Although winter does not officially begin in the United States until Dec. 21, people across the country have already begun to feel the chill of wintery snow, wind, and numbingly low temperatures. Residents of the Northeast have been hit especially hard, with snow storms resulting in numerous school closings and cancelled flights.
Spanning many climate zones, the United States can experience both extreme hot and cold temperatures. And while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a relatively warmer — though wetter — winter overall this year, certain areas of the country will undoubtedly have lower temperatures than others.
Of course, states like Alaska, home to the lowest temperature ever recorded in the United States – 80 degrees below zero just north of Fairbanks in 1971 – are generally colder than states like Arizona and Florida. Yet temperatures vary drastically within states, even the warmer ones.
24/7 Wall St. has determined the coldest town in each state by identifying those places with the lowest average annual temperatures, based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Many of the coldest towns are found in more rural areas. Urban areas are filled with concrete and asphalt, which absorb thermal and solar energy at much higher rates than natural landscapes and therefore often have higher temperatures than rural areas. Other factors, like the concentration of industry and automobiles, also help explain why temperatures tend to be higher in cities. Here is the hottest city in each state.
One town may also be colder than another due to several geographic features, including elevation, proximity to bodies of water, and distance from the equator. These factors similarly affect the coldest places on the planet where people live, some of which are in North America.