Which state has the coldest weather in the USA?

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In terms of total land area, the United States ranks third in the world, after Russia and Canada. The United States has an enormous amount of land. S includes a large geographical range of climates

When comparing the states of the United S states yearly, with Hawaii typically coming in at #2. That might come as a surprise, since most people think Hawaii would be first. The winters in Hawaii may be the warmest of any state in the U S state, the Pacific Ocean breeze helps keep the Aloha State's summers bearable. Meanwhile, Florida's summertime highs push the state into first place as the nation's hottest.

This may come as a mild surprise, but the coldest U. S state is not shocking at all, probably Alaska is a clear winner in this category.

Skagway, Alaska, USA - July 20, 2011: Klondike highway to Canada. Colorful Welcome sign near the border. Cloudscape in back. The state of Alaska is the coldest in the USA.

©iStock com/ClaudineVM


In 1867, the United States acquired from Russia the land that would one day become the state of Alaska. The grand total was . At $2,000,000, the price per acre was less than $0.002. If Alaska remained a U.S. S territory until it was admitted to the Union on January 3, 1959 as the 49th state.

Flag of Alaska waving in the wind On January 3, 1959, Alaska joined the Union as the 49th state.

©iStock @OleksiiLiskonih on Twitter


Scale and Spot

When it comes to the United States, Alaska is by far the biggest. S in terms of total land area, and it's not even a close race. Alaska's total land area of 570,641 square miles exceeds that of Texas, California, and Montana put together.

In the far northwest of North America is the state of Alaska. The closest U.S. state to it is more than two thousand miles away. S Western Washington The Bering Strait separates Alaska and Russia by only 55 miles. The state's sole land border is over 1,500 miles in length, and it is shared with Canada.

For all intents and purposes, Alaska spans both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. The westernmost part of Alaska is actually in the Eastern Hemisphere because the 180th meridian runs through the Aleutian Islands.  

About 140 miles north of Fairbanks (or about 200 miles by road) is the beginning of the portion of Alaska that is north of the Arctic Circle.

This polar bear was captured on camera in the Arctic near Kaktovik, on the northern coast of Alaska.

Image by Alan Wilson / CC BY-SA 3.0

Variation in Alaska's Temperatures

Due to its vast size, the climate in Alaska can range quite a bit. Even though it's the nation's coldest state, Alaska S Some regions of the state are actually quite mild when compared to others

For instance, Sitka, Alaska, has a relatively mild climate. Average monthly highs in the city are never below freezing. The average high temperature in Sitka, Alaska, in January is 37 degrees Fahrenheit. The typical August high is a comfortable 62 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperatures typically exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the interior of Alaska during the summer. Triple-digit heat was recorded in Alaska, making it the state's hottest year on record. On June 27, 1915, Fort Yukon recorded a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, though the accuracy of this reading has been questioned by experts. Nonetheless, the second-hottest temperature on record in Alaska is accepted without question. It was 98 degrees on June 15, 1969, in Richardson, Alaska. Obviously, there are times when Alaska is not freezing. But the Alaskan cold is no laughing matter when it sets in.

Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow) has the coldest climate in all of Alaska. It is the northernmost American city, situated on the Arctic Circle.

Whale Bones in Utqiagvik, Alaska Utqiagvik, Alaska is home to a town square decorated with whale bones.

©iStock Gemma Winston com

Utqiagvik experiences average monthly highs below freezing from December through March. Average high temperatures dip into the single digits in November and April, the two months on either end of this brutally cold stretch. Utqiagvik has an average high temperature of ten degrees or less for six months out of the year. Utqiagvik sees its warmest weather in July, when temperatures average 47 degrees Fahrenheit.

Only recently have other modes of transportation besides flying or boating (during the warmer months when the water is not frozen) been established to Utqiagvik. Utqiagvik is located on permafrost, so there are no paved roads in the town. Shipping goods to Utqiagvik added significantly to the already high cost of living there. A network of snow roads connecting residents of upper and lower Alaska has been built to combat this expense. There will be no peaceful cruising through the countryside on this trip. It's not easy or safe to travel across the tundra, but doing so could connect people living in America's northernmost city.

Coldest U S Hottest It's Ever Been

Utqiagvik may have the coldest average temperature in Alaska, but it is not the coldest place in the state. About 180 miles north of Fairbanks is where you'll find Prospect Creek, the winner. The temperature in Prospect Creek fell to -80 degrees Fahrenheit on January 23, 1971. Both the record for coldest temperature in Alaska and the entire United States still stands at that point in time.

Alaska vs U.S. States Below the 49th

When compared to the coldest places in the lower 48 states, how does Alaska fare? As the northernmost state, Alaska has the lowest average annual temperature of any U.S. S state But just like the competition for the largest state, Alaska easily takes the title of coldest state.  

