Record-Setting Weather


Temperature extremes depend upon a number of factors, important among which are altitude, latitude, surface conditions, and the density and length of record of observing stations.

The world's highest temperatures, as well as the greatest range of extremes and the greatest and most rapid temperature fluctuations, occur over continental areas in the temperate zones .

A reading of 136°F, observed at Azizia (elevation about 380 ft, Tripolitania, Libya, North Africa) on September 13, 1922, is generally accepted as the world's highest temperature recorded under standard conditions.

The highest temperature ever observed in Canada was 115°F at Gleichen, Alberta on July 28, 1903. A high of 120°F or higher has been recorded on all the continents except Antarctica, where the high is only 58.3°F.

Greenland Ranch, California, with 134°F on July 10, 1913, holds the record for the highest temperature ever officially recorded in the United States. This station is located in barren Death Valley which is about 140 mi long and 4–16 mi wide and runs north and south in southeastern California and southwestern Nevada. The valley is below sea level and is flanked by towering mountain ranges with Mt. Whitney, the highest landmark in the 48 states, rising to 14,495 ft, less than 100 mi to the west. Death Valley has the hottest summers in the Western Hemisphere, and is the only known place in the United States where nighttime temperatures sometimes remain above 100°F.

The highest average annual temperature in the world, possibly a world record, is the 94°F, at Dalol (or Dallol), Ethiopia. The station is in a salt desert and is based on only 6 years of data, October 1960–November 1966. Lugh (or Luuq), Somalia, East Africa has an annual mean recorded temperature of 88°F. In the United States the station normally having the highest annual average is Key West, Florida, 77.8°F; the highest summer average, Death Valley, California, 98.2°F; and the highest winter average, Key West, Florida, 70.2°F.

Amazing temperature rises of 40–50°F in a few minutes occasionally may be brought about by chinook winds. Some outstanding extreme temperature rises in short periods are:

12 hours: 83°F, Granville, ND, Feb. 21, 1918, from–33°F to 50°F from early morning to late afternoon.

15 minutes: 42°F, Fort Assiniboine, MT, Jan. 19, 1892, from–5°F to 37°F.

7 minutes: 34°F, Kipp, MT, Dec. 1, 1896; observer also reported that a total rise of 80°F occurred in a few hours and that 30 in of snow disappeared in one-half day.

2 minutes: 49°F, Spearfish, SD, Jan. 22, 1943, from–4°F at 7:30 A.M ., to 45°F at 7:32 A.M .

The range of temperature extremes over large bodies of water is much less than over land. Temperature extremes over the sea likely range from 100°F recorded by the SS Titan on August 8, 1920, in the Red Sea to–40°F observed by the SS Baychino , January 27, 1932, when beset by ice at latitude 70° 50′ N, longitude 159° 11′ W. Sea-surface temperatures in the Persian Gulf average as high as 88°F for July and August, and a high of 96°F was measured by the SS Frankenfels on August 5, 1924. These are among the highest—if not the highest—sea-surface temperatures ever observed. (Any official record of these over-the-sea temperatures has been lost over the years, so these measurements are not confirmed.)

Sunniest U.S. Cities

  1. Yuma, AZ
  2. Redding, CA
  3. Phoenix, AZ; Tucson, AZ; Las Vegas, NV
  4. El Paso, TX
  5. Fresno, CA; Reno, NV


Antarctica, a vast, elevated, snow-covered continent at the South Pole is one of the most favorable regions in the world for extremely low temperatures. Several stations there now have records dating back through 1957. A new world-record low temperature was observed at–128.6°F and was recorded at Vostok (Russian station) on July 21,1983. At the Amundsen-Scott station (elevation 9,186 ft), located on a snow plain within a few hundred yards of the geographical South Pole, the average annual temperature from 1957 to 1964 was–59°F. For July, the average maximum temperature was–69°F, the minimum–80°F; and for January, these values were–17°F and–22°F, respectively. The average temperature at Vostok for the two-year period 1958–59 was–67°F. Even colder locations may exist on the continent.

