When winter sets in, the temperatures begin to drop, and the possibility of snowstorms increases, you may wonder what’s the lowest temperature your state may have ever recorded. An interesting fact about the US is that every continental state in the country has experienced subzero temperatures.
The record for the coldest temperature was set in Alaska on January 23, 1971—the mercury plummeted to 80 degrees below zero in Prospect Creek (north of Fairbanks) in central Alaska. The coldest temperature ever recorded in the contiguous US was 70 degrees below zero, measured on January 20, 1954, at Rogers Pass, Montana.
The oldest record dates back to January 22, 1885, when the temperature plunged to 50 degrees subzero on Mount Washington, New Hampshire (the highest peak in the Northeast). The most recent record was set in Nowata, Oklahoma, when the mercury dipped to 31 degrees below zero on February 10, 2011.
In the Northeast, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire have witnessed 50 degrees subzero as the coldest temperature. New York experienced the coldest temperature in the region at 52 degrees below zero, while Delaware has the record for the warmest temperature—17 degrees below zero.
In the South, the coldest temperatures recorded were when the mercury in Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Georgia dropped to the teens below zero, and in Tennessee, to 32 degrees subzero.
In the Midwest, temperature records differ between states near and northwest of the Great Lakes to those situated south of the Great Lakes. While Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan have recorded ranging between 45 and 55 degrees subzero, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois have measured records ranging up to 30 degrees subzero.
In the West, elevation and being in the interior affects the temperatures. Since Rogers Pass, Montana, located in the Continental Divide, is at an elevation of 5,610 feet above sea level, it’s no surprise it recorded the coldest temperature ever in the US. In Arizona, the record was set at Hawley Lake (8,200 feet above sea level), when the temperature plummeted to 40 degrees below zero.