The Coldest Temperature Ever Recorded in Every State
Considering even Florida has hit below zero, your state's coldest temperature might surprise you!
Most of us dread when temperatures start to drop, but one thing that might make you feel better in the freezing cold is knowing that chances are high it could always be worse—much worse. For example, the next time you're on the verge of cursing mother nature when you wake up to see that it's 25 degrees Fahrenheit outside, you can find solace in the fact that in 1943, the temperature in Idaho was 85 degrees colder than that! Curious to learn how low the temperature has gotten in your home state? Here's every U.S. state's coldest temperature on record, per data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Editor's note: All temperatures are measured in degrees Fahrenheit.
On Jan. 30, 1966, Alabamans experienced their coldest temperature to date. In Madison County, the thermometer read a chilly -27° with "12 inches of snow on the ground," according to the AlabamaWX Weather Blog.
Alaska is famously freezing. However, the coldest it's ever been was -80° on Jan. 23, 1971. The frigid figure was recorded in Prospect Creek at an elevation of about 955 feet, making it the coldest temperature ever documented in the U.S.
It's hard to imagine needing a winter coat in sunny Arizona. And yet, on Jan. 7, 1971, the temperature around Hawley Lake dropped to -40°, setting the state's record for the coldest temperature ever recorded.
It's been a long time since Arkansas saw its lowest temperature ever. On Feb. 13, 1905, a low of -29° was recorded in the city of Gravette—and it hasn't gotten any colder than that in nearly 115 years.
Movies and TV shows might depict California as a place of year-round fun in the sun, but in reality, there are several parts of the state that get quite cold in the winter. Places like Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains and Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains are even known for their skiing and snowboarding!
It should come as no surprise, then, that at one point—on Jan. 20, 1937, to be exact—a record-setting low of -45° was recorded in the historic town of Boca, California, which is also in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
In Colorado, a state that's known for its winter sports, it's not surprising when temperatures reach bitter-cold levels. However, residents of the rural village of Maybell were probably not prepared on Feb. 1, 1985 for the state's record low of -61°!
To date, Connecticut has reached its record low temperature of -32° twice. The first time was on Feb. 16, 1943, in the town of Falls Village, and the second was on Jan. 22, 1961, in the town of Coventry.
Good news for Delaware residents: The state's coldest temperature was recorded all the way back in 1893. That chilly low of -17° on Jan. 17 hasn't been beaten since.
You might want to double-check the forecast before you head to Florida for your warm winter getaway. On Feb. 13, 1899, temperatures in Tallahassee reached a record low of -2°. That's not exactly ideal beach weather!
Georgia winters might normally be mild—but on Jan. 27, 1940, the temperature in the state reached a record low of -17°.
When you think of the state of Hawaii, the picture that probably comes to mind is a sun-soaked seaside resort and a poolside bar serving up piña coladas. However, things aren't always as we imagine them—and they certainly weren't on both Jan. 5, 1975, and May 17, 1979, when the temperature at the Mauna Kea Observatory on the state's big island of Hawaii dropped to a record low of just 12°. Still, Hawaii's lowest recorded temperature ever is the highest of all 50 states by an impressive 14 degrees.
On Jan. 18, 1943, it's unlikely that the people of Idaho were spending too much time outside. That's when the state hit its record low temperature of -60°.
Illinoisans likely remember the lowest temperature ever recorded in their state, considering it happened recently—Jan. 31, 2019, to be exact. On that day, the temperature in Mount Carroll dropped to -38°.
On Jan. 19, 1994, Indiana saw its lowest temperature ever: -36°. The shiver-inducting temperature was recorded in the town of New Whiteland, just 30 minutes outside of Indianapolis.
The coldest it's ever been in Iowa—a chilly -47°—actually occurred on two separate occasions. The first time was on Jan. 12, 1912, in the city of Washta, and it happened again on Feb. 3, 1996, in the city of Elkader. And be on the lookout for other 1996 record lows on this list—that was the year a severe nor'easter dumped up to four feet of snow on many parts of the Northeast.
The winter of 1905 was a chilly one for Kansas inhabitants. And Feb. 13 was an especially brutal day that year: The state hit a record low of -40°. It was the same day on which the nearby states of Arkansas and Missouri also saw their coldest temperatures ever recorded!
On Jan. 19, 1994—the same day as Indiana's record low—Kentucky residents really had to bundle up. When the temperature dropped to -37°, a new state record was set.
Though the temperature in the Southern state of Louisiana has never gotten as low as it has in some states up north, it's still managed to reach below freezing. In fact, on Feb. 13, 1899, it reached a record low of -16°, a bit colder than Florida's record low on the same day.
Maine is about as far north as you can get on east coast. Therefore, it's of little surprise that on Jan. 16, 2009, the temperature in the state dropped to -50°, the lowest it's ever been.
Maryland might be known for its crabs and coastline, but it can actually get mighty cold in the state during the winter. Case in point: On Jan. 13, 1912, the temperature reached a record low of -40°.
The coldest temperature Massachusetts has ever experienced is also -40°. The state saw the frighteningly freezing temperature on Jan. 22, 1984, in the city of Chester.
The winter of 1934 was especially bad for Michigan citizens. On Feb. 9 of that year, the state experienced its lowest temperature ever recorded: -51°.