Other regions favorable for unusually low winter extremes include Greenland, a high snow-covered area located mostly in the north polar regions; and north central Siberia, part of a great land mass at high latitudes. Minima of–90°F (Verhoyansk–89.7°F, February 5 and 7, 1892 and Oimekon–89.9°F, February 6, 1933) in the latter region stood as the world's lowest temperatures prior to observations in Antarctica. The lowest temperature on the Greenland Icecap,–86.8°F was observed at Northice January 9,1954. Canada's lowest temperature,–81°F, was observed at Snag, Yukon Territory, near the border of Alaska at an altitude of 2,120 ft on February 3, 1947.

In the United States, the lowest temperature on record,–79.8°F, was recorded on January 23, 1971, at Prospect Creek Camp, which is located in the Endicott Mountains of Northern Alaska at latitude 66° 48′N, longitude 150° 40′W. The lowest temperature in the contiguous 48 states,–69.7°F, occurred on January 20, 1954, at Rogers Pass, in Lewis and Clark County, Montana. This location is in mountainous and heavily forested terrain, about 0.5 mi east of and 140 ft below the summit of the Continental Divide.

The lowest average annual temperature recorded in the United States is 9.4°F at Barrow, Alaska, which lies on the Arctic coast. Barrow also has the coolest summers (June, July, August) with an average of 41.9°F. The lowest average winter (December, January, February) temperature is–20.1°F at Barter Island on the Arctic coast of northeast Alaska. In Hawaii, average annual temperatures range from 44°F at Mauna Loa Slope Observatory (elevation 11,146 ft) on the island of Hawaii to 77.2°F at Honolulu on the island of Oahu.

In the contiguous 48 states, Mt. Washington, New Hampshire (elevation 6,262 ft) has the lowest mean annual temperature, 26.5°F, and the lowest mean summer (June, July, August) temperature, 51.6°F. A few stations in the Northeast and upper Rockies have mean annuals in the high 30s, and at the same stations in the latter area, summers may average in the high 40s. Winter (December, January, February) mean temperature are lowest in northeastern North Dakota where the average is 5.9°F at the Langdon Experiment Farm and northwestern Minnesota where the average is 6.1°F at Hallock.

In continental areas of the temperate zone, 40–50°F temperature falls in a few hours caused by advection of cold air masses are not uncommon. Sometimes, following these large drops due to advection, radiation may cause a further temperature fall resulting in remarkable changes. Some outstanding extreme temperature falls are:

24 hours: 100°F, Browning, MT, Jan. 23–24, 1916, from 44°F to–56°F.

12 hours: 84°F, Fairfield, MT, Dec. 24, 1924, from 63°F at noon to–21°F at midnight.

2 hours: 62°F, Rapid City, SD, Jan. 12, 1911, from 49°F at 6 A.M . to–13°F at 8 A.M .

27 minutes: 58°F, Spearfish, SD, Jan. 22, 1943, from 54°F at 9 A.M ., to–4°F at 9:27 A.M .

Cloudiest U.S. Cities

  1. Quillayute, WA
  2. Astoria, OR
  3. Olympia, WA
  4. Seattle, WA
  5. Portland, OR

15 minutes: 47°F, Rapid City, SD, Jan. 10, 1911, from 55°F at 7 A.M ., to 8°F at 7:15 A.M .

