5 Coldest Cities in America

By Jon Erdman
Published: October 29, 2013

#3: Gunnison, Colorado

Blue Mesa Reservoir west of Gunnison from iWitness Weather contributor Michael Brown

The city of Gunnison is situated in a high mountain valley of southwest Colorado, with an elevation of 7640 feet.

Average annual temperature:38.1 degrees
Subzero days/year:59 days
All-time record low:-47 degrees
Average last freeze:June 24
Average first freeze:September 5
Population (2010 census):5854

Refrigerated air from the surrounding mountains pools in the valley at night, leading to some bone-chilling low temperatures. Add snow cover to the valley and you merely accentuate the cold. Occasionally, these lows will be the coldest in the Lower 48 States! From late October through the second week of April, you may shiver in morning subzero cold.

At this altitude, freezes have been documented almost every calendar day of the year, even in mid-summer.

So, whether it's nearby skiing or a summer escape to the mountains, with apologies to Phil Collins, a jacket is required.

It's not all cold here, however. Average highs rise to the 70s/low 80s in summer.

Let's head to the "Nation's Ice Box" for second coldest city in America.

Featured Blogs

Tropical Storm Neoguri Hits Japan; NOAA Holds Summer El Niño Odds at 70%

By Dr. Jeff Masters
July 10, 2014

Tropical Storm Neoguri made landfall near the city of Akune in southwest Japan's Kagoshima Prefecture on the island of Kyushu just before 7 a.m. Japanese time Thursday. Once a mighty super typhoon with 155 mph winds, the Japan Meteorological Agency estimated that Neoguri weakened to maximum 10-minute sustained winds of 60 mph at landfall.

Warmest Days of the Year for the U.S.

By Christopher C. Burt
July 9, 2014

NOAA recently produced an interesting map showing when the hottest day of the year is likely to occur in the contiguous U.S. Complimenting this map is one produced by Brian Brettschneider of Borealis Scientific, LLC, which illustrates the date of summer’s midpoint (peak of summer average temperatures) which was reproduced in my blog posted last August. Brian has also produced maps of such for the Fall, Winter and Spring seasons. There is also some other great material from Brian herein.

Live Blog: Tracking Hurricane Arthur as it Approaches North Carolina Coast

By Shaun Tanner
July 3, 2014

This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.

Tropical Terminology

By Stu Ostro
June 30, 2014

Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.