 2010 Flood
Colorado Boulder Salina, Gold Hill September 06, 2010 Wildfire $287,331,000.00 $214,352,000.00
Wyoming Campbell Gillette May 26, 2010 Hail $61,661,300.00 $46,000,000.00
Colorado Arapahoe, Jefferson, Adams Englewood, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, Brighton July 20, 2009 Hail $1,049,090,000.00 $770,000,000.00
Colorado Larimer Windsor May 22, 2008 Tornado 1 $262,696,000.00 $193,500,000.00
Utah Millard, Beaver Milford July 06, 2007 Wildfire 2 $5,638,920.00 $4,000,000.00
Colorado Pueblo Pueblo May 07, 2007 Dam Failure, Flood
Colorado Prowers, Kiowa Holly March 28, 2007 Tornado 2 $5,653,010.00 $4,010,000.00
Colorado December 20, 2006 Winter Storm
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