Record-Setting Weather

Highest Temperature Extremes
Continent Highest Temp. (deg F) Place Elevation (Feet) Date
Africa 136 El Azizia, Libya 367 13 Sep 1922
North America 134 Death Valley, CA (Greenland Ranch) –178 10 Jul 1913
Asia 129 Tirat Tsvi, Israel –722 21 Jun 1942
Australia 128 Cloncurry, Queensland 622 16 Jan 1889
Europe 122 Seville, Spain 26 4 Aug 1881
South America 120 Rivadavia, Argentina 676 11 Dec 1905
Oceania 108 Tuguegarao, Philippines 72 29 Apr 1912
Antarctica 59 Vanda Station, Scott Coast 49 5 Jan 1974

Record-Setting Weather

Lowest Temperature Extremes
Continent Lowest Temp. (deg F) Place Elevation (Feet) Date
*Exact date unknown, lowest in 15-year period
Antarctica –129 Vostok 11220 21 Jul 1983
Asia -90 Oimekon, Russia 2625 6 Feb 1933
Asia -90 Verkhoyansk, Russia 350 7 Feb 1892
Greenland -87 Northice 7687 9 Jan 1954
North America –81.4 Snag, Yukon, Canada 2120 3 Feb 1947
Europe -67 Ust'Shchugor, Russia 279 January*
South America -27 Sarmiento, Argentina 879 1 Jun 1907
Africa -11 Ifrane, Morocco 5364 11 Feb 1935
Australia –9.4 Charlotte Pass, NSW 5758 29 Jun 1994
Oceania 14 Haleakala Summit, Maui, HI 9750 2 Jan 1961

(Courtesy of National Climatic Data Center/NOAA.)

Record-Setting Weather

Highest Average Annual Precipitation Extremes
Continent Highest Avg. (Inches) Place Elevation (Feet) Years of Record
!The value given is continent's highest and possibly the world's depending on measurement practices, procedures and period of record variations.
^The official greatest average annual precipitation for South America is 354 inches at Quibdo, Colombia. The 523.6 inches average at Lloro, Colombia [14 miles SE and at a higher elevation than Quibdo] is an estimated amount.
*Approximate elevation.
South America 523.6!^ Lloro, Colombia 520* 29
Asia 467.4! Mawsynram, India 4597 38
Oceania 460.0! Mt. Waialeale, Kauai, HI 5148 30
Africa 405.0 Debundscha, Cameroon 30 32
South America 354.0^ Quibdo, Colombia 120 16
Australia 340.0 Bellenden Ker, Queensland 5102 9
North America 256.0 Henderson Lake, British Colombia 12 14
Europe 183.0 Crkvica, Bosnia-Hercegovina 3337 22

Record-Setting Weather

Lowest Average Annual Precipitation Extremes
Continent Lowest Avg. (Inches) Place Elevation (Feet) Years of Record
The value given is the average amount of solid snow accumulating in one year as indicated by snow markers. The liquid content of the snow is undetermined.
*Approximate elevation.
South America 0.03 Arica, Chile 95 59
Africa <0.1 Wadi Halfa, Sudan 410 39
Antarctica 0.8 Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station 9186 10
North America 1.2 Batagues, Mexico 16 14
Asia 1.8 Aden, Yemen 22 50
Australia 4.05 Mulka (Troudaninna), South Australia 160* 42
Europe 6.4 Astrakhan, Russia 45 25
Oceania 8.93 Puako, Hawaii, HI 5 13

(Courtesy of National Climatic Data Center/NOAA.)

(Courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).)
(Courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).)

(Courtesy of National Climatic Data Center/NOAA.)
(Courtesy of National Climatic Data Center/NOAA.)

