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No, Alaska is partially in the Arctic Circle. It has the coldest average temperatures.

The coldest state is, actually, a little tough to answer. The coldest average temperature is different than the coldest winters, or the coldest records.

Alaska, North Dakota, and Minnesota would top the list.

See this article from USA Today's Jack Williams, written in 2003:


Answers: What are the 10 coldest states By Jack Williams,

This sounds like a simple question, but it turns out to be much harder to answer than you might think. The problems begin with the fact that U.S. state borders don't pay any particular attention to the weather. California is a perfect example. It includes Death Valley, which is often the hottest place in the USA, especially in the summer, and also the Sierra where mountain locations, such as Truckee, are sometimes the coldest place in the USA on any particular day. (Related: Each day's highest, lowest temperatures). No doubt that Alaska would head the list of the 10 coldest states. But, some parts of Alaska are colder than others. And, in the summer Alaska can be quite warm. In Barrow, Alaska on the Arctic Ocean, the annual average temperature is 10.4 degrees. Juneau, Alaska, at the southern end of the state, has an annual average temperature of 41.5 degrees. A couple of places that are just as cold or colder than Juneau on an annual basis in other states include Alamosa, Colo. 40.8 degrees, and Grand Forks, N.D., 40.3 degrees. In other words, parts of Colorado and North Dakota, and also some other states, are as cold as part of Alaska. This is at least part of the reason why no one works out average temperatures for states. If anyone has ever calculated state-wide weather averages, I've never come across it in more than 20 years of writing about weather. This means you really have to look at the data for cities to figure out that coldest parts of the USA. After Alaska, you'd want to start by looking at cities in states along the Canadian border in the middle of the USA, such as Minnesota and North Dakota. Oceans moderate climates - they keep the winters warmer and summers cooler - which is why states such as Maine and Washington aren't as cold as those at the same latitude, but farther from the ocean. (Related: Oceans moderate climate). The next question is: "Why do you mean by coldest?" So far I've been talking about annual average temperatures, but unless you are in the home heating business, this probably isn't much use to you. And, even if you are in the home heating business, winter temperatures would probably be a better guide to where to try to sell your products. The Online weather almanac is the best place to begin looking for information about weather averages, including temperatures. By the way, a few years back someone at the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), which keeps the nation's and world-wide weather records, put together lists such as the USA's coldest cities. The list for coldest places puts International Falls, Minn., at the top with a yearly average temperature of 36.4 degrees - much warmer than Barrow. All 10 places on this list except for Caribou, Maine, and Alamosa, Colo., are in Minnesota, Michigan, and North Dakota. Alaska turns out of have 15 weather stations with average annual temperatures colder than International Falls. The big problem with the NCDC's lists of top 10s, and with the National Weather Service's daily listing of warmest and coldest average temperatures, is that they do not include Alaska or Hawaii. Apparently no one has ever told them that Alaska and Hawaii became U.S. states in 1959, and no listing of weather that does not include them is not a U.S. list. A final thought. From time to time I receive questions from someone in a business who is looking for climate information. Often it's a low-level employee, probably because the boss thinks the information is easy to find. As we've seen, finding weather data is often harder than many people think. Even harder, often, is figuring out what data is really needed. For instance, looking for the 10 coldest states makes me suspect that the data you really need is more complex. If a company is buying a computer system, and no one in the company knows much about computers, you'd find an expert, a consultant who would be able to help you make the right decisions. Figuring what what weather data you need can also be complicated. A good place to begin looking for a qualified meteorologist who could help a company figure out what weather data it needs, and then find the data, is to use the resources of the American Meteorological Society. If you click here you will go to the AMS list of Certified Consulting Meteorologists. Here you will find lists of men and women who have passed an AMS exam showing that they are qualified. The lists are by specialty and by state.

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12y ago

No, New York is not the coldest U.S. city, not by a long shot.

Based on average daily temperatures, Milwaukee is the coldest major U.S. city, although Denver holds the record for all-time coldest temperature ever recorded in a major U.S. city (-30 degrees Fahrenheit, or -34.4 degrees Celsius). The average daily temperature in Milwaukee is 47.5 degrees Fahrenheit (8.6 degrees Celsius), and the daily mean temperature in winter is 24.1 F (-4.4 C).

Milwaukee is the coldest MAJOR U.S. city, but Minneapolis is the coldest U.S. city, period. Its daily mean temperature in winter is 17.3 F (-8.2 C).

By comparison, the year-long average high temperature in New York City is 61.7 F (16.5 C), and the year-long average low temperature is 47.5 F (8.6 F). In January (which is New York's coldest month) the average temperature is 32.1 F (0.05 C). In January temperatures usually range from 10 to 50 F (-12.2 to 10 C) in New York City.

Sources: see the Related Links below.

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No, Michigan is not the coldest state in the US, that honor goes to Minnesota.

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Q: What is the coldest month of the year in Michigan?
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