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Denver weather: City breaks 128-year cold record on Tuesday

This winter, April showers have brought May snowfall and record low temperatures.

Denver broke a 128-year record low maximum temperature record on Tuesday. With a high of just 39 degrees, it broke the previous record for the previous coldest May 21 high temperature – snapping the old record of 40 degrees from way back in 1891.

With temperatures expected to slowly decrease tonight, Denver Int'l Airport will set a record coldest high temperature today with a high of 39°. This breaks the previous record of 40° set in 1891. DIA is also on track to tie the record low of 31° set most recently in 2001. #COwx

— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) May 22, 2019

Tuesday’s high temperature staying stuck in the 30s brought Denver into nearly uncharted waters. It marked the second-latest high temperature of 39 degrees or below, according to the National Weather Service’s official archives.

Denver’s average high for May 21 is 73 degrees — meaning Tuesday’s high was a mere 34 degrees below average.

In addition, Denver tied a record low of 31 degrees on Tuesday morning.

The bitter and unseasonably cold air came from a variety of factors. First and foremost, an unusually strong storm system for this time of the year pulled in tons of cold air, and just enough to change a cold rain over to a period of heavy, wet snow on Monday night. That same snow coverage helped insulate the ground, keeping air temperatures colder than ground that isn’t snow-covered. Finally, cloud cover also trapped in most of the cold throughout Tuesday, barring the typically warm late May sunshine from helping raise temperatures.

While it’ll remain far colder than average on both Wednesday and Thursday, high temperatures should return to the low 50s, before a milder end of the week and Memorial Day weekend.

Chris Bianchi is a meteorologist from WeatherNation TV.

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