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 La Plata October 06, 2006 Dam Failure, Flood
Wyoming Crook Carlile July 14, 2006 Wildfire
Wyoming Natrona July 14, 2006 Wildfire
Utah Wayne Hanksville January 01, 2006 Flood
Wyoming Campbell Wright August 12, 2005 Tornado 2
Utah Kane, Washington January 08, 2005 Flood 1 $336,747,000.00 $225,000,000.00
Wyoming Park July 18, 2004 Landslide
Utah Statewide December 25, 2003 Winter Storm, Avalanche 3 $2,382,850.00 $1,500,000.00
Wyoming Campbell, Crook Gillette June 21, 2003 Hail $27,005,600.00 $17,000,000.00
Colorado Fort Collins, Boulder March 17, 2003 Winter Storm $147,737,000.00 $93,000,000.00
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