At a comfortable 26 degrees, With an average temperature of -6°F, Alaska is the coldest state in the union. The average annual temperature in North Dakota is 40 4°F The other two coldest states in the union, Maine and Minnesota, both have average temperatures of 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Two degrees Fahrenheit, with Wyoming averaging a balmy 42 degrees  

Montana has the record for the coldest temperature ever recorded in the contiguous 48 states. In Rogers Pass, Montana, temperatures hit 70 degrees on January 20th, 1954. Chilling, to be sure, but still 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the record low in Alaska.

Extremely Cold, But Not the Snowiest

Despite its reputation as the "Frozen Tundra," Alaska is actually not the snowiest state. In fact, four other states average more snowfall per year than Alaska does.  

Snow Storm Vermont The state with the most snowfall is Vermont, not Alaska. S

©iStock com/steverobertsphotography

The average annual snowfall in Vermont is over 89 inches, making it the snowiest state. More than any other state by an entire foot! A total of 77 On average, we get 28 inches of snow per year. New Hampshire has 71 Inches Annually, 44 Score: 67 for Colorado Three inches of snow per year The 49th state, Alaska, comes in at number 5 with a score of 64. Annual snowfall averages 46 inches By more than two feet per year, Vermont outsnows Alaska.

Which U.S. state has the coldest climate? S by a country mile (Not the snowiest either. First, think about how big it is. The size of Alaska's economy dwarfs that of Vermont's, the eighth smallest state. Compared to Alaska's 570,641 square miles, Vermont's 9,249 square miles is a mere fraction.

Due to the state's large size, Alaska's climate can vary greatly from region to region. The annual snowfall totals at some locations in Alaska can be truly staggering. Thompson Pass, in the Chugach Mountains north of Valdez, gets an annual snowfall of 500 inches. The state's size, however, dilutes the impact of this incredible amount of snow on the state's total precipitation.  

In some parts of the state, snowfall is extremely rare. In fact, Alaska is home to the world's second-largest desert. Area of the Arctic Polar Desert: 5 The desert covers 3 million square miles; Alaska is home to a small portion of it.  

This Arctic Circle desert is found in Kobuk Valley National Park. With a total area of 30 square miles, the park's three dune fields contain the largest active sand dunes in the Arctic.  

Kobuk Valley National Park in Alaska is home to Arctic Polar Desert sand dunes.

©iStock com/46travels

The world's second-largest desert receives, like all deserts, very little rain. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Antarctic Polar Desert, which is the world's largest desert at 5 4,000,000 square miles The Sahara, the largest desert on Earth, covers only about 3% as much land as either of the polar deserts. 6,050,000 square kilometers

Why Is Some of Alaska's Interior So Arid?

Despite popular belief, Alaska is not the snowiest state despite its reputation as the coldest. The low annual snowfall totals in Alaska can be attributed directly to the state's extreme cold.

The Northern Hemisphere experiences its lowest evaporation rates in the middle to late winter. At this time of year, the oceans are at their coolest. The annual maximum ice cover has been reached on both saltwater and freshwater bodies. The trees in the forest are sleeping. It only shines for a short time, or not at all if you're above the Arctic Circle. When you add up the effects of these factors, it means that very little water is being evaporated into the atmosphere. Because of this, less rain falls.

Utqiagvik is the coldest place in Alaska and the contiguous United States; visit there to see the dry Arctic tundra. S

MarmotChaser / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Authorization Level 0

What little moisture does evaporate cannot stay in the atmosphere for long because cold air holds much less than warm air does. The phrase "seeing your breath" on a cold day is a perfect metaphor for this phenomenon. The cold winter air is unable to retain the moisture in your exhaled breath. When your body's warm exhaled air collides with the cold air of a winter day, condensation occurs, and a cloud is formed.

The dew point is a meteorological indicator of this phenomenon. Humidity is a term that is used interchangeably but incorrectly. When compared to relative humidity, the dew point provides a much more reliable picture of the amount of moisture in the air.

The humidity at a dew point of 75 °F is typical of the tropics. This dew point is typical for a hot summer day in New Orleans. If you have ever experienced it, you know that a dew point this high is downright oppressive

Summer days are still miserable with a dew point of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is rising as the dew point approaches 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, you want a dew point of 60 degrees or less. Further, a dew point below 30 degrees Fahrenheit indicates a parched environment.

Take into account that at only 26 degrees Fahrenheit, Alaska has the lowest average dew point in the contiguous United States. 5°F That's some extremely parched atmosphere The extremely low temperatures will prevent the air from retaining any moisture. Because of this, the coldest state in the country is not also the snowiest.

A Terrific Country

The Aleut word Aláxsxaq, from which the state of Alaska gets its name, can be translated roughly as "great land." The land is full of wonders and surprises that never end. Who could have predicted that Vermont would get more snow than Alaska? Who would have guessed that Alaska would be home to the world's second-largest desert? This is the largest and coldest state in the United States. S and many more surprises besides

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