When it comes to winter weather, every US state has its pluses and minuses. However, there is no denying the fact that some states have worse winters than others. If you dislike the freezing temperatures and snow, we don’t blame you. That’s why we’ve created a list of all of the states that you definitely want to avoid this upcoming winter season.
It’s based on a subjective, although, surprisingly accurate ranking by Thrillist. Once you read through the reasons for their various choices, we’re positive that you’ll find yourself nodding your head in agreement as well. These 10 states have the worst wintertime weather, by far. Make sure to put on your gloves and hats, folks, it’s going to be a cold and windy ride!
The interesting thing about Massachusetts winters is that depending on which part of the state you live in, the weather could be completely different. On the coast, you get heavy snowfall, but with temperatures that are slightly warmer.
Once you head inland to Central and Western Massachusetts, snowfall decreases somewhat, but the temperatures plummet too. If you hate winter weather, neither part of the state is really a good choice.
The Northern Rockies are a beautiful natural paradise during the summer months. However, when winter comes, you better run in the other direction.
Helena, Montana maintains the national record for the lowest temperature ever observed in the lower 48. The thermometer was once recorded reaching negative 70°F in that area. Plus, elsewhere in Montana, Arctic air occasionally rips down slopes at wind speeds of over 100 mph.
If you live in the Northern part of Idaho, often referred to as “the chimney” for its long and slender shape, you’ll experience the worst of Idaho’s winter weather. For example, the town of Stanley, Idaho experiences an average of 292 days per year below freezing. That’s no laughing matter!
Here’s a little indicator as to how brutal Wisconsin winters can get — some parts of the state receive around 167.5 inches of annual snowfall. Luckily, most of the cold weather is contained to the months of December through March, but that’s still a long stretch of frigid grayness to deal with. Many Wisconsinites survive the winter only with the help of copious amounts of brandy.
6. South Dakota
South Dakota is the land of opposites. You have scorching summers contrasted against some of the most insane winters in the country. If you choose to reside there, we recommend sticking to the eastern part of the state where they only get 31 inches of snow on average. The western region of South Dakota can get up to 198 inches.
Most people in Maine live along the coasts. There is a good reason for that. Once you head inland into the forests that make up the vast majority of the state’s land area, things get much wilder. The winters there can begin as early as October and last through April. The only real reason to be there is for skiing and snowboarding.
4. North Dakota
If you thought South Dakota was bad, North Dakota boasts an average high winter temperature that is almost four degrees colder than its southern counterpart. It’s around 21°F. North Dakota is the land of deadly blizzards and winter weather that will leave you cold and shivering for months on end.
Alaska is so much further north than all of the other US states, it might as well be a part of Canada. We like to imagine that the people living there are tougher than most of us residing in the lower 48… they pretty much have to be.
How else can you explain people surviving up in the Arctic regions where winter weather also means months of literal darkness? The town of Barrow, Alaska has a stretch in the winter where they don’t receive any sunlight for 67 entire days.
Winters in Michigan are long, gray, drizzly, and snowy. Picture a constant mix of snow and rain, daily, for four to six months. The Great Lakes regions can get up to 202 inches of annual snowfall. Every day, the roads turn into a mix of brown slush, and every night, they freeze over again into a sheet of ice.
Whereas some states can at least offer excellent skiing as a side benefit of the winter weather, Michigan has none of that either. It’s a very maddening place to spend the winter season.
The number one choice for horrible winter weather has to go to Minnesota. There are states that have more annual snowfall than the state (Northern Minnesota gets 170 inches or so). However, where Minnesota really excels is in the sheer mix of brutal winter weather that it experiences.
The state receives low-pressure fronts known as Alberta clippers coming in from the north, as well as panhandle hooks coming up from the south. Temperatures can get as low at -60°F outside, and the ridiculous winds can chill you to the bones.
If you’re looking for a good place to survive the winter, we recommend going anywhere but these 10 states. Unless you like icy cold, constantly frozen roads, and heaps and heaps of snow, there really is no sound reason to venture to these miserable regions. Sure, it’s all a matter of opinion, however, at the end of the day, it’s pretty clear to us — snowbirds should stay well away!
Check out an additional Minnesota winter picture below showcasing the Saint Paul skyline.
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