It’s January! Welcome to the month when conversations are limited to two topics: everyone’s New Year’s resolutions and how unbelievably cold and miserable it is outside.
Since I’ve never been a fan of making resolutions only to break them 10 days into the year, that leaves me with the weather.
In most of America, winter sucks. It is cold out. You don’t feel like doing anything. Pipes freeze. Lips, noses, and cheeks get chapped and raw. Black ice kills. Snow hats look cool until you have to take them off indoors and then your hair looks like hell. It’s horrible.
Growing up in Alberta, I have experienced the personal hell that is winter’s awkwardly long, frigid embrace.
But before you go bellyaching about the nasty winter weather in your area, here’s a little reality check. We’ve ranked the states that experience the worst winters in the United States, officially giving them the right to whine and moan from December to February, no questions asked.
This is one of those things where you probably actually want to finish last.
A New England state was DEFINITELY going to be on this list, and here we are, starting things off. The weather in New England is infamously fickle, changing on a dime and often dragging winter along well into the spring.
Random April snow showers? They make you want to cry.
Winters in Montana are definitely different depending on where you live in the state. See, there’s this little thing called the Continental Divide. This divide of mountains prevents cold air masses from crossing over; this makes some parts of Montana almost glorious during the winter (50s, generally speaking) and others a literal frozen tundra.
We’re talking ten below with wind chill and snow covering your car, kind of tundra.
Similarly, winters in Idaho are all about where you live. Either way, you’re getting a heavy snowfall and some chilly temperatures, but living north or south can determine just how frozen you’ll be for four or so months.
The long, top most part of Idaho is called “the chimney.” If you look at a map of the United States and you take a good look at said chimney, you’ll see it’s practically part of Canada. Which means those Canadian winters don’t have to travel too far.
From December into March, Wisconsin temperatures are pretty darn cold. Again, they vary from which part of the state you live in, but the general consensus is: freezing cold. The average annual snowfall in Wisconsin can be as high as 167.5 inches, which just puts Idaho’s record to shame.
And still, despite the consistent below freezing temps that just knock the wind out of you and the literal feet of snow, people still put on a million layers to tailgate at Packers games. That is commitment.
#6. South Dakota
In South Dakota, the summers are absolutely boiling hot. So it only makes sense that the winters would be absolutely freezing. South Dakota winters are dry with snowfall averages that range from 31 inches in the much warmer eastern part of the state to 198 inches in the deadly cold western part of the state.
Those snowfalls just keep topping each other, don’t they?
October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”
―J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix