- Sutton, Vermont, is the coldest area in the state.
- It can reach winter low temperatures of 26°F in Sutton.
- Vermont is the 7th coldest state in the USA.
New England is a unique area in the northeastern United States, but it’s often known specifically for one thing: being cold! Vermont is one of the states that make up New England and is therefore known as one of the coldest states in the entire country. Today, we will see if that reputation holds up when we discover the coldest place in Vermont. Let’s get started!
The Coldest Place in Vermont
The coldest place in Vermont is generally known to be Sutton, a town in Caledonia County in the northeastern part of the state.
Vermont is well-known to be a cold place, but it actually doesn’t even clear the top 5 coldest states in the United States! In fact, it currently sits at 7th on the overall list, although that doesn’t mean it’s “warm” by any means. There is some variation across the state as to the “coldest” place, but the current record and coldest average place are consistently documented in the small town of Sutton.
Sutton is an extremely small town with a population of 913 people, which may just be a result of how cold it gets in this little town! In the winter, Sutton generally has a low temperature of around 26°F, meaning it’s almost totally below freezing for a large portion of the year. In fact, one of the weather stations in the town (there are two total) has recorded a freeze for every month of the year, meaning there isn’t a month during the entire year (including all seasons) where the temps don’t drop below 32°F! Even more, 205 days of the year reach at least 32°.
Part of the reason the town of Sutton is so cold is because of its location. Sutton is located in a region known as the Northeast Kingdom, a place that gets its name from the sheer natural beauty of the region. The area (dubbed the NEK) only has 64,108 people within its 2,027 miles, making it the least-populous region and the largest part of Vermont. Since the region is so far north, it can be quite a bit colder than the southern portions of the state. For reference, Sutton is only a short drive to the border of Canada and is a 2:15-minute drive to Montreal, Quebec.
The Lowest Recorded Temperature in Vermont
Although Sutton is the coldest average place to hang out, it doesn’t hold the record for the single coldest day. That record belongs to the town of Bloomfield. The town has a population of around 221 people and set the record for the coldest temperature ever back in 1933. On December 30th, Bloomfield recorded a temperature of -50°F!
At insanely cold temperatures like that, frostbite on exposed skin can happen in minutes, and the breath in your mouth can freeze. If you plan on visiting the town of Sutton or Bloomfield anytime soon, make sure you bring a coat, gloves, two pairs of socks, and a space heater!
The Biggest Blizzard in Vermont History
Vermont is used to being buried in the snow every winter. However, on March 12-14, 1888, the blizzard was so extreme that it remains one of the most memorable in history. Before modern snow removal technology, the storm caused considerable damage in small towns. Despite being over a century old, stories of the blizzard are still shared today.
Southern Vermont experienced the most extreme blizzard in its history over two days in March, with over forty inches of snowfall. Gusts of wind up to forty miles per hour further aggravated the situation and created massive snowdrifts, some reaching up to fifteen feet high. The temperature was a frigid 6°F.
The most intense blizzard to ever hit Vermont fully shut down rail travel for several days. The sheer amount of snow that had fallen remained long after the storm. The snow was so high that it blocked the view of people living across the street from each other.
The Ecology of Northern Vermont
Surviving in such a cold place isn’t easy, but plants, animals, and even humans live in the region year-round! Northern Vermont, where the coldest temps are usually recorded, is home to a stunning array of wildlife and some of the most cold-hardy plants in the entire United States.
In the NEK (Northeastern Kingdom) of Vermont, there are a few trees that are especially important. The region is extensively forested and is well-known for its maple syrup production. In fact, Vermont is the number-one producer of maple syrup in all of the United States by a substantial margin. This is due to the high number of maple trees located across the deciduous forests that blanket most of the state. Besides maples and other deciduous trees (leaves that fall off during the winter), there is an abundance of balsam fir and red, white, and black spruce. These trees are evergreen and retain their needles during the cold, snowy winters.
Regarding animals, the NEK is home to the largest number of moose in the state, although they can be found throughout most of the state. Additionally, rare animals like (VT Fish and Wildlife) the American marten, eastern bobcat, fisher, various foxes, black bears, weasels, and mink all call the region home. These animals are known for their cold hardiness, although their range at one point extended much further to the south. The northern regions of Vermont are one of the only places where many of these fur-bearing animals remain along the eastern portion of the United States.
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