Cold US Cities

Coldest Cities in the US During Winter


Out of the 51 largest cities in United States, Minneapolis, Minnesota has the coldest winter weather, based on average daily temperatures. It's the only American city that normally remains well below freezing throughout the day during December, January and February.

The extreme winter weather at Minneapolis covers the entire metropolitan area, taking in the adjoining city of St. Paul, where the temperature is no warmer.

These rankings of coldest cities use long-term temperature averages, based on weather data collected from 1981 to 2010 for the NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

The major cities included in the weather rankings represent the 51 metropolitan areas in the United States with the most people, all those with over one million residents in 2010, according to the US Census Bureau. A complete list of America's 51 largest urban centers is available here.

Mean daily temperatures for 15 US cities are typically at or below freezing (32 F) in winter.

US cities with the lowest normal daily mean temperatures in December, January and February
City Daily Winter Mean
  °F °C
Minneapolis, Minnesota 19 -7
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 25 -4
Chicago, Illinois 26 -3
Rochester, New York 27 -3
Buffalo, New York 27 -3
Detroit, Michigan 28 -2
Hartford, Connecticut 29 -2
Cleveland, Ohio 30 -1
Indianapolis, Indiana 31 -1
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 31 -1
Salt Lake City, Utah 31  0
Denver, Colorado 31  0
Providence, Rhode Island 32  0
Boston, Massachusetts 32  0
Columbus, Ohio 32  0

Coldest Winter Days

These big American cities have temperatures that on an average winter's day don't get above 40 F (4.4 C).

US cities with the lowest normal daily maximum temperatures in December, January and February:
City Average Winter High
  °F °C
Minneapolis, Minnesota 27 -3
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 31  0
Buffalo, New York 34  1
Chicago, Illinois 34  1
Rochester, New York 34  1
Detroit, Michigan 34  1
Cleveland, Ohio 37  3
Hartford, Connecticut 38  3
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 38  3
Indianapolis, Indiana 38  3
Boston, Massachusetts 39  4
Columbus, Ohio 39  4
Salt Lake City, Utah 39  4

Chilliest Winter Lows

Temperatures drop below 25 F (-3.9 C) in these major
US cities during a typical winter night.

US cities with the lowest normal daily minimum temperatures in December, January and February
City Average Winter Low
  °F °C
Minneapolis, Minnesota 11 -12
Denver, Colorado 18   -8
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 18   -8
Chicago, Illinois 19   -7
Rochester, New York 20   -7
Buffalo, New York 21   -6
Hartford, Connecticut 21   -6
Detroit, Michigan 21   -6
Indianapolis, Indiana 23   -5
Salt Lake City, Utah 23   -5
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 23   -5
Providence, Rhode Island 24   -5
Cleveland, Ohio 24   -5
Cincinnati, Ohio 24   -4
Reference

National Climatic Data Center. NOAA's 1981-2010 Climate Normals.

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