On July 9, 2021, California’s Death Valley reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit, according to an automated measuring system there, representing one of the highest temperatures ever recorded on the planet. The world record, also recorded at Death Valley, was 134 degrees in July 1913.
More than 210 degrees Fahrenheit separates the highest and the lowest temperatures on record in the United States, the third-largest country in the world.
As some states are infamous for having blistering hot summers, others become inundated by winter storms and frigid cold. The contiguous U.S. had its warmest meteorological summer (June-August) on record in 2021, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
Stacker consulted 2021 data from the NOAA’s State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) to illustrate the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in each state. Each also reveals the all-time highest 24-hour precipitation record and all-time highest 24-hour snowfall.
Keep reading to find out your state’s record, or see the national list here.
Kansas by the numbers
– All-time highest temperature: 121° F (Fredonia on July 18, 1936)
– All-time lowest temperature: -40° F (Lebanon on Feb. 13, 1905)
– All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: Data not available
– All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 30 inches (Pratt 3NW on March 28, 2009)
Pratt, a city with a population of 6,835 people, had recorded the state’s heaviest snowfall on March 28, 2009. A spring snowstorm had resulted in a whopping 30 inches of snow falling within one day in Pratt.
Missouri by the numbers
– All-time highest temperature: 118° F (Warsaw 1 on July 14, 1954)
– All-time lowest temperature: -40° F (Warsaw 1 on Feb. 13, 1905)
– All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 18.18 inches (Edgerton on July 20, 1965)
– All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 24 inches (Jackson on Feb. 25, 1979)
Warsaw is one of two cities in the United States that holds the record for both the highest and lowest temperatures recorded in a state (the other is Millsboro, Delaware).
During the 1965 flood in Edgerton, four people died and 729 residences were damaged or completely destroyed. Approximately 433,000 acres of agricultural land flooded during the deluge. The total damages the floods inflicted on properties cost Missouri $24,292,900.
Continue below to see the most extreme temperatures in the history of other states in the region.
Arkansas by the numbers
– All-time highest temperature: 120° F (Ozark on Aug.10, 1936)
– All-time lowest temperature: -29° F (Gravette on Feb.13, 1905)
– All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 14.06 inches (Big Fork 1 SSE on Dec. 3, 1982)
– All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 25 inches (Corning on Jan. 22, 1918)
“The Great Heat Wave of 1936” affected around 15 states during its three-week run that brought temperatures above 100 degrees. Still, Ozark topped the charts by reaching 120 degrees. Also known as the “1936 North American Heat Wave,” it exacerbated the levels of human suffering during the ongoing Great Depression.
Little Rock in Arkansas had to endure its hottest summer in 2010 between June and August when the temperature went above 90 degrees for two months.
Illinois by the numbers
– All-time highest temperature: 117° F (East St. Louis on July 14, 1954)
– All-time lowest temperature: -38° F (Mount Carroll on Jan. 31, 2019)
– All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 16.91 inches (Aurora on July 18, 1996)
– All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 36 inches (Astoria on Feb. 28, 1900)
East St. Louis recorded the state’s most sweltering temperature on July 14, 1954. While the residents of East St. Louis first woke up to stifling 100-degree heat; by late afternoon, the temperature soared to 117 degrees. Residents in St. Louis recalled July 14, 1954, as the day “they were just cooked.”
Iowa by the numbers
– All-time highest temperature: 118° F (Keokuk No 2 on July 20, 1934)
– All-time lowest temperature: -47° F (Elkader 6 SSW on Feb. 3, 1996)
– All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 13.18 inches (Atlantic 1 NE on June 14, 1998)
– All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 24 inches (Lenox on April 20, 1918)
The Nishnabotna River that runs along Atlantic in Iowa’s Cass County experienced intense flooding on June 14, 1998, after heavy rainfall and a severe thunderstorm. Many bridges were either damaged or completely destroyed, and all highways and roads had to be closed once the flooding started intensifying.
More recently, in October 2020, western Iowa suffered from repeated flooding that forced the closure of Interstate 29 and Interstate 680.
Nebraska by the numbers
– All-time highest temperature: 118° F (Geneva on July 15, 1934)
– All-time lowest temperature: -47° F (Oshkosh on Dec. 22, 1989)
– All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 13.15 inches (York on July 8–9, 1950)
– All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 27 inches (Dalton on Dec.21, 2006)
Before the unforgiving heat wave hit Geneva, Nebraska, in July 1934, the state was already struggling due to a severe drought that had worsened living conditions for farmers and other residents. During “The Heat Wave of 1934,” people slept outdoors to escape from the terrible heat in their own houses.
Oklahoma by the numbers
– All-time highest temperature: 120° F (Poteau on Aug. 10, 1936)
– All-time lowest temperature: -31° F (Nowata on Feb. 10, 2011)
– All-time highest 24-hour precipitation: 15.68 inches (Enid on Oct. 11, 1973)
– All-time highest 24-hour snowfall: 27 inches (Spavinaw on Feb. 9–10, 2011)
The deadly 1973 flood in Oklahoma had started with relentless rainfall and ended only after killing nine people.
According to The Oklahoman, in a desperate attempt to flee from the surging water levels, residents had cut holes through their walls to climb up on rooftops. Several others tried to take shelter in their attics as their houses started filling up with water.