Discover Alabama’s Coldest January on Record

Written by Jennifer Hollohan
Updated: March 8, 2023
© Sutherland Boswell/
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The most recent winter storm that swept across most of the United States had many questioning whether they were experiencing the coldest days. In some parts of the country, that was indeed the case. However, the early winter storm happened before January, the coldest month of the year for many states.

Brutal winter cold even strikes the southeastern portion of the country on occasion. That may be a slight shock to many, who believe the hot and humid summers help to keep the winter months warmer. But, unfortunately, this is not always the case. Not even in the warm state of Alabama. But how cold does it actually get there? What was Alabama’s coldest recorded January? Keep reading to learn more about the frigid temperatures that strike the southern state. 

What Was Alabama’s Coldest January?

The honor for the coldest month as a whole belongs to January 1940. That year, Alabama residents suffered through 26 days of minimum temperatures hitting 32°F or lower. Weather records extend back to 1872. Not far behind this record-holder was a tie between January 2014 and January 1977. Both years saw 23 days of low temperatures of 32°F or less. 

However, nothing can hold a candle to the coldest temperature for a single day in Alabama. On January 30, 1966, the thermometer sunk to -27°F. The “lucky” town that holds this record is New Market, which is in Madison County. The area sits at 760 feet above sea level.

Winter in Alabama
The coldest January in Alabama occurred in 1940.


What is the Coldest Day on Record in the US?

There are two ways to record weather records in the United States. The first is to look at the country as a whole. And when you do that, you discover that the coldest official temperature belongs to Alaska. On January 23, 1971, the thermometer bottomed out at -80° F. 

Alternatively, you can look at only the continental United States. If we do that, we find out that the record is hot on the heels of Alaska. Rogers Pass, Montana, registered -70° F on January 20, 1954. That recording got taken at 5,470 feet above sea level. 

What Animals Live in Madison County?

Since Alabama is apparently no stranger to cold weather, it begs the question of whether local wildlife is suited to frigid temps. But the answer isn’t so clear-cut. The state has an incredibly diverse range of wildlife. Some of them do well in colder environments and can handle Alabama’s coldest January. Others are more suited for the warm, humid summers that hit the state. So here’s a quick (non-exhaustive) look at the animals you may find in Madison County, home of the state’s record cold.


Madison County, Alabama, has an amazing range of mammals. Some may not surprise you. Animals like white-tailed deer, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and beavers live throughout the United States. However, the presence of others may surprise you if you don’t call Alabama home. Wander the countryside in this southern state, and you may spot armadillos, North American river otters, opossums, groundhogs, bats, muskrats, short-tailed shrews, weasels, moles, and voles


What is likely unsurprising is the abundant amount of reptiles in Madison County. Twelve turtle species, multiple lizard and skink species, over 30 snake species, geckos, the green anole, and the American alligator call the area home. 


The presence of watery regions in Madison County also ensures healthy populations of salamanders, frogs, toads, and eastern newts. If you spend any time on the water in Alabama, you likely encounter these tiny critters.


Whether you live in Alabama or intend to visit, make sure to crack your windows open as often as possible. Of course, you will want to catch the beautiful music from the countless bird species inhabiting Madison County. And if you are into bird watching, you definitely won’t get bored!

alligator with its mouth hanging open
American alligators live in Madison County, Alabama.

©Deborah Ferrin/

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Winter in Alabama
Winter in Alabama
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About the Author

Jennifer is a writer, Nutritionist, and Herbalist, and hobby gardener. She is passionate about writing and enjoys digging into new, unique topics. When not glued to the computer screen, she loves hanging out with her kids, working in her garden, and crafting crazy culinary delights.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Has Alabama ever had snow on Christmas?

As surprising as it may sound, there are multiple years when snow fell on Christmas Day in Alabama. Unfortunately, the official measuring sites did not receive enough to record in those years. 

What was the warmest winter in Alabama?

In 1932, the average temperature was 55.5° F. It was the warmest winter ever recorded in the state. 

Has Alabama ever had a blizzard?

Yes, the state does get the occasional blizzard. The worst one occurred in March 1993 and is referred to as “The Storm of the Century.”

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

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