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The Cold Hard Facts: Billings flirts with record low temperature

Posted at 9:05 AM, Dec 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-22 11:28:06-05

BILLINGS - While we didn't reach the official record low for this day in Billings of -26° in 1990, it was still abnormally frigid.

You might be wondering how this cold snap stacks up to historically record cold temperatures locally, nationally, and worldwide.

Here are some cold hard facts for you: 

- As of about 9 a.m., the Billings airport dipped to -21° - the average normal temperature is around 18° - but it's well short of the coldest December day on record in the modern era of -32° set back on Christmas Eve in 1983. 

- The lowest temperature ever recorded in Billings was -38° on Feb. 15, 1936.

- If you look back before records started being officially kept in the modern era, the coldest low was -49° on Feb. 11, 1899. 

- Montana also has the distinction of holding the record for the all-time coldest temperature in the Lower 48 at -70° set at Rogers Pass on the Continental Divide on Jan. 20, 1954.

- The lowest temperature ever recorded in all 50 states was -80° on Jan. 23, 1971 in Prospect Creek, Alaska, which is just north of Fairbanks. 

- Taking it one step further, the record for the lowest temperature ever recorded on earth was -128.6° reached at Vostok Station in Antarctica on July 21, 1983.  


"What is the coldest WIND CHILL ever recorded?" you may ask.

McGrath, Alaska tops the list with a whopping -100° set on January 27, 1989.  

For our friends in Wyoming, your coldest temperature ever recorded took place on February 9, 1933 when the low hit -66° in Riverside in Carbon County. 

We're not done with the record books yet. Billings and Miles City will both have a chance at setting record lows Friday morning. Billings could hit -22° which would best the record of -20° set in 1983.

Miles City is forecast to reach -36° which would break the record of -33° also set in 1983. That was a legendary cold year! 

 A warming trend kicks in as we head into the Christmas weekend with above-normal daytime highs expected for the final week of the year. 

Here's the latest forecast:Q2 Billings Area Weather: Arctic air continues to dig in

 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  

-Miller Robson 

Q2 Morning Meteorologist