Discover The 10 Coldest States In December

Coldest States in December
© Animals

Written by Rob Hayek

Published: December 2, 2023

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December is a cold time for the majority of the United States. Hence, many states will see extensive snowstorms or heavy rainstorms. It makes the holiday season slightly more uncomfortable than the other calendar months.

But which states are the coldest? Today, we will answer that question. We are here to showcase the 10 coldest states in December while illustrating the average monthly temperatures they experience. Additionally, we will use data compiled by Extreme Weather Watch from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on a 20-year model.

To show you just how cold some states are, several states you would not believe just missed making the top-10 list. Those states were Michigan, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, and Washington, finishing 11-15.

10. Idaho

Schweitzer Mountain trail in Idaho. Very beautiful with "snow ghosts" lining the sides of the trails. First person view of a skier going down the trail.

Idaho is one of the coldest states in December, with an average high of 32.4 degrees and an average low of 16.9 degrees.


The snow starts to fall heavily this month, providing many skiing opportunities.

The first state on our list is Idaho. An average of 1.9 million people live in this state. Thus, they all get to experience the cold winters that start in December. The average high temperature is usually around freezing temperatures, with the average low dropping an additional 16 degrees.

Wildlife in Idaho generally takes cover or hibernates during the colder temperatures. Thus, a grizzly bear will likely hibernate this month. The frigid temperatures make things uncomfortable, even for animals. Therefore, Idaho naturally is one of the coldest states in December.

9. Vermont

Snowfall in downtown Burlington, Vermont.

Vermont experiences very frigid temperatures during the holidays, making it one of the coldest states in the Union in December.

© Boudreaux

The average high temperature for Vermont in December is 32.2 degrees, and the average low is 15.8 degrees, making it all the more important to bundle up.

The holidays in Vermont are nice. Yet, it also can get very cold. The average high is just above freezing temperatures and gets colder at night. A Hazzard Assessment revealed that Vermont once saw an extremely low temperature of -50 degrees Fahrenheit in December 1933.

The coldest place in Vermont gets even colder in December, and its proximity to Canada makes it chillier. Overall, it’s unsurprising that Vermont is one of the coldest states in December.

8. Wyoming

Douglas Fir covered with snow in Yellowstone National Park

Wyoming can get pretty chilly in winter, starting in December.

©Paul B. Moore/

The average high in Wyoming in December is around 32.2 degrees, with the average low being 11.3 degrees. Thus, it is best to prepare for any snowstorms that may occur, especially when visiting Yellowstone National Park.

If you plan to go to Yellowstone National Park, you should probably avoid going in December unless you prepare for the cold. Overall, the high in December is 32.2 degrees, with the low dropping to 11.3 degrees. It is not much warmer in other parts of the state. In fact, Casper, WY, reached an all-time low temperature in December 2022 when it dropped to -42 degrees.

7. South Dakota

Aerial View of Rapid City, South Dakota with fresh Snow

South Dakota sees a blanket of white powder every December, and it is the beginning of a cold winter.

©Jacob Boomsma/iStock via Getty Images

The average high in South Dakota in December is around 31.9 degrees, with an average low being 12.1 degrees.

The average high in South Dakota in December dips just below freezing. Then, the cold drops 20 degrees during the night. The year 1983 saw the coldest December in history, with the average high being as low as 2.1 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

South Dakota currently has an approximate population of 895,376. Thus, these residents all have to endure cold December every year, with fluctuating temperatures. South Dakota is one of the coldest states in December.

6. Montana

Scenic view of the snow covered peaks and slopes at Big Sky Ski Resort in Montana on a sunny winter day

Montana usually sees their first snow in November, extending into December, marking the beginning of a cold season.


December usually sees average highs of 31.4 degrees, with average lows of 12.8 degrees in Montana.

The weather in Montana turns frigid in December. Therefore, it is not surprising to see it on this list. The average high falls below freezing and gets even more frigid at night. With 1.1 million people living in this state, colder temperatures are expected every December.

