What is the coldest city in the United States? Winter temperatures in the United States vary greatly between the northern and southern halves of the country. In many parts of the US, however, temperatures drop below freezing (0°C/ 32°F) during winter months.
Some cities have recently been experiencing record-breaking temperatures. Chicago, for example, experienced its coldest temperature in 34 years on January 30, 2019, of -23°F. Wind chills reached anywhere from -30°F to -50°F. Chicago, however, is not one of the coldest cities in the United States on average.
Most of the extreme winter weather conditions are experienced in December and January. Extreme winter weather can have several negative effects on communities, including shutting down roads, causing accidents, and preventing the operation of public transportation. Additionally, extreme winter weather leads to power outages, fallen trees and, in severe cases, structures, and can lead to hypothermia and trouble breathing. Unfortunately, extreme winter conditions and winter storms have led to the deaths of many.
Some cities are better equipped to handle winter conditions than others. Northern cities typically have snowplows, supplies of ice-melting salt, and other precautionary means to deal with extreme winter weather. Southern cities, however, have more subtropical climates the usually lack such supplies and smaller amounts of snow have the potential to send these areas into a state of emergency. For example, Atlanta, Georgia experienced three inches of snowfall in 2014 that stranded students in school and brought traffic to a complete standstill.
The ten coldest cities in the United States, based on minimum average temperature, are:
- Fairbanks, Alaska
- Grand Forks, North Dakota
- Williston, North Dakota
- Fargo, North Dakota
- Duluth, Minnesota
- Aberdeen, South Dakota
- St. Cloud, Minnesota
- Bismarck, North Dakota
- Marquette, Michigan
- Huron, South Dakota
The cold recorded temperature ever in the United States was -66°F in Fairbanks, Alaska. Fairbanks also has the coldest minimum average temperature of -16.9°F.