Record Highest Temperatures by State
(Thru December 2000)
State Temp. °F. Date Station Elevation Feet
*Also on earlier dates at the same time or other places.
Alabama 112 Sep. 5, 1925 Centerville 345
Alaska 100 Jun. 27, 1915 Fort Yukon est. 420
Arizona 128 Jun. 29, 1994 Lake Havasu City 505
Arkansas 120 Aug. 10, 1936 Ozark 396
California 134 Jul. 10, 1913 Greenland Ranch –178
Colorado 118 Jul. 11, 1888 Bennett 5,484
Connecticut 106 Jul. 15, 1995 Danbury 450
Delaware 110 Jul. 21, 1930 Millsboro 20
Florida 109 Jun. 29, 1931 Monticello 207
Georgia 112 Aug. 20, 1983 Greenville 860
Hawaii 100 Apr. 27, 1931 Pahala 850
Idaho 118 Jul. 28, 1934 Orofino 1,027
Illinois 117 Jul. 14, 1954 East St. Louis 410
Indiana 116 Jul. 14, 1936 Collegeville 672
Iowa 118 Jul. 20, 1934 Keokuk 614
Kansas 121 Jul. 24, 1936* Alton (near) 1,651
Kentucky 114 Jul. 28, 1930 Greensburg 581
Louisiana 114 Aug. 10, 1936 Plain Dealing 268
Maine 105 Jul. 10, 1911* North Bridgton 450
Maryland 109 Jul. 10, 1936* Cumberland & Frederick 623, 325
Massachusetts 107 Aug. 2, 1975 New Bedford & Chester 120; 640
Michigan 112 Jul. 13, 1936 Mio 963
Minnesota 114 Jul. 6, 1936 Moorhead 904
Mississippi 115 Jul. 29, 1930 Holly Springs 600
Missouri 118 Jul. 14, 1954* Warsaw & Union 705; 560
Montana 117 Jul. 5, 1937 Medicine Lake 1,950
Nebraska 118 Jul. 24, 1936* Minden 2,169
Nevada 125 Jun. 29, 1994* Laughlin 605
New Hampshire 106 Jul. 4, 1911 Nashua 125
New Jersey 110 Jul. 10, 1936 Runyon 18
New Mexico 122 Jun. 27, 1994 Waste Isolat. Pilot Plt 3,418
New York 108 Jul. 22, 1926 Troy 35
North Carolina 110 Aug. 21, 1983 Fayetteville 213
North Dakota 121 Jul. 6, 1936 Steele 1,857
Ohio 113 Jul. 21, 1934* Gallipolis (near) 673
Oklahoma 120 Jun. 27, 1994* Tipton 1,350
Oregon 119 Aug. 10, 1898* Pendleton 1,074
Pennsylvania 111 Jul. 10, 1936* Phoenixville 100
Rhode Island 104 Aug. 2, 1975 Providence 51
South Carolina 111 Jun. 28, 1954* Camden 170
South Dakota 120 Jul. 5, 1936 Gannvalley 1,750
Tennessee 113 Aug. 9, 1930* Perryville 377
Texas 120 Jun. 28, 1994* Monahans 2,660
Utah 117 Jul. 5, 1985 Saint George 2,880
Vermont 105 Jul. 4, 1911 Vernon 310
Virginia 110 Jul. 15, 1954 Balcony Falls 725
Washington 118 Aug. 5, 1961* Ice Harbor Dam 475
West Virginia 112 Jul. 10, 1936* Martinsburg 435
Wisconsin 114 Jul. 13, 1936 Wisconsin Dells 900
Wyoming 115 Aug. 8, 1983 Basin 3,500

(Courtesy of National Climatic Data Center/NOAA.)
(Courtesy of National Climatic Data Center/NOAA.)

