Top 10 Coldest States in the US

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coldest states in the us
By: Luigi Torreggiani/Flickr @Copyright 2012



It is a very well-known fact that the United States is one of the places in the world that is an amalgamation of many different climate types. Beaches? Sure, you’ll find a lot of those here! What about deserts? You got those too! But we are here to see the coldest states in the US.

So what about the picture-perfect, typical scenes of snowed-in Christmasses, with snowmen being built, and people shoveling the white substance out of the driveway because five inches had collected overnight? You guessed right, and the US has that too!

Since most of its northern states are situated at quite a distance from the equator(which is usually a marker for the average temperature of a place- the closer to the equator an area is, the hotter its average temperatures will be: that’s why states like Florida and Hawaii stay warm all through the year.

The reverse is also true, which is why many states in the US have some of the coldest months with low temperatures for much of the year. Some states also have fun activities we can do in the winter season.

Here is a list of the coldest states in the entire US, complete with the weather and climate and the mean temperature we can observe there.

Let us see the ten coldest states in the US, starting with Alaska, which houses the coldest city in the US.

Top 10 hardest states in the US

alaska
By: jesulvis/Flickr @Copyright 2016

1. Alaska

Brr! America’s coldest state is none other than Alaska. It is situated in the most northern and western corners of the United States. It sees an average annual temperature of 26.6°F. This is contrasted by the average winter temperature, though, which sees the coldest temperature range possible in the country- lows of about -30°F.

Alaska’s severe weather patterns can be attributed to ocean currents. The Fairbanks area, crowned America’s coldest city, in particular, shows the entire spectrum of temperatures- summertime sees a high temperature of about 90°F while the winter is equally extreme in the opposite way- winters in Caribou witness lows of about -50°F.

Yes, you read that right. The temperature is so low that it was 50 in the negatives! Alaska is truly a place that would numb you to all other winters, as it is quite possibly one of the most extreme ones you may ever witness.

2. North Dakota

Following closely on Alaska’s heels is the state of North Dakota. It occupies the position of the second coldest state. It is said to be the coldest state of the entire Continental United States. This is primarily due to the position of North Dakota, which is at the far northern end of the Midwest region of the US.

The continental climate in North Dakota is such that the average annual temperature is 40.4 degrees Fahrenheit. This is even more extreme in the winter, where it can be observed that the mean temperatures in North Dakota are about 24 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is no wonder, then, that we see that four out of the top ten coldest cities in the USA belong to North Dakota. That is how cold of a state it is. Most of North Dakota is flat land with little vegetation, making it easy for strong winds to flow through them. North Dakota also houses Grand Forks, which owns the coldest city in the Continental United States.

Some popular winter activities that are made possible by these harsh climates in North Dakota are playing ice hockey, cross-country skiing, and the extremely popular activity, snowboarding.

3. Maine

Housing the ever-snowing Caribou city, Maine, takes third place in the top 10 coldest cities. Maine sees an average temperature of 41°F. The Winter season in Maine involves cold weather accompanied by heavy and large amounts of snowfall.

Hence it is no surprise that this state sees an average low coldest temperature of 12°F.

maine
By: Amy Meredith/Flickr @Copyright 2017

A lot of Maine is unoccupied and uninhabitable because of its harsh winters. The south side, however, has milder winters. The city of Caribou, as mentioned earlier, recorded at least 1 inch of snowfall for almost a third of the year.

4. Minnesota

Minnesota occupies fourth place in the top 10 coldest states list. It is a state which is the most northern out of the 48 conterminous states. It is known to have some of the harshest and coldest winters ever seen in the United States.

minnesota
By: Tim Griffin/Flickr @Copyright 200

Minnesota’s unpleasant weather could be because it is close to Lake Superior, which is also in the upper Midwest area. The northern parts of Minnesota are said to have the possibility of frost at any given month of the year.

Minnesota experiences extreme average lows of -30°F, which is why it is described as having some of the most bitter winters in the entire country.

The state’s climate has a mean temperature of 41.2°F- but its latitude ensures that it has some of the most bitter winters seen in the entire US. The winters of Minnesota see lows of -30°F in the northern region, especially cold along Lake Superior.

5. Wyoming

shutterstock 1963738030
By: Mgwilmoth on Shutterstock

The state of Wyoming takes the place of the 5th coldest state in the US; its winter is described to be frigid and harsh. Wyoming sees average temperatures of 42°F. However, the minimum average temperature can drop below the 0°F mark in the winter.

The mountains of this state can see an average annual snowfall of up to 200 inches. On the other hand, Plains receive an average yearly snowfall of up to 50 inches.

6. Montana

Montana is one of the states in the Mountain West subregion of the Western US. It takes its position on our list as the sixth coldest state, with an average temperature of 42.7°F. Montana, back in 1954, recorded its lowest temperature ever- a whopping -70°F!

montana mountain
By: edk7/Flickr @Copyright 2008

Montana, like other states, sees its coldest month in January, where the average temperature is 0°F. Montana sees two types of the winter season: in the eastern section of Montana, the winter is described as more brutal and harsh.

It has a semi-arid and continental climate. This is opposed to the winter seen in the eastern part of Montana, where the winter is milder and comparable to the coastline.

7. Vermont

Vermont occupies the seventh position in our list. It records an average temperature of 42.9°F. During the winter season, the mean temperature is 22°F. The winter season in Vermont also sees an average low of 2°F.

stowe, vermont
By: Peter Rintels/Flickr @Copyright 2008

The summer in Vermont is comparatively pleasant, with the temperature being a warmer 75°F to 82°F during the day. During the nights, temperatures drop to the 50s range.

The average annual snowfall in the state is recorded to be 89.25 inches. It is also one of the states which snow the most on our list.

8. Wisconsin

wisconsin winter
By: Ron Frazier/Flickr @Copyright 2015

Wisconsin is also one of the coldest cities in the US. It is flanked on two sides by two factors that influence its climate; it is surrounded by Lake Superior and Lake Michigan on two parts of the state border.

It thus records an average temperature of 43.1°F. The winters of this state are known to be lengthy in duration, with a harsh cold.

The northern and western parts of the state see an average annual snowfall of 160 inches compared to the rest of the state, which receives about 40 inches.

9. Idaho

Idaho takes its place as the ninth coldest state in the US. It is located in the midwest zone, near the Great Lakes, which is the reason for its cold climate. On most days, its average temperature is 44 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Winter season sees Idaho’s mean low temperatures drop from -2°F to 22°F. Popular winter activity in this region is dog sliding.

10. New Hampshire

New Hampshire sees an average temperature of 48.3°F and takes the place of the 10th coldest US state. January is the coldest month in New Hampshire, which records mean temperatures ranging from -4°F to 15°F.

The reason for New Hampshire’s cold climate could be attributed to the high arctic winds coming from Canada, which target the northernmost parts of this state.

winter in new hampshire
By: Peter Rintels/Flickr @Copyright 2020

Thus, we saw a list of the team coldest cities in the US. Which one are you visiting next? Make sure to pack some winter supplies, as some of these places get extremely cold.

Winters is all about exploring the best places, and all these 10 states that we have mentioned here, although are the coldest states in the US, are worth every visit.

All these states offers different winter attractions throughout the months for the visitors. So, enjoy your winters in the US.

Also read: Best Time to Go to Puerto Rico.

Top 10 Hottest States In The United States
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