Special Report

The 22 Coldest Towns in North America

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Spring is now underway across most of the United States. In the northern part of the country, snows are melting, and average high temperatures are above 60 degrees. In the south, temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, not yet reaching unbearable summer heat levels. However, the United States is vast and North America even larger, and not all areas in North America are now experiencing anything like what would be considered by many the typical spring weather. 

Temperature variations by area can be the result of proximity to major bodies of water and elevation, but mostly they are due to distance from the equator. The further north, the lower the temperature, and heading north on the map reveals some towns and cities where hundreds and even thousands of residents live most of the year in below-freezing temperatures.

To determine the coldest towns in North America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed average temperature data from the Global Historical Climate Network of the National Centers for Environmental Information of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Towns were ranked based on the average year-round temperature from 2011 to 2020 of the nearest weather station, and only places with populations of at least 1,000 residents were included.

In many of the 22 places on this list, average April temperatures are still well below freezing, and in a few places, even still below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, during the winter, these towns get even colder. In Pond Inlet, Canada, temperatures in the month of February 2011 averaged almost -25°F. The hottest month in Pond Inlet in the past decade was August 2019, when the average recorded temperature reached 48.5°F. 

The majority of the places on this list are in Canada, and there are a few in Greenland. As might be expected, the American cities that make this list are all in Alaska. While they do not make this list, there are still plenty of places in the lower 48 states that get shockingly cold in the Winter. These are the coldest towns in every U.S. state.

Click here to see the 22 coldest towns in North America.
Click here to read our detailed methodology.

Source: By TheTrueNorthStrongAndFree1 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74012670

22. Thompson, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 26.9°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 24.3°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -8.5°F (January)
> Weather station elevation: 223m above sea level
> Population: 13,678

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Source: Jasonbook99 / Wikimedia Commons

21. Gillam, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 26.5°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 23.3°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -11.3°F (January)
> Weather station elevation: 145m above sea level
> Population: 1,265

Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library / Wikimedia Commons

20. Kotzebue city, Alaska
> Avg. year-round temperature: 26.4°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 19.4°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: 2.2°F (January)
> Weather station elevation: 9m above sea level
> Population: 3,287

Source: Vadim_Nefedov / Getty Images

19. Aasiaat, Greenland
> Avg. year-round temperature: 26.1°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 18.4°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: 7.6°F (March)
> Weather station elevation: 41m above sea level
> Population: 3,069

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Source: nevereverro / iStock via Getty Images

18. Ilulissat, Greenland
> Avg. year-round temperature: 25.8°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 19.3°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: 7.3°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 29m above sea level
> Population: 4,670

Source: ti1993 / iStock via Getty Images

17. Yellowknife, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 25.0°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 20.4°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -11.3°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 206m above sea level
> Population: 19,569

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Source: sarkophoto / iStock via Getty Images

16. Tok, Alaska
> Avg. year-round temperature: 24.6°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 30.9°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -11.8°F (December)
> Weather station elevation: 495m above sea level
> Population: 1,289

Source: Celine Bisson / iStock via Getty Images

15. Kuujjuaq, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 23.6°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 15.1°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -10.6°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 40m above sea level
> Population: 2,754

Source: boris_schaarschmidt / iStock via Getty Images

14. Upernavik, Greenland
> Avg. year-round temperature: 22.1°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 12.3°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -0.7°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 126m above sea level
> Population: 1,092

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Source: Ian Schofield / Wikimedia Commons

13. Inukjuak, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 21.2°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 10.6°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -13.6°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 25m above sea level
> Population: 1,757

Source: eppicphotography / iStock via Getty Images

12. Inuvik, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 21.2°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 12.6°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -9.8°F (January)
> Weather station elevation: 103m above sea level
> Population: 3,243

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11. Cape Dorset, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 18.1°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 8.1°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -11.9°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 50m above sea level
> Population: 1,441

Source: Wildnerdpix / iStock via Getty Images

10. Pangnirtung, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 17.7°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 8.6°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -14.7°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 23m above sea level
> Population: 1,481

Source: statephotos / Flickr

9. Iqaluit, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 16.8°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 7.7°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -16.3°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 34m above sea level
> Population: 7,740

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Source: Andrei Taranchenko / Wikimedia Commons

8. Utqiaġvik, Alaska
> Avg. year-round temperature: 16.1°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 5.4°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -8.1°F (January)
> Weather station elevation: 9m above sea level
> Population: 4,416

Source: 31856336@N03 / Flickr

7. Arviat, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 16.0°F
> Avg. temperature, April: 4.5°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -18.6°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 10m above sea level
> Population: 2,657

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6. Kugluktuk, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 14.9°F
> Avg. temperature, April: -0.1°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -15.7°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 23m above sea level
> Population: 1,491

5. Baker Lake, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 13.0°F
> Avg. temperature, April: -0.7°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -23.3°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 51m above sea level
> Population: 2,069

4. Clyde River, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 11.4°F
> Avg. temperature, April: -0.8°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -19.1°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 27m above sea level
> Population: 1,053

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Source: James_Gabbert / iStock via Getty Images

3. Cambridge Bay, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 8.8°F
> Avg. temperature, April: -6.1°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -25.0°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 31m above sea level
> Population: 1,766

Source: Clevelander96 / Wikimedia Commons

2. Gjoa Haven, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 8.0°F
> Avg. temperature, April: -6.4°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -27.6°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 42m above sea level
> Population: 1,324

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Source: Ansgar Walk / Wikimedia Commons

1. Pond Inlet, Canada
> Avg. year-round temperature: 7.6°F
> Avg. temperature, April: -6.5°F
> Avg. temperature during coldest month: -28.5°F (February)
> Weather station elevation: 65m above sea level
> Population: 1,617

Methodology

To determine the coldest towns in North America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed average temperature data from the Global Historical Climate Network (Version 4) of the National Centers for Environmental Information of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Towns were ranked based on the average year-round temperature from 2011 to 2020 of the nearest weather station in the GHCN. Only weather stations that were within 5 miles of an American city or town, Canadian population center, or Greenlandic town with at least 1,000 residents were considered. Population data for American cities and towns came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Population data for Canadian population centers and Greenlandic towns came from online map developer simplemaps. All listed average temperatures are for specific weather stations. In the cases where places had multiple weather stations, the figures listed are for the weather station with the lowest average year-round temperature.

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