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Experience the coldest place in Iowa

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Iowa is known for its massive agricultural industry and legendary state fair, but did you know it has some of the coldest temperatures on record in the region? Hawkeye State is not only the food capital of the world; it may be one of the coldest places in the Midwest! Today we are going to explore the extreme temperatures in Iowa, and learn a bit more about the weather in the state. Let’s discover the coldest place in Iowa!

Iowa State Capitol covered in snow
Iowa is one of the coldest places in the Midwest.


The coldest place in Iowa

Dubuque, located on the Mississippi River in Iowa, is the oldest city in the state and also one of the coldest, with a mean annual temperature 47.2°F. Despite its cold temperatures, Dubuque has many attractions, including the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, as well as an established higher education system with schools like Loras College and Clarke University (both operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque). At the time of the 2020 census, the population of Dubuque was 59,667.

Dubuque is located at the junction of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin, an area known locally as the Tri-State Area. It is generally considered the main commercial, industrial, educational and cultural center of the region. Interestingly, Dubuque is part of the “Driftless Area”, which is a part of North America that was unaffected by the Wisconsin glaciation. Places in the Driftless Zone were never covered in ice during the last Ice Age and have a geography that uniquely reflects this.

Dubuque’s cold temperatures and rich history make it a unique and interesting place to visit. Its location on the Mississippi River and its proximity to Illinois and Wisconsin add to its appeal, making it a popular destination for tourists and residents alike.

Dubuque is the coldest place in Iowa
Dubuque is the coldest place in Iowa with an average annual temperature of 47.2°F.

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Coldest temperature ever recorded in Iowa

the coldest temperature ever recorded in Iowa arrived on January 12, 1912, in the town of Washta. The temperature dropped to -47°F that day as a powerful Arctic high-pressure system moved over the upper Midwest, bringing record-breaking cold temperatures across the region. The cold front ended up setting dozens of temperature records during this period.

Most recently, on January 31, 2019, the temperature at Quad Cities International Airport in Moline reached a low of -33°F, breaking the previous record of -27°F set on February 3, 1996. This made it the one of the coldest temperatures on record in Iowa recently.

Does Iowa have snow?

The snow is a Frequent occurrence in Iowa, with the state experiencing snowfall as early as October and as late as May. However, when snow falls in early fall or spring, it usually doesn’t stay on the ground very long. The majority of snowfall in iowa It occurs from December to March, with January and February being the snowiest months.

The amount of snowfall in Iowa can vary greatly by location, with average snowfall totals ranging from 18 to 42 inches each year. Southern counties tend to receive less snowfall, averaging half the annual snowfall than northern counties. In central Iowa, the capital, Des Moines, receives an average of 36.5 inches of snow annually. Overall, it is important for residents and visitors to be prepared for snow and the risk of road icing during the winter months in Iowa.

Des Moines, Iowa in winter
The capital city of Des Moines, Iowa receives an average of 36.5 inches of snow annually.


The weather in Iowa can vary greatly throughout the year, with the coldest months generally being December through February, and January being the coldest month of all. According to US climate data, the average high temperature in January is 31°F, with the average low temperature being 14°F. However, there are times when temperatures can dip below zero and stay there for a few weeks at a time.

While the winter months can be cold in Iowa, the state also experiences hot and humid summers, with July being the hottest month. The average high temperature in July is 85°F, with the average low temperature being 66°F. In addition to temperature variations, Iowa also experiences a range of rainfall, with the wettest months being April, May, and June , and the driest months being November and December.

Overall, weather patterns in Iowa can vary greatly throughout the year, with cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers being the norm. It is important that residents and visitors are prepared for a range of weather conditions and take the necessary precautions to stay safe and comfortable.