What is the Coldest City in Colorado? 2023 Update
It should come as no shock that most of Colorado’s weather dips to frigid temperatures during the winter. It’s hard to say which is the coldest city because the weather fluctuates constantly. However, one city seems to stand out with the lowest average annual temperatures—Fraser.
This small city in northeastern Colorado experiences over 300 nights a year where the temperature drops below 32°F (0°C). In addition, their annual average temperature is 32.5–34.8°F (0.3–1.6°C). These low average temperatures contribute to Fraser being one of the coldest cities in the lower 48 states—not just Colorado.
Why is Fraser so Cold?
It all starts with the cold air masses that typically form in the prairies of Canada, interior Alaska, and the North Pole. It’s common for these cold air masses to be sucked down along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains.
As this cold air makes its way down the mountains, it settles in foothills and valleys. So, location is a major contributing factor to Fraser’s cold weather. Not only do temperatures get colder in Fraser, but when the cold front lifts and moves on, these valley towns are the last to warm up.
Other Notable Cold Cities in Colorado
Fraser isn’t the only city whose location makes it susceptible to the cold fronts ruining winter fun. Several other towns experience similar cold temperatures throughout the year.
- Craig: 29°F (-1.66°C)
- Walden: 22°F (-5.55°C)
- Gunnison: 20°F (-6.66°C)
- Alamosa: 24°F (-4.44°C)
- Greeley: 36°F (2.22°C)
Historical Lows in Colorado
February 1, 1985, in Maybell, holds the record for Colorado’s lowest ever recorded temperature. That day the temperatures reached minus 61°F (-51.7°C). Temperatures throughout Colorado have gotten close, such as minus 50°F (-45.56°C) in Antero Reservoir in 2020.
The Coldest Place on Earth
We’ve gathered that Colorado is a cold state, especially in the valley cities next to the Rocky Mountains. But how do these places compare to other parts of the world with frigid temperatures?
Eastern Antarctic Plateau, Antarctica
According to satellite info gathered between 2004 and 2016, temperatures on the eastern Antarctic Plateau were suspected to be as low as minus 137.2°F (-94°C). Scientists think that this temperature could drop lower given the dry air in the area.
In case you’re wondering—people don’t live here. However, seeing temperatures like that makes winters in Fraser, Colorado seem like a tropical vacation.
Oymyakon, Siberia, Russia
Unlike the Antarctic, Oymyakon is a permanently-inhabited place in the world. Less than 500 people live in this village in the Arctic Circle, but those that do get to experience an average temperature of minus 67°F (-55°C)—which is the temperature the school shuts down at. The lowest recorded temperature in Oymyakon was minus 89.86°F (-67.7°C).
If you’ve been thinking about relocating to Colorado, you better expect cold weather. No, it’s not the same kind of cold weather that Russia or Antarctica get, but spending most of the year with temperatures below zero is uncomfortable if you’re not used to it.
In addition to the discomfort, extreme cold weather also impacts other areas of our lives. For example, if you’re into gardening or growing your own food, your growing season is extremely short in Fraser and other valley cities in Colorado.
Before you make the jump, make sure you visit there during average winter weather so you know what to expect.
See also: What Is the Coldest City in Florida?
Featured Image Credit: mrminibike, Pixabay