50 Degrees Below Zero: Extreme Cold in Colorado

Bay News 9, Dec 30, 2020

The lower 48 saw its coldest temperature so far this winter season: A biting -50 degree reading in Colorado.

The temperature was measured at the Antero Reservoir in Colorado on Wednesday morning.

It’s not a temperature that happens every year in the contiguous United States. In fact, you have to go back to February 8, 2019 to see a temperature as cold as -50 degrees, nearly two years ago.

The low of -50 degrees Wednesday morning broke the record for the coldest this season in the lower 48. There’s only been one place in the United States that’s been colder than Antero Reservoir so far and that’s in Birch Creek, Alaska with a temperature of -51 degrees measured on December 17.

Antero Reservoir sits about 140 miles southwest of Denver, Colorado. It is nestled within a mountain range and sits at about 9,000 feet above sea level.

The terrain around the reservoir is shaped like a bowl sitting at 9,000 feet in elevation, resulting in the perfect setup for extreme cold from time to time.

The conditions for extreme cold were just absolutely perfect over the reservoir Tuesday night. It’s a meteorological phenomenon known as radiative cooling and it happens when the skies are clear and winds are calm.

When temperatures cool at night, the coldest layers of air sinks to the bottom and hovers near the ground. This is because cold air is more dense than warm air.

Given the terrain around the reservoir, the cold air drained down the mountains and pooled in the reservoir, resulting in a significant drop in temperature.

This temperature has only been colder at the reservoir three other times since records began in 1961. The coldest was -54 degrees set in 1962.

The coldest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was -61 degrees which occurred in Maybell, CO on Februrary 1, 1985. Maybell is a small community located in northwestern Colorado.

If you think that is frigid, how about -80 degrees! That’s the coldest temperature ever recorded in the United States and it happened on January 23, 1971 at Prospect Creek, Alaska.

Sub-zero temperatures have been recorded as far south as the Gulf Coast!


8 thoughts on “50 Degrees Below Zero: Extreme Cold in Colorado

  1. Diesel fuel turns to jelly you have to add additive to your fuel or you’re done with out workable fuel nothing works now your fkd . fuel also works your heater which is a separate heater from the truck engine heater

    You’re going to see crazy words pop up in my comments because this goddamn phone doesn’t print the words correctly it’s a piece of s*** phone. Android phones suck

          1. Cannot wait until spring!!!!!!!!!! Winter. Is the season. .To hate hate hate hate. And I do!!!!!!!!!

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