How Cold Has It Been? Colorado’s Had The Lowest Temperature In The Lower 48 States For Two Days In A Row

December 31, 2019
Covered with freshly-fallen snow, the Rocky Mountains rise above central Colorado Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019.Covered with freshly-fallen snow, the Rocky Mountains rise above central Colorado Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019.Charlie Riedel/AP
Covered with freshly-fallen snow, the Rocky Mountains rise above central Colorado Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019.

For two days in a row, Antero Reservoir in Park County has had the lowest temperature recorded in the United States at — brrr — 48 degrees below zero.

That's not all. On Monday, Crested Butte recorded a temperature of -31 degrees Fahrenheit. Alamosa, Gunnison and Kremmling all recorded lows of -26 degrees.

Jim Kalina, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said Antero Reservoir — which is about 75 miles west of Colorado Springs — typically gets that cold every year at least a couple times. It sits at nearly 9,000 feet of elevation, after all. The coldest temperature recorded there ever was was -54 degrees.

"They're a high mountain valley," he said. "So the cold air just kinda sinks and drains right into that area. ... And it doesn't warm up much during the day and winds are calm under clear skies. When they do get the snow cover up there, that sets them up for these really cold temperatures."

Daytime highs yesterday didn't even climb above zero at Antero.

Tonight will be cold too.

"You need clear skies," Kalina said. "And also light winds, so they kind of really get everything."

Snow is also in the forecast for the northern mountains, where there's a winter storm watch in effect starting later Tuesday night. Winds will also gust to 45 miles per hour. Forecasters expect 6-14 inches of snow in mountain areas.