Record Lowest Temperatures by State
(Thru December 2000)
State Temp. °F. Date Station Elevation Feet
*Also on earlier dates at the same time or other places.
Alabama -27 Jan. 30, 1966 New Market 760
Alaska -80 Jan. 23, 1971 Prospect Creek Camp 1,100
Arizona -40 Jan. 7, 1971 Hawley Lake 8,180
Arkansas -29 Feb. 13, 1905 Pond 1,250
California -45 Jan. 20, 1937 Boca 5,532
Colorado -61 Feb. 1, 1985 Maybell 5,920
Connecticut -32 Jan. 22, 1961* Coventry 480
Delaware -17 Jan. 17, 1893 Millsboro 20
Florida –2 Feb. 13, 1899 Tallahassee 193
Georgia -17 Jan. 27, 1940 CCC Camp F-16 est. 1,000
Hawaii 12 May 17, 1979 Mauna Kea Obs 111.2 13,770
Idaho -60 Jan. 18, 1943 Island Park Dam 6,285
Illinois -36 Jan. 5, 1999 Congerville 635
Indiana -36 Jan. 19, 1994 New Whiteland 785
Iowa -47 Feb. 3, 1996* Elkader 770
Kansas -40 Feb. 13, 1905 Lebanon 1,812
Kentucky -37 Jan. 19, 1994 Shelbyville 730
Louisiana -16 Feb. 13, 1899 Minden 194
Maine -48 Jan. 19, 1925 Van Buren 510
Maryland -40 Jan. 13, 1912 Oakland 2,461
Massachusetts -35 Jan. 12, 1981 Chester 640
Michigan -51 Feb. 9, 1934 Vanderbilt 785
Minnesota -60 Feb. 2, 1996 Tower 1,460
Mississippi -19 Jan. 30, 1966 Corinth 420
Missouri -40 Feb. 13, 1905 Warsaw 700
Montana -70 Jan. 20, 1954 Rogers Pass 5,470
Nebraska -47 Dec. 22, 1989* Oshkosh 3,379
Nevada -50 Jan. 8, 1937 San Jacinto 5,200
New Hampshire -47 Jan. 29, 1934 Mt. Washington 6,262
New Jersey -34 Jan. 5, 1904 River Vale 70
New Mexico -50 Feb. 1, 1951 Gavilan 7,350
New York -52 Feb. 18, 1979* Old Forge 1,720
North Carolina -34 Jan. 21, 1985 Mt. Mitchell 6,525
North Dakota -60 Feb. 15, 1936 Parshall 1,929
Ohio -39 Feb. 10, 1899 Milligan 800
Oklahoma -27 Jan. 18, 1930* Watts 958
Oregon -54 Feb. 10, 1933* Seneca 4,700
Pennsylvania -42 Jan. 5, 1904 Smethport est. 1,500
Rhode Island -25 Feb. 5, 1996 Greene 425
South Carolina -19 Jan. 21, 1985 Caesars Head 3,115
South Dakota -58 Feb. 17, 1936 McIntosh 2,277
Tennessee -32 Dec. 30, 1917 Mountain City 2,471
Texas -23 Feb. 8, 1933* Seminole 3,275
Utah -69 Feb. 1, 1985 Peter's Sink 8,092
Vermont -50 Dec. 30, 1933 Bloomfield 915
Virginia -30 Jan. 22, 1985 Mtn. Lake Bio. Stn. 3,870
Washington -48 Dec. 30, 1968 Mazama & Winthrop 2,120; 1,755
West Virginia -37 Dec. 30, 1917 Lewisburg 2,200
Wisconsin -55 Feb. 4, 1996 Couderay 1,300
Wyoming -66 Feb. 9, 1933 Riverside R.S. 6,500

(Courtesy of National Climatic Data Center/NOAA.)
(Courtesy of National Climatic Data Center/NOAA.)

(Courtesy of National Climatic Data Center/NOAA.)
(Courtesy of National Climatic Data Center/NOAA.)

User Contributions:

lorena illanes
For the state of NH what is the potential causes of the high precipitation we have been having this Winter. For NH when was the previous winter with the highest precipitation? What are 2 possible causes that have been suggested by two reputable scientific sources for the high levl of precipitation this winter. What scientific disciplines have infored the researech regarding these suggested causes? What do you think about these suggestions and the science that informed these? Where did this information come from?

