Boulder resident Doug Hanson moves a broken tree limb Saturday morning on 16th Street. Hanson was among the neighbors cleaning up damage after a late-spring snowstorm Friday downed a number of tree branches. (Kelsey Hammon)

Doug Hanson paused from moving branches to wring water from his gloves Saturday morning.

Hanson, who wore a shorts and snow boots combo, was helping drag broken tree limbs, dripping with melting snow, from his 16th Street neighbor’s front yard to the curb of the Boulder street.

As he did, Betina Koski, another resident in the neighborhood just off Baseline Road, paused to take in the damage from the late-spring snowstorm. The heavy, wet snow, which started Friday after summer-like temperatures on Thursday, led many Boulder residents to spend the first part of their weekend assessing their homes and yards.

Russell Danielson, meteorologist for National Weather Service Boulder, said the city saw between 4.5 to 8.5 inches of snow and 1.2 inches of liquid. Meteorologist Greg Byrd said the neighboring Longmont area saw between 1 to 2 inches of snow and roughly 0.86 inches of liquid.

As of Saturday afternoon, Michelle Aguayo, an Xcel Energy spokesperson, said roughly 2,200 Boulder customers were experiencing power outages.

“That number is fluctuating as crews continue their restoration work,” Aguayo said.

She said customers should call 1-800-895-1999 to report their outage. They can also use this number to report downed power lines.

The snow led to a last-minute change in location for Friday’s Boulder Valley School District graduations, which initially had been planned to be outdoors at Boulder’s Recht Field. Instead, they took place indoors at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield. Erie’s hot air balloon launch was canceled Friday and Saturday, with Sunday to be determined. State track and field events were postponed, according to the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Facebook page. Track and field events resumed Saturday afternoon and Sunday’s schedule was updated.

As the snow fell Friday night, Koski said she was outside between 9:30 and 10 p.m. trying to save her trees by knocking the accumulating snow off the branches she could reach. That’s how a broom ended up getting stuck snugly in the topmost branches of one of her trees.

“It worked pretty well,” Koski said. “We got a lot of snow off (the trees).”

A flower bed her son had just finished planting for her in honor of Mother’s Day was tucked under the fabric of a tent. As she took in the fallen branches along 16th Street, she said she hadn’t yet checked to see how the plants fared.

While she did lose some large branches from the crabapple trees in her front and back yards, as well as some branches from a maple tree, her efforts did pay off. The trees with branches she was able to reach to get the snow off weren’t broken.

Hanson said he moved eight potted plants in his garage.

“I moved them inside the garage so that they didn’t die, because, of course, Mother’s Day, we planted like we do every year,” Hanson said. “Every year I have to move them at some point, because of a freeze or a hailstorm or whatever.”

Hanson used stakes and an outdoor furniture cover to try to save the plants on the ground. He didn’t lose any tree branches.

“This is the first year we didn’t have any trees break,” Hanson said.

However, he spent his Saturday morning helping drag branches from an older neighbor’s front lawn to the street curb. If there’s a silver lining to the damage, Koski said the aftermath of the storm has at least brought neighbors together to help one another.

Over in Longmont, the snow was melting fast by 10 a.m., with patches of it largely remaining only in the cooler shadows and dripping off rooftops.

Scott and Judy Martinson, of Longmont, walk their dogs Miles and Banjo around Golden Ponds on Saturday. In the background, the Rocky Mountains are covered in snow from a late- spring snowstorm. (Kelsey Hammon)
Scott and Judy Martinson, of Longmont, walk their dogs Miles and Banjo around Golden Ponds on Saturday. In the background, the Rocky Mountains are covered in snow from a late- spring snowstorm. (Kelsey Hammon)

Many walking at Golden Ponds paused to look west and take in the views of the snow-covered mountains. Longmont residents Scott and Judy Martinson walked their dogs Miles and Banjo around the water early Saturday.

“I had to cover a lot of raspberries,” Judy Martinson said, when asked for her thoughts on the late spring snow.

“We need the moisture,” Scott Martinson said. “But, I would have liked it if it was rain and not snow.”

Photographer Maureen Ruddy Burkhart stood on the shore Saturday morning capturing shots of swallows eating mosquitoes just over the surface of the water.

“I love it,” Ruddy Burkhart said of the weather. “Because we have clouds in the sky. It makes for better photos.”

The Westminster resident said it did break a lot of branches in her neighborhood, though.

“It’s kind of a typical spring snow,” Ruddy Burkhart said.

Back at the Boulder National Weather Service Office, Danielson called the spring snowstorm “somewhat rare, but not unprecedented.” One thing he acknowledged was that the moisture was welcome.

“It was a wet January through March, (but) we really dried out in April. We had a little rain and snow in early May,” Danielson said. “This 1.2 inches of liquid will help drought and fire weather conditions for at least two to three weeks, maybe more than that.”

While the snowfall was significant, it didn’t set any records. He cited a 1931 snowfall in Boulder, which brought 19 inches to the city May 20 and 21. Similarly, Byrd said that Longmont’s latest measurable snowfall was recorded in 1950, when 3 inches fell on May 25. He noted that Longmont last received 1.8 inches of snow on May 21, 2019.

Danielson said more moisture is ahead. The National Weather Service forecasts a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m. Sunday for the Denver-Boulder area and the possibility of more showers and thunderstorms Monday.

“It was likely the last snow of the spring season, but you can never say never,” Danielson said.

Downed tree limbs in Boulder:

For trees on public land, which can be between the street and sidewalk, residents can submit a request through the city’s customer service portal at

For trees on private land, residents are asked to bundle limbs curbside for compost by Western Disposal. Limbs longer than 6 feet can be trimmed down to the appropriate size for pickup. If the limb is larger than 6 inches in diameter, it will likely require the support of an arborist. Ali Rhodes, Boulder Parks and Recreation director, advised residents to visit a list of licensed arborists and contractors at

For frequently asked questions on trees, visit

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Kelsey Hammon
2022-05-22 00:35:11
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