While the East bakes, Colorado digs out from a late snowstorm.

While the East bakes, Colorado digs out from a late snowstorm.

As millions of people in the Northeast faced weekend temperatures that may near triple digits, the situation was far different in the Mountain West: the Denver metropolitan area was hit with a wet and heavy late-spring snowfall.

Snow in May is not unheard of in Denver. July and August are the only months of the year when the city has never recorded measurable snow. Even so, a significant snowstorm arriving well past Mother’s Day raises eyebrows.

Denver itself had registered just 2.3 inches of snow by 7 a.m. Saturday, but in its western suburbs and the nearby Rocky Mountain foothills, the story was far more wintry. Boulder recorded 8.3 inches by 7 a.m. Saturday, and Golden had 10.7 inches by then. The small mountain town of Nederland, about 18 miles west of Boulder, was blanketed by 16.5 inches, and the National Weather Service reported a total of 20.2 inches near Idaho Springs, west of Denver along Interstate 70.

The storm disrupted travel through Denver International Airport, with 581 delays and 228 flight cancellations on Friday and another 50 cancellations and nearly 100 delays reported by 9 a.m. Saturday, according to FlightAware.

The utility company Xcel Energy said on Saturday morning that it was responding to more than 700 reports of power loss in its Denver metro service area, where the snow brought down countless tree branches. More than 62,500 electricity customers were affected.

As disruptive as the unseasonal snowfall has been, any moisture on any date is welcomed by people living in Colorado’s drought-and wildfire-prone Front Range region, which includes Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs. Sections of Boulder County were ravaged in December and January when hurricane-force winds whipped the Marshall fire across the dry landscape, destroying more than a thousand homes.

“The state was really having some bad, dry conditions for the spring,” said Matthew Kelsch, a hydrometeorologist and Boulder’s official climate observer. “This helps the Front Range, not the entire state,” he said of the snowfall. “But for this region, this was a big help.”

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