Last week a huge storm raced across Texas and moved into the northeastern United States. The damage it caused was widespread, particularly in Texas. At one point, over 2.5 million people had no electricity. Some cities set near century-old record low temperatures, as the cold wind whipped down from Canada. Many homes and businesses still are without electricity, and frozen pipes have cut off water to many places.
Texas is rarely the coldest place in the United States on any given day. Temperatures in winter can fall below zero in the northern tier of states. It rare for temperatures to drop to double digits below zero, though. However, this kind of weather is normal in a few other places around the world.
In Vostok, Antarctica, it is 79 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. It is nearly that cold in several other places in Antarctica today. Vostok Station is a research facility put there in 1957 by the Russians. It is in an area of the continent called Princess Elizabeth Land, which is located in the part of Antarctica that is in the direction of Australia. It is also about 800 miles from the Geographic South Pole.
One reason that it is regularly frigid in Vostok is that it is at 11,447 feet above sea level. That is about as high as Baldy Mountain, one of the highest places in New Mexico.
The temperature in Vostok is coldest from March to August when the average low temperature is −70 degrees. The average high on those days is −60 degrees. The warmest month is January, when the average high is −27 degrees and the average low is −37 degrees. Total precipitation across the year is about 22 inches, with a figure close to zero from December through February.
Because Vostok is so far south, the sun does not rise from May through August.
As if the cold air in Vostok is not enough, the wind chill reached a record −200 degrees on August 24, 2005.