What are the top five coldest cities to live in the Unites States? Here’s our list (updated in 2015), based on NOAA data covering history averages from 1981 to 2010.
No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.
As you might expect, the five coldest cities are in the northern regions—and many of these cities also boast record snowfall. Are there any surprises here?
1. Fairbanks, Alaska
If you want consistent cold, go to Fairbanks. On average, the minimum monthly temperature is a balmy –16. 9 with a monthly high of 62.3 F. Can you imagine what those minimum temperatures feel like with windchill? The amount of snow is also impressive, as Fairbanks boasts a monthly average of 66.1 inches.
2. Grand Forks, North Dakota
It doesn’t take a big brain to figure out that some of the coldest cities are near the Canadian border. The coldest city in the contiguous United States is Grand Folks. The minimum monthly temperature is –3.1 F, on average, with the maximum monthly temperature reaching 56. 3.
3. Fargo, North Dakota
Once again, North Dakota makes the list with the famous Fargo of move fame. The average monthly minimum temperature is only 0.1 F with a high of 59.5 F. (Don’t the highs seem quite warm comparatively?) If you’re a snow lover, how does an average annual snowfall of 42.4 inches sound?
4. Williston, North Dakota
Are we on repeat? Giving Fargo a run for its money, smaller Williston also boasts an average monthly minimum temperature of 0.1 F—with a maximum of 55.8 F. The snow falls and falls at 43.8 inches per year.
5. Duluth, Minnesota
If you’re a snow lover (or snow miser), then Duluth beats out the Dakotas on the white stuff with an incredible average annual snowfall of 81.5 inches per year! The average minimum temperature is a chilly 1.5 F per month with a maximum of 55.4 F.
Other Cold Cities to Watch
We’d share the rest of the top cities but it gets a little repetitive with Minnesota and the Dakotas dominating the list. One standout is Marquette, Michigan. It’s in the top 10 list and averages more than 144 inches of snow per year. In 2014, 350 inches of snow fell in Marquette.
To add interest, let’s highlight some cities that are not located near Canadian border but are wintry cities familiar to your travels. If you’re planning any winter plane trips, keep an eye on the weather!
Nor’easter storms translate to heavy rainfall, snow, and freezing temperatures. Boston has experienced some of the top blizzards in the past century.
The “Windy City” (which isn’t actually that windy) has one of the coldest average temperatures and some of the heaviest snowfalls. Many of the worst storms in history have hit Chicago.
Due to its location near Lake Erie, this city gets hard by lake-effect snow, winds, and subzero temperatures.
With over 40 inches of snow every winter, on average, Detroit also ranks as one of the coldest U.S. cities.
Both midwestern cities have many similarities, including the low normal daily mean temperatures in winter months, many frigid days, and ample snowfall.
Not only does this city rank high on snowfall and have low average winter temperatures, but it’s also below freezing on your average winter day.
Not only does Minneapolis boast a top ranking for snowfall but it’s consistently one of the very coldest of all of our cities.
What are the coldest cities you’ve ever been to? Share your comments below.