US Weather Extremes

America’s weather is variable: learn more about US weather extremes here. The rankings and records below are based on official NOAA and NWS data and have been reviewed for accuracy. We’ve also included links to relevant Top-10 lists from our archives for you to learn more.

For our city rankings, we consider any location with over 50,000 eligible as a “city” (with some exceptions for smaller states). However, a “place” can be any location with officially recognized meteorological records.

Coldest | Hottest | Wettest | Driest | Snowiest | Stormiest | Windiest | Sunniest | Cloudiest | FAQ

Coldest Places in the US

  • Coldest temperature ever recorded: -80 °F at Prospect Creek Camp, Alaska, on January 23, 1971
  • Coldest temperature ever recorded in the Lower 48: -70 °F at Rogers Pass, Montana, on January 20, 1954
  • Coldest City: Fairbanks, Alaska: -16.9 °F average low temperature in January
  • Coldest City in the Lower 48: Grand Forks, North Dakota: -3.1 °F average low temperature in January
  • Coldest State: Alaska

More: Coldest US Cities | Coldest US States (Coming soon!)

Hottest Places in the US

More: Warmest US Cities | Warmest US States

Wettest Places in the US

  • Most Days with Precipitation: Akaka Falls Park, Big Island, Hawaii: 309 days
  • Most Rain in 24 Hours: Waipā Garden, Kauai, Hawaii: 49.69″ on April 15, 2018 (1245pm 4/14 to 1245pm 4/15 HST)
  • Most Annual Rainfall: Miami, Florida and Mobile, Alabama: 67″
  • Wettest Place: Little Port Walter, Baranof Island, Alaska: 245.7″ annually*
  • Wettest City: Rochester, New York: 167 days with .01″ or more of precipitation
  • Wettest State: Hawaii

More: Wettest US Cities | Wettest US States

More Top Ten Lists

See More Top Ten Lists Here

Driest Places in the US

  • Longest period without measurable rainfall: Sacramento, California: 211 days, March 20 to October 16, 2021
  • Driest City: Yuma, Arizona: 3.3″ annually
  • Driest State: Nevada

More: Driest US Cities | Driest US States (Coming soon!)

Snowiest Places in the US

  • Highest Annual Snowfall: Crater Lake Park Headquarters, Oregon: 463.1″ annually
  • Most Snow in 24 Hours: Silver Lake, Colorado: 75.8″ from April 14 to 15, 1921
  • Biggest Single Snowstorm: Mount Shasta Ski Bowl, California: 189″ from Feb. 13-19, 1959
  • Most Frequent Snowstorms (>5″): Crater Lake Park Headquarters, Oregon and Alta, Utah: 27 days
  • Snowiest City: Rochester, New York: 100″ annually

More: Snowiest US Cities | America’s Snowiest States (Coming Fall 2023)

Stormiest Places in the US

  • Most Days with Thunderstorms: Fort Myers, Florida: 89 days annually
  • State with the Most Hurricane Landfalls: Florida: 120 hurricanes from 1851-2018 (37 were Category 3 through Category 5)
  • State with the Most Tornadoes: Texas (151 tornadoes each year)
  • Largest Hail Ever Recorded: Vivian, South Dakota: 8″ on July 23, 2010
  • Strongest Tornado Ever Recorded: El Reno, Oklahoma: 296 mph winds measured by radar on May 31, 2013

More: Stormiest US Cities

Weather Watch: An Introduction to America's Weather and Climate

Experience the fascinating world of weather with the second edition of Weather Watch: An Introduction to America's Weather and Climate. This book doesn't just explain weather and climate concepts—it brings them to life.

Weather Watch is perfect for teenagers and adults who wish to deepen their understanding of the dynamic world of meteorology. Simplifying the complex, this book breaks down the science of weather into smaller, easily digestible concepts, allowing you to build on your knowledge with each chapter.

Here's what to expect:

  • Detailed insights on clouds, pressure and wind, reading weather maps, hurricanes, and tropical storms
  • Enlightening discussion on climate change
  • Essential guidance on purchasing a weather station
  • Critical information on severe weather and tornadoes
  • Learning how to forecast the weather yourself

This second edition comes completely reformatted with over 30 pages of new content, including advanced weather map analysis and space weather. It's more visually appealing with additional illustrations and graphics. Each chapter now ends with handy links for more in-depth learning, and sprinkled throughout the book are captivating American weather events, serving as real-life illustrations of introduced concepts.

Windiest Places in the US

  • Windiest Place: Mount Washington, New Hampshire: 35.1 mph average wind speed
  • Highest Wind Gust: Mount Washington, New Hampshire: 231 mph on April 12, 1934**
  • Windiest City: Amarillo, Texas: 12.9 mph average wind speed

More: Windiest US Cities | Windiest Places on Earth

More Extremes

  • Most Sunny Days: Yuma, Arizona: 90% of the year (~330 days)
  • Most Cloudy Days: Seattle, Washington: 62% of the year (~226 days)

More: Sunniest US Cities

* Mt. Waialeale, Kauai, Hawaii, received an average of 460 inches of rain yearly from 1931 to 1960. However, there is no longer a weather station at the location.
** While stronger winds have been measured by radar, Mount Washington’s wind gust remains the record highest gust measured by an anemometer.

us weather extremes
The record-breaking 8″ hailstone that fell in Vivian, South Dakota, in 2010.

US Climate Extremes FAQ

Where Is The Most Extreme Weather In The US?

The most extreme weather in America can be found on Mount Washington, New Hampshire. The location holds the record for the strongest wind gust ever recorded in the US (231 mph!), but conditions are regularly blustery and cold.

What State Has The Most Extreme Weather?

Texas has the country’s most extreme weather because of its size. During the winter, temperatures can be below freezing in the Panhandle yet be summerlike across the Rio Grande Valley. The state sees a considerable amount of severe weather, from blizzards and ice storms in the winter to hail and tornadoes during the spring and summer months.

What US City Has The Most Extreme Weather?

Most of America’s cities are located where the weather is generally tranquil most of the time. But we’d argue Boston’s location puts it in the path of storm tracks year round. During the winter, nor’easters and blizzards are common, and the coastal Northeast is at high risk of hurricane landfall, especially during the late summer. But that’s not all — it’s also one of the cities with the most extreme temperature changes from season to season. It’s not unusual to see a day or two above 100 °F during the summer and below zero temperatures a few months later in the middle of winter.

Data Sources