The lowest temperature ever recorded in the Lower 48 is at Rogers Pass, Montana

Ask Tom Why

Dear Tom,

Looking at my new weather calendar for 2020, I notice the lowest temperature ever recorded in the Lower 48 is at Rogers Pass, Montana. Do you have any additional information?

Ron Mitchler,
Evanston

Dear Ron,
You are correct that the lowest temperature ever recorded in the “Lower 48” is at Rogers Pass, Montana: -70 degrees on Jan. 20, 1954. It is a cooperative ranger station at an elevation of 5,470 feet. After that reading was reported, the alcohol-filled thermometer was checked for accuracy by National Weather Service technicians and found to be satisfactory. With the granting of statehood to Alaska in 1959, it was inevitable that that record would fall, and on Jan. 23, 1971, the thermometer plunged to -80 degrees at Prospect Creek, Alaska (elevation 1,100 feet), which currently stands as the lowest temperature ever recorded in the United States.

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