Discover the Coldest Temperature Ever Recorded in California

Written by Emilio Brown
Published: February 14, 2023
© Gleb Tarro/Shutterstock.com
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You can always find something interesting to learn about California. Its population reaches over 38 million, making it the most inhabited state in the U.S. Being the third largest state, California is not only filled with people, but is also the most biodiverse region in the country, home to a plethora of plants, and habitats. Its climate also varies, and here you will discover the coldest temperature ever recorded in California. 

California is known as being one of the hottest states in the U.S. The region has the highest temperature ever recorded in North America, reaching an intense temperature of 134°F (57°C) in Death Valley

You can find forests, mountains, deserts, wetlands, and coastal habitats in California, which is why the climate varies across the region. While winters in the state are typically mild, there are some places that get extremely cold, and may even snow. Let’s take a look at the coldest temperature ever recorded in California.

Boca, CA
In California, the coldest temperature ever recorded in the state was -45°F (-42.7°C). This temperature was recorded in Boca, on January 20, 1937.

©AJ9/Shutterstock.com

The Coldest Temperature Ever Recorded in California

In California, the coldest temperature ever recorded in the state was -45°F (-42.7°C). This temperature was recorded in Boca, on January 20, 1937. Boca sits at an elevation of around 5,532 ft. and is north of Lake Tahoe. Boca, California is known for having extremely cold winters, and hot summers. 

January is the coldest month in Boca, California, and on average has a daily high of 43°F (6.1°C) and a low of 12°F (-11.1°C). Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Boca is one of the few freezing and very snowy areas in California during winter. In Boca, California, you can expect up to 100 inches of snowfall yearly. 

Coldest Region in California

While most of California is known for its warm temperatures, the Sierra Nevada mountains where Boca, California is located are one of the coldest places. The higher elevations of these mountains keep the climate relatively cold. In summer the regions get highs between 80°F to 100 °F. 

The Sierra Nevadas are one of the snowiest mountain ranges in North America and get up to 360 inches of snow yearly. Elevations of this mountain range increase from 500 ft. (150m.)to 14,000 ft. (4,300 m.) above sea level. Winter in this freezing mountain range ranges between highs of 55 to 77 °F(12.7 to 25°C), to lows of 0 to -32 °F (-17 to -35.5°C) at night.

Mount Whitney Californian
While most of California is known for its warm temperatures, the Sierra Nevada mountains are one of the coldest places.

©iStock.com/dpenn

Is California Warm in the Winter?

In general, California keeps relatively warm in the winter across the state and has an average temperature between 50 to 60 °F (10 to 15.5°C). The further north you go, the colder the climate gets. Compared to the other states in the U.S., in the winter California is one of the warmest, but the different regions experience different temperatures. 

Areas in the southern part of the state like San Diego, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles have very mild winters compared to the colder parts of the state and lack snow completely. Most of California lacks snowfall completely, but it is not uncommon for areas to get extremely windy, and rainy. 

Like its snow, rainfall across the state varies drastically from as little as 5 inches to as much as reaching over 100 inches of rain. California has mild and wet winters, and on some days temperatures can get up to 80 °F (26.6°C).

Victorian Hotel del Coronado in San Diego
Areas in the southern part of the state like San Diego, have very mild winters compared to the colder parts of the state and lack snow completely.

©iStock.com/f11photo

Wildlife in California’s Winter

California is one of the best spots to visit nature in the winter or any time of the year. California is considered the most biodiverse state in the country. There are around 59 different habitats in the Golden State. More than 300 mammals, 600 birds, over 100 reptiles, and more than 74 reptiles inhabit California. A total of nine national parks sit in the state, showcasing the various wildlife there is to enjoy.

In winter even the coldest regions like the Sierra Nevada mountains have wildlife still active. Some animals active in the winter include snowshoe hares, bighorn sheep, California mountain lions, black bears, and mountain coyotes. There are also more than 70 bird species that overwinter and do not move south. Animals that live in the mountains during winter if the active move to lower elevations. 

Snowshoe Hare
In winter even the coldest regions like the Sierra Nevada mountains have wildlife still active. Some animals active in the winter include snowshoe hares.

©FotoRequest/Shutterstock.com

In Southern California animals in the winter do not have to hibernate due to the region’s warmer climate. Some animals like bats may hibernate, and reptiles and amphibians may seek shelter during the colder days. Winter in the southern California coast is the best time to spot the gray whale migration, and in the warmer places in California wildlife is still abundant to see. 

gray whale popping its head out of the water
Winter in the southern California coast is the best time to spot the gray whale migration.

©Mogens Trolle/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Spiders, snakes, and lizards are my favorite types of animals, and I enjoy keeping some species as pets. I love learning about the various wonders nature has to offer and have been a writer for 5 years. In my spare time, you can find me getting out into nature.

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