Most extreme temperatures in the history of every state
As the third-largest country in the world, it's no surprise that weather in the United States varies significantly between the nation's two coasts. As some states are infamous for having blistering hot summers, others become inundated by winter storms.
More than 210 degrees Fahrenheit separates the highest and the lowest temperatures on record in the United States. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the summer of 2019 was the second hottest in a 140-year record in the Northern Hemisphere. At 1.67 degrees Fahrenheit above the average temperature during the 20th century, the heat was so intense it shrunk the average Arctic sea ice coverage for that time of year by 30%.
The heat persisted until October in the U.S., with some parts of Alabama reaching an all-time high of 99 degrees and Baltimore at 98 degrees. Yet, comprehensive data is still not available on how the summer 2019 heatwave broke records.
Before these aggressive heatwaves stifled 131 million Americans, the 2019 polar vortex left people shivering in the bitter cold during January across the Midwest and East Coast. The cold resulted in 50 frostbite victims in Chicago itself.
Stacker consulted 2019 data from the NOAA's State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) to create this slideshow illustrating the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in each state. Each slide also reveals the all-time highest 24-hour precipitation record and all-time highest 24-hour snowfall.
Read on to find out individual state records in alphabetical order. Get ready to learn where the temperature hit 134 degrees—the highest ever recorded in the U.S.—and which two states hold the distinct honor as the locations having the coldest temperatures at -80 degrees and -70 degrees.
You may also like: Natural disasters linked to climate change
- All-time highest temperature: 112° F (Centreville on Sept. 6, 1925)
- All-time lowest temperature: -27° F (New Market 2 on Jan. 30, 1966)
- All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 32.52 inches (Dauphin Island #2 on July 19–20, 1997)
- All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 20 inches (Walnut Grove on March 13, 1993)
Walnut Grove became famous as a town burned during the Civil War. Despite being another subtropical town, on March 13, 1993, it was covered in 20 inches of snow. The extreme weather was termed the "Superstorm of 1993" by the National Weather Service because of its strength (equal to a Category 3 hurricane) and size. At one point, the storm system ran from Eastern Canada to Central America.
- All-time highest temperature: 100° F (Fort Yukon on June 27, 1915)
- All-time lowest temperature: -80° F (Prospect Creek on Jan. 23, 1971)
- All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 15.05 inches (Seward Airport on Oct. 10, 1986)
- All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 78 inches (Mile 47 Camp on Feb. 9, 1963)
Prospect Creek recorded the coldest ever U.S. temperature of -80 degrees in 1971. On Oct. 10, 1986, Seward witnessed the highest rainfall as compared to any other parts of Alaska due to an unrelenting rainstorm. The highways and the railroads took a massive hit during the three-day rainstorm, and the region was declared as a "Federal disaster area." In October 2018, the city of Seward was forced to announce an emergency declaration after facing the wrath of heavy flooding yet again. Nearly 5 inches of rain were recorded following several days of heavy rainfall that caused debris to block several roads.
- All-time highest temperature: 128° F (Lake Havasu City on June 29, 1994)
- All-time lowest temperature: -40° F (Hawley Lake on Jan. 7, 1971)
- All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 11.4 inches (Workman Creek 1 on Sept. 4–5, 1970)
- All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 38 inches (Heber (Black Mesa) Ranger Station on Dec. 14, 1967)
Heber Black Mesa Ranger Station is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Phoenix and is a ranger district on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. On Dec. 14, 1967, this part of Arizona suffered from an unexpected natural disaster in the form of a non-stop snowfall that lasted eight days and came to be known as The Blizzard of 1967.
- All-time highest temperature: 120° F (Ozark on Aug.10, 1936)
- All-time lowest temperature: -29° F (Gravette on Feb.13, 1905)
- All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 14.06 inches (Big Fork 1 SSE on Dec. 3, 1982)
- All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 25 inches (Corning on Jan. 22, 1918)
"The Great Heatwave of 1936" affected around 15 states during its three-week run that brought temperatures above 100 degrees. Still, Ozark topped the charts by reaching 120 degrees. Also known as the "1936 North American Heatwave," it exacerbated the levels of human suffering during the ongoing Great Depression. Little Rock in Arkansas had to endure its hottest summer in 2010 between June and August when the temperature went above 90 degrees for two months.