Minnesotans had a valid excuse not to go outside on Feb. 2, 1996: The temperature that day hit -60°, the state's coldest on record.
Mississippi doesn't usually see sub-zero temperatures, but that isn't to say that they haven't seen any. On Jan. 30, 1966, the same day as Alabama's record low, the temperature dropped all the way down to -19°.
Midwestern states like Missouri can get pretty cold in the winter months. And the Show Me State demonstrated just how cold it can get on Feb. 13, 1905, with a record low of -40°.
If visiting Montana is on your bucket list, your best bet is to make it a summer trip. The winters there can be frigid, as was the case on Jan. 20, 1954, when the state saw a record low of -70°.
The state of Nebraska reached its lowest temperature ever, -47°, twice: The bone-chilling temperature was recorded on Feb. 12, 1899, and Dec. 22, 1989.
When you're in Nevada, you're in the desert, so we understand why you'd think it can't possibly get too cold there. But, on Jan. 8, 1937, Nevada's temperature dropped all the way down to -50°, its coldest temperature ever recorded.
New Hampshire: -50°
New England might be charming during Christmastime, but it certainly isn't warm. In the state of New Hampshire, for instance, the temperature reached a record low of -50° on Jan. 22, 1885.
New Jersey: -34°
Though New Jersey winters are typically cold, the state's coldest temperature ever recorded is surprisingly mild—compared to some others', at least. On Jan. 5, 1904, the temperature reached its record low of -34°, the same as another southern state on this list!
New Mexico: -50°
New Mexico might border the go-to beach getaway destination that is Mexico, but that doesn't mean it doesn't get cold there. On Feb. 1, 1951, the temperature dropped to -50°, setting the record for the state's coldest temperature ever recorded.
New York: -52°
Anyone who lives in upstate New York knows how cold the state can get. However, many Manhattanites probably haven't experienced the state's coldest temperatures, the worst of which occurred on Feb. 18, 1979 in the hamlet of Old Forge. So, how cold was it? -52°.
North Carolina: -34°
If you plan on spending Christmas in North Carolina, you might want to pack some extra layers. Though its winters are warm compared to places like Maine, the temperature dropped all the way down to -34° on Jan. 21, 1985, a record low for North Carolinians.
North Dakota: -60°
North Dakota can get seriously cold in the wintertime. However, it's been nearly a century since the state saw its record low, -60°, on Feb. 15, 1936.
Ohio residents know that it's time to bundle up once the fall comes around. But the lowest temperature the state has ever seen is -39°; this well-below-freezing temperature was recorded on Feb. 10, 1899.
The winter of 2011 was an especially brutal one for Oklahoma residents. It was during this season—and more specifically, on Feb. 10—that the record for the coldest temperature was set at -31°.
Oregon's temperature dropped to a record low of -54° in 1933. And the worst part is that this temperature happened on two consecutive days: Feb. 9 and Feb. 10.
Whoever said that it's always sunny in Philadelphia must not have been around in 1904. On Jan. 5 of that year, the temperature reached a record low of -42°, which was 12 degrees colder than the Garden State's record low on that same date.
Rhode Island: -28°
It's been a while since the coldest temperature ever recorded happened in Rhode Island. It reached an arctic -28° on Jan. 17, 1942.
South Carolina: -22°
The Southern state of South Carolina doesn't tend to get too cold, but it has definitely had its moments. On Jan. 21, 1985, the same day as North Carolina's record low, the temperature in Landrum, South Carolina, dropped to -22°.
South Dakota: -58°
South Dakota has seen some pretty low temperatures throughout history. Its lowest, though, was -58°, and that happened on Feb. 17, 1936.
On December 30, 1917, just before the new year, Tennessee saw a record low temperature of -32°.
The temperature in Texas is usually pretty mild, but that isn't to say it doesn't cool down once in a while. On both Feb. 12, 1899, and Feb. 8, 1933, it hit -23°, a record low for the Lone Star State.
Utah is much more than deserts and arid landscapes. In fact, on Feb. 1, 1985, the temperature dropped all the way down to -69°.
People love to visit the winter wonderland that is Vermont for some seriously intense skiing and snowboarding. So, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that the coldest temperature ever recorded in the state—on Dec. 30, 1933—is -50°.
Virginia is for lovers—and for people who can brave the cold, apparently. On Jan. 22, 1985, the temperature in the state was the coldest it's ever been: -30°.
Though Washington isn't far from sunny California, the two states' climates are nothing alike. In fact, on Dec. 30, 1968, the temperature in Washington dropped to a record low of -48°.
West Virginia: -37°
People who moved to West Virginia to escape the cold were in for a surprise in 1917. It was on Dec. 30 of that year that the temperature in the state reached a record low of -37°, which was the same day Tennessee saw its coldest temperature ever.
The winter of 1996 was brutal all across the U.S., but it was especially cold in Wisconsin. On both Feb. 2 and Feb. 4 of that year, the temperature dipped to -55°.
Wyoming might be known for its scenic national parks, but we'd suggest you stay clear of them in the wintertime. That's because the temperature tends to drop to dangerously cold levels. On Feb. 9, 1933, it hit a record low of -66°, the same day as one of Oregon's recorded lows.