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If You Think Missoula is Too Cold in 2016, Be Happy You Weren’t Here in 1983

Missoula County Snow
Photo courtesy of Hannah Minsky

Montana might seem like a cold place, especially for those who recently moved here from a coastal state, but while you’re out shoveling snow or warming your hands it might be helpful to have a little perspective on just how cold it can really get.

So far, according to Meteorologist Jeff Kitzmiller from the National Weather Service, the coldest December day in 2016 hasn’t even dropped below zero degrees.

“We’ve only been down to five above zero, so far this year, and that was on December 8th,” Kitzmiller said. “In the past, we’ve had some really cold days in December, it’s one of our coldest months: -30 is the coldest we’ve been in December, that was in 1983. We were down to – 28 in 1990 and even more recent we had -16 in 2005.”

But all those cold days aren’t even half as cold as the coldest day ever recorded in Montana.

“Back in 1954, Rogers Pass got down to -70 degrees,” Kitzmiller said. “That ends up being the coldest temperature ever recorded in the lower 48.”

Missoula had its coldest December day in 1983 and planet earth also made a cold record that same year. In July of 1983, the earth’s coldest recorded ground temperature was measured at the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica: a frigid -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit.


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