We recently shared a list of “15 Really Frigid Reasons You Shouldn’t Move to Boise” on Facebook. While it was meant to be a joke, our friends on the other side of state were quick to check in with just how cold it was where they were at.  

Kids in Eastern Idaho started the week of January 30, 2023, off with a “snow” day. We put snow in quotes because school officials weren’t necessarily concerned about winter driving conditions. They were concerned about their students walking to their bus stops and waiting outside in extremely cold temperatures and wind chills. Low temperatures in the early morning got down to -30º and topped out at -5º around 3 p.m. 

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Our teeth are chattering just typing that number. As cold as -30º sounds, it was even colder 80 miles away in the small town of Island Park. Temperatures in Island Park, population 184, reached -40º. We looked up Island Park, because the small town is also where the coldest temperature in Idaho ever was recorded. 

Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash
Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash

You read that right. Island Park. Not Stanley, which is regularly listed as one of the coldest places in the contiguous United States. According to Chicago’s WGN, between 1996-2015, Stanley recorded the nation's lowest temperatures 522 times, which is why it’s on the list of coldest locals. Stanley’s record low was -54º pm on December 23, 1983. 

While that sounds downright bone-chilling, it was still six degrees warmer than the coldest temperature EVER recorded in Idaho. That record set was set in at Island Park Dam forty years earlier when the mercury plummeted (if it’s even possible to plummet this low) to an unbelievably frigid -60º F. 

That number ties cities like Tower, Minnesota, Parshall, North Dakota and Taylor Park, Colorado for the seventh coldest temperature in America of ALL TIME. 

Boise’s never dropped below -30º (record set on Christmas Day, 1924) so the people in Eastern Idaho who found our Facebook page and told us “Boise is a summer retreat compared to Idaho Falls” are totally justified in reminding us just how cold their part of the state is