- All-time highest temperature: 134° F (Greenland Ranch on July 10, 1913)
- All-time lowest temperature: -45° F (Boca on Jan. 20, 1937)
- All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 25.83 inches (Hoegees Fc 60 A on Jan. 22–23, 1943)
- All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 67 inches (Echo Summit Sierra at Tahoe on Jan. 5, 1982)
Greenland Ranch holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded at 134 in 1913. But On Jan. 20, 1937, Boca—a former reservoir located in Nevada County—recorded a mind-numbingly cold temperature of -45 degrees. More recently, in February 2019, news reports observed that June Mountain in the Sierra Nevada, located east of Yosemite National Park, reported 72 inches of snow in 24 hours.
- All-time highest temperature: 114° F (Las Animas on July 1, 1933)
- All-time lowest temperature: -61° F (Maybell on Feb. 1, 1985)
- All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 11.85 inches (USGS Rod & Gun (Ft. Carson) on Sept.12, 2013)
- All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 75.8 inches (Silver Lake on April 14–15, 1921)
During the 2013 floods that took place across Colorado, the highest precipitation levels were recorded on Sept. 12, 2013, at Fort Carson, a United States Army installation located in El Paso County. In September 2019, smaller rainstorms affected Denver that resulted in flash floods and mudslides.
- All-time highest temperature: 106° F (Torrington on Aug. 23, 1916)
- All-time lowest temperature: -32° F (Falls Village on Feb. 16, 1943)
- All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 12.77 inches (Burlington on Aug. 19, 1955)
- All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 36 inches (Ansonia 1 NE on Feb. 8–9, 2013)
On Aug. 19, 1955, The Great Flood of 1955 occurred in Burlington. The last time Connecticut had witnessed such heavy rainfalls was during colonial times. Fast forward to 64 years later to October 2019 when strong winds and heavy rains left thousands of residents without electricity in Wilton, Conn. Following that, coastal flooding warnings were also issued to New Haven and Fairfield counties.
- All-time highest temperature: 110° F (Millsboro on July 21, 1930)
- All-time lowest temperature: -17° F (Millsboro on Jan. 17, 1893)
- All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 8.5 inches (Dover on July 13, 1975)
- All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 25 inches (Dover on Feb. 19, 1979)
Millsboro is one of the two cities in the United States that holds the record for both the highest and lowest temperatures recorded in a state. Also of interest was a major east coast cyclone in 1979 that brought record-breaking snowfall to the Mid-Atlantic states. Because of this, Dover received the most snowfall in the history of Delaware's climate. In comparison to the 25 inches of snow recorded in Dover in February 1979, there were only 4–6 inches of snowfall in January 2019.
- All-time highest temperature: 109° F (Monticello 5 SE on June 29, 1931)
- All-time lowest temperature: -2° F (Tallahassee on Feb.13, 1899)
- All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 23.28 inches (Key West International Airport on Nov.11–12, 1980)
- All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 4 inches (Milton Experiment Station on March 6, 1954)
1980's Hurricane Jeanne indirectly struck Florida's Key West with heavy rainfall after it first formed in the Gulf of Mexico. But it did result in the heaviest rainfall Florida had ever witnessed within one day. Florida was struck in 2004 by four back-to-back major hurricanes within six weeks.
- All-time highest temperature: 112° F (Greenville on Aug. 20, 1983)
- All-time lowest temperature: -17° F (CCC Fire Camp F-16 (near Beatum) on Jan. 27, 1940)
- All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 21.1 inches (Americus on July 6, 1994)
- All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 19.3 inches (Cedartown on March 3, 1942)
The flood of 1994 in Americus on July 6, 1994, included surging floodwaters that entered Americus rapidly and were described as "fierce" by local news outlets. More than 100 small dams in nearby areas had reached their capacity and started washing out directly on the roads. The deluge also damaged the railroad service that took several months to recover even after the floodwaters receded.
You may also like: 20 safety preparations for the weather this summer2018 All rights reserved.