‘Tis The Season: Colorado Hits The Coldest Temp Yet In The Lower 48 States

December 30, 2020
Antero Reservoir as seen from space and photographed during STS-58 in October of 1993. The reservoir appears as a dark blotch near the lower left of the photograph.Antero Reservoir as seen from space and photographed during STS-58 in October of 1993. The reservoir appears as a dark blotch near the lower left of the photograph.NASA
Antero Reservoir as seen from space and photographed during STS-58 in October of 1993. The reservoir appears as a dark blotch near the lower left of the photograph.

Colorado has registered the coldest temperature in the lower 48 states so far this winter season.

Antero Reservoir in Park County reached negative 50 degrees Fahrenheit Wednesday morning, which is the fourth coldest reading observed there since records started in 1961.

The measurement is also a hair away from the overall coldest temperature recorded across the nation this winter. Birch Creek, Alaska registered the lowest low so far, which hit negative 51 degrees Fahrenheit on Dec. 17.

The Antero reading was still 11 degrees shy of Colorado's all-time coldest temperature. Maybell, Colorado, which is in the northwestern corner of the state, reached 61 degrees below zero back on Feb. 1, 1985.

If temperatures were ever going to drop that low, it was going to happen around this time of year, said meteorologist Dave Barjenbruch with the National Weather Service.

"All the ingredients showed up last night, with the fresh snow, the clear skies and cold temperatures to allow temperatures to really plummet up there."

Though it was markedly frigid, it's not unusual for that area of Park County to get that cold. At this same time in December 2019, temperatures at the reservoir dropped to 48 below zero.