DENVER — With a record temperature of 99 degrees forecast for Labor Day, there's a good chance the day will be filled with pools, ice cream, maybe a cold drink or two — that kind of thing.

But things looked very, very different for folks living in Denver on Sept. 3, 1961 — the earliest snowfall on record in the city's history.

On that day, 4.2 inches of snow dropped on the city, and nearly a foot fell in the western suburbs and foothills. The snow broke tree limbs and covered the foliage on what would be a cold, wet Labor Day weekend.

Como, Colorado
Como, Colorado, Sept. 3, 1961. Como is about 76 miles southwest of Denver.
Denver Public Library archives

The temperature dropped to 33 degrees, a record for the date and coldest ever recorded so early in the season. 

Sept 12 1989 snow storm

Fast forward 58 years and the Mile High City is looking at the complete opposite end of the weather spectrum: a forecast record high of 98 degrees.

FORECAST: Another record high forecast for today

Denver's most recent measurable September snowfall was Sept. 24, 2000, when about 0.2 inch fell.

On Sept. 12, 1989, just over 2 inches dumped on the city, making for messy roads for commuters. (The video below shows a 9NEWS segment on that snowfall.)

Fifteen years prior to that, on Sept. 12, 1974, nearly 2 inches of snow dusted the Mile High City. 

RELATED: Brace yourselves: Farmers’ Almanac predicts frigid, snowy winter in Colorado

Denver's first measurable snow is typically around mid-October, with an average date of Oct. 18, according to the National Weather Service.

Below is a list of the first measurable snows over the last 10 years:

  • Oct. 6, 2018
  • Oct. 9, 2017
  • Nov. 17, 2016
  • Nov. 5, 2015
  • Nov. 11, 2014
  • Oct. 18, 2013
  • Oct. 5, 2012
  • Oct. 25, 2011
  • Nov. 15, 2010
  • Oct. 21, 2009

And for those who have the whole "the-longer-until-it-snows-the-better" mindset, Denver's latest measurable snowfall date was Nov. 21, 1934 — so it's possible.

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