Where is the average high percip. for Antarctica?!?! I have to do this for school!!!!!!
Is there any outstanding evidence of Global warming? If I remember correctly the summer of 1958 was very hot and winter of '58- 59 was very cold... snowfall as far south as Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas and all of the Southeastern US. is there any evidence it is warmer now than them?
Fred Daly
What & where is the greatest RANGE of temperatures ever recorded @ a single weather station?
Between 1890 and 2010 what date and what amount was the greatest temperature fluctuation in southeastern Wisconain
i love how this has not been updated to well, in Fort Saint John, British Columbia(North America)of 2009 it Hit -89F and its not even listed lol... also in 1987 Fort Nelson, British Columbia hit -107F, you couldnt even go outside for 2 mins or your face would have froze. wonder what else they are missing.
Hi Weather I would like to know about winter on december 21st, 2009 to January 3 rd , 2010 so I need to know exactly record in temperature and snow during december in Europe because I plan to fly to Poland for safe trip because I will visit to see family for special christmas and I live in california , U.S.A. thank you so much sincerely Beata
Hi Weather I would like to know about winter on december 21st, 2009 to January 3 rd , 2010 so I need to know exactly record in temperature and snow during december in Europe because I plan to fly to Poland for safe trip because I will visit to see family for special christmas and I live in california , U.S.A. thank you so much sincerely Beata
Hi Weather I would like to know about winter on december 21st, 2009 to January 3 rd , 2010 so I need to know exactly record in temperature and snow during december in Europe because I plan to fly to Poland for safe trip because I will visit to see family for special christmas and I live in california , U.S.A. thank you so much sincerely Beata
I need to find out what the temperature was in North Las Vegas Nevada on July 22nd, 2000. Any help? Thank you.
All of that information was really cool to learn, plus we did a paper on it in school.
in 1423 it was 234 degrees in canada. so get your facts right you fool/jow
What is the highest amount of precipitation for antarctica
hi very inpresif, cool records trytransaating to centegrade and the coldest ever was -105 f or -77c on Mt Logan Canada
coolio, but not helping me. iM DOING THIS FOR SCHOOL. i have to make a globe of the world with yearly average for major cities
How can I find the record lowest high temperature for May 29 in Las Vegas, NV?
I was wondering where the greatest average temperature extremes {in other words, greatest difference between the average high and average low}. Thanks a bunch.
What is the average mean temperature in the USA? I am looking to find a place that it's average temperature is between 40 and 80 degrees.
Great stuff! Could you tell me the weather extremes in the state of Montana for the year 1940?
Good Stuff, thanks for putting all this together! This is all valid, and good information you have here!
Have there been record setting weather days in the Michigan summer of 2013?
Where can I find the average annual temperature (not by month but by year) for South Dakota for years approximately in the period 1880 to 2013?
Janet Dill
I missed the year that Evansville, Indiana had record low of 49 degrees on our 10 pm news. Can you find out for me? This is July 15th it was 49. Thank you.
how did they measure outside temperature in 1896 ?
Janet - according to, "The coldest day reported in Evansville in July for the past 70 years was 49 most recently encountered on July 26, 1962". Weather Underground lists it as July 27, 1962, and also lists two July days with a record low of 47; both records were before 1950.
Mt Swansea
The hottest temperature in Canada was not 115F from Gleichen, Alberta. Nearby weather stations on that day were only in the 80s and the Gleichen "record" has long since been discredited. Probably direct sun striking the thermometer bulb. The highest reliable record is probably 111.9F (44.4C) from Lytton and Lillooet, British Columbia in July of 1941. The southern interior of British Columbia consistently records the highest temperatures of the year in Canada, year after year, nearly every year.
Judy Thompson
What was the coldest day on record in Plant City, Florida (or Tampa or Orlando) in February 1916, 1917, 1918 and 1919?
Gail Blackford
What is the highest lowest texture in Texas in last 20 years?
Slim McNaught
All good information, but no one has been able to tell me what the high temperature was on January 1, 1936. Is there no record of that day?
Joseph Nelson
Has Yuma , AZ ever experienced a seven day stretch where the temperature never exceeded freezing ?What is the lowest high temperature ever recorded in Yuma ,AZ ?
I was very suprised to read this article in weather and discovers that, the highest average annual precipitant extremes continent , my country was one of them Africa 404.0 Debundscha,Cameroon elevation 30feet, and years of record 32. that I did not know
LeRoy Suserud
how many times did one state in the u.s. have the coldest temperature and hottest temperature on the same day?
LOVE THE WEBSITE!! It has taught me all I need to know for this month! Can't wait to visit it again!

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