5. Maine

Blizard in Maine

It’s not uncommon to see a blizzard in Maine, especially in December.

©EJ Johnson/ via Getty Images

The average temperature in December in Maine usually has a high of 30.7 and a low of 14.5.

The state at the highest point in the United States falls fifth on our list. Yet, Maine is not the coldest state in December, but still pretty chilling. It averages 30.7 degrees as a high with a low of 14.5 degrees. Therefore, it is not unusual to see blizzards start happening in December. Maine is one of the coldest states in December, seeing inclement weather begin and extend for many months.

4. Wisconsin

Wisconsin snow covered road and forest in December, horizontal

The roads are difficult to see when the snow starts to fall in Wisconsin, which is a usual occurrence in December.

©Michael Tatman/

The average high for Wisconsin in December is 29 degrees, with the average low reaching 13.8 degrees.

If you have ever watched the Green Bay Packers, you know the “frozen tundra” can get chilling in Wisconsin in December. Amazingly, the “Ice Bowl” was a game between the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys on December 31, 1967, where the temperature dipped to -13 degrees with a wind chill of -36 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. On most years, December in Wisconsin averages a high of 29 degrees with a low of 13.7, making it one of the coldest states in

3. Minnesota

Duluth Minnesota

Minnesota sees heavy snowfall in December, with the colder temperatures beginning in earnest.

©Jacob Boosma/

The average high temperature in Minnesota in December is usually around 24.5 degrees, with the average low being 8.4 degrees.

The weather in Minnesota can get chilly. Overall, the high reaches 24.5 degrees, with an average low of 8.4 degrees. With a population of 5.7 million people, it is also one of the most populated cold states in the country. Animals like the black bear will hibernate during December, while bison will walk around even in frigid temperatures.

2. North Dakota

North Dakota

It is not unusual to see cars covered in snow when December rolls around, as many storms and cold temperatures start to appear.

©Photo Image/

North Dakota averages a high of 24.5 degrees in December and a low of 6.8 degrees.

The penultimate state of this list is North Dakota, and it is not difficult to see why. It averages a high of 24.5 degrees in December with a low of 6.8 degrees. Amazingly, North Dakota experienced the coldest December in 1936, with Williston, ND, experiencing a monthly record low of -50 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. With approximately 774,948 people living in North Dakota, the state takes extreme precautions to prepare for the cold weather that inevitably hits them in December.

1. Alaska

Alaska Blizzard

Blizzards and frigid temperatures make Alaska the coldest state in December.

©Doug Michaels/ via Getty Images

The average December high in Alaska is 13.2 degrees, with the average low going as steep as .7 degrees.

Alaska is the coldest state in December and is incredibly colder than the other states on this list. First, let’s look at the average marks. In December, Alaska averages a median high of 13.2 degrees, which is almost 20 degrees below freezing temperatures. Likewise, it sees an average low of 0.7 degrees. The coldest December ever occurred in 1964, reaching a frosty low of -70 degrees. Continuously, parts of Alaska have dipped that low over the years. The consistent cold temperatures with the numerous blizzards make Alaska the coldest state in December.

Summary of Discover The 10 Coldest States In December

RankStateWeather Average HighWeather Average Low
1.Alaska13.2 degrees.7 degrees
2.North Dakota24.5 degrees6.8 degrees
3.Minnesota24.5 degrees8.4 degrees
4.Wisconsin29 degrees13 degrees
5.Maine30.7 degrees14.5 degrees
6.Montana31.4 degrees12.8 degrees
7.South Dakota31.9 degrees12.1 degrees
8.Wyoming32.2 degrees11.3 degrees
9.Vermont32.3 degrees15.8 degrees
10.Idaho32.4 degrees16.9 degrees

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About the Author

Rob Hayek is a writer at A-Z Animals where his primary focus is on animals, sports, places, and events. Rob has been writing and researching about animals, sports, places, and events for over 10 years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Cal State University Fullerton, which he earned in 2009. A resident of California, Rob enjoys surfing and also owns a sports group which allows people from the local community to come together to play sports recreationally.

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