How Does This Winter Compare to Missouri’s Coldest Ever?

Written by Angie Menjivar
Published: February 17, 2023
© M.Curtis/
Share this post on:

Missouri is a state with a sense of humor. This state has the world’s largest chess piece and a huge rocking chair — for funsies. There are oversized, completely random objects strewn throughout the state along with the tallest national monument in the country, the well-known Gateway Arch. Their state bird is the bluebird, which starts arriving for breeding right around spring. During the winter, it’s perhaps a bit harder to keep your sense of humor as laughter is paired with chattering teeth. This state experiences frigid, snowy winters. Read about the coldest temperature ever recorded in Missouri here.

The Coldest Temperature Ever Recorded in Missouri’s History

Warsaw, Missouri, USA
Warsaw, Missouri, is the location of the coldest temperature ever recorded in the state.

©Tudoran Andrei/

For Missourians, cold weather is a part of life. On average, each year has over 100 days when temperatures reach below freezing. However, on February 13, 1905, a record for Missouri was set in Warsaw. It wasn’t a regular Missouri winter day. On this day, temperatures dipped significantly below zero to -40°F.

Warsaw, MO, is a tiny town with a population of just over 2,000. Residents enjoy a quaint environment with a historic downtown. Part of their outdoor activities include fishing and boating out on the Drake Harbor riverfront. They’re used to cold winters but nothing quite like the record-setting day back in 1905. Today, residents include retirees and visitors arrive from all over to enjoy the resort-style environment.

Average Highs and Lows This Year

Ozark, Missouri, Snow Scene
The cold this year hasn’t quite measured up to that coldest of days in Missouri. Pictured here is Ozark, Missouri.


This year, temperatures dipped in December to -6°F in St. Louis, Missouri. There have been a few days when temperatures rose to the 60s, with one day in December reaching up to the low 70s around the Columbia Regional Airport. For the most part, however, temperatures remain between 30°F and 60°F.

Last month, on the evening of January 24th, a winter storm swept through several cities in Missouri, including Elsinore, Marble Hill, Perryville, Cape Girardeau, and Poplar Bluff. These southeast cities experienced power outages as winds that ranged between 15 to 20 miles accompanied heavy, wet snowfall.

Elsinore got the most snow during this passing storm with a recorded 9.4 inches. Marble Hill was close behind, receiving 7.5 inches. Perryville got six inches, Cape Girardeau got 4.8 inches, and Poplar Bluff got 4.5 inches. Interestingly, the storm had a sharp cutoff and there was zero snow accumulation in New Madrid, MO. Instead, the storm traveled to southern regions of Illinois.

Sometimes, snowfall starts in October in Missouri, and it may even keep falling as late as May. However, on average, Missourians see snowfall from December through February. 18 to 24 inches is the average if you’re north of the Missouri River. However, if you include the southern regions, the average changes to about eight to 12 inches throughout the state.

Although snow falls throughout the state, it doesn’t linger on the ground for more than a week or two. Rain accompanies snow at least a couple of times during the winter season, so Missourians experience freezing rain — even freezing drizzle.

Although Warsaw holds the record for the coldest day in Missouri’s history, there is another town that holds a world record. Holt is located in the northwestern part of the state and received high-intensity rain on June 22, 1947. Within a short 42-minute period, a whopping 12 inches of rain fell.

Animal Migration in Missouri

Ducks and geese travel southward from Missouri by November each year. Pictured are snow geese migrating through Missouri.


Just as winter is on the horizon, making its way to Missouri, bird watchers have a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a show in the sky. Waterfowl migration starts at the tail end of October and during the following months, thousands of geese and ducks make their way further south. They travel along the Mississippi flyway, a bird migration route that spans several states, including Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio.

Ducks and geese begin their migration when their food sources get scarce and when temperatures drop. The very first ducks to arrive in Missouri during the fall are pintails and blue-winged teals. They frequent ponds and marshes and are rather easy to spot because of their distinctive features.

By the time November rolls around, these ducks make their way further south. The temperature gets colder during this time and the winds pick up. However, the bird-watching fun isn’t over. Around this same time, lots of mallards, scaups, and ring-necks arrive. As the months progress, you can also spot Canada geese and black and white ducks (known as “divers”).

You may also spot bald eagles, pelicans, herons, and trumpeter swans along with some other wildlife like beavers, deer, and muskrats. Some of the birds that arrive endure Missouri winters, but others just pass through. One popular place to enjoy the view is Loess Bluffs National Park Wildlife Refuge, located in Forest City, MO. Here, visitors enjoy hiking trails and tours along with a boardwalk to take in all the splendor of nature.

Up Next:

More from A-Z Animals

The Featured Image

Ozark, Missouri, Snow Scene - Coldest Temperature Recorded in Missouri
A snowy scene in Ozark, Missouri.
© M.Curtis/

Share this post on:
About the Author

Angie is a writer with over 10 years of experience developing content for product and brand reviews, focusing much of her time on animals of all types. A cat owner herself, she enjoys writing articles on beloved pets that both inform and entertain her audience.

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