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Charted: The Hottest and Coldest Temperatures in U.S. History



See this visualization first on the Voronoi app.

This timeline shows the hottest and coldest temperatures in U.S. history.

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Charted: The Hottest and Coldest Temperatures in U.S. History

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

The United States has experienced severe heat waves this summer, breaking daily temperature records and causing dangerous consequences like wildfires nationwide.

This graphic shows the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in the United States. Data was sourced from the National Centers for Environmental Information.

California and Alaska Hold Records for Extreme Temperatures

Extreme heat is a deadly phenomenon, responsible for approximately 1,220 fatalities each year in the United States.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in the country was an astonishing 134.4°F (56.7°C) in Death Valley, California, on July 10, 1913. This stands as the highest ambient air temperature ever recorded on the surface of the Earth. However, this reading, along with several others from that period, is disputed by some modern experts.

Death Valley has a subtropical, hot desert climate characterized by long, extremely hot summers, short, warm winters, and minimal rainfall. Its extreme dryness is due to its location in the rain shadow of four major mountain ranges.

StateFahrenheit (°F)Celsius (°C)DateLocation
California13456.7July 10, 1913Greenland Ranch
Arizona12853.329 June 1994Lake Havasu City
Nevada12551.7June 29, 1994Laughlin
New Mexico12250June 27, 1994Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Kansas12149.4July 24, 1936Alton
Kansas12149.4July 18, 1936Fredonia
North Dakota12149.4July 06, 1936Steele
Arkansas12048.9August 10, 1936Ozark
Michigan-51-46.1February 9, 1934Vanderbilt
Idaho-60-51.1January 18, 1943Island Park Dam
Minnesota-60-51.1February 2, 1996Tower
North Dakota-60-51.1February 15, 1936Parshall
Colorado-61-51.7February 1, 1985Maybell
Wyoming-66-54.4February 09, 1933Riverside Ranger Stn.
Montana-70-56.7January 20, 1954Rogers Pass
Alaska-80-62.2January 23, 1971Prospect Creek Camp

Conversely, the coldest temperature ever recorded was -80°F (-62.2°C) at Prospect Creek Camp, Alaska, on January 23, 1971. Prospect Creek is a very small settlement approximately 180 miles (290 km) north of Fairbanks. In the past, it was home to numerous mining expeditions and served as a camp for the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

Currently, and perhaps understandably, no permanent residents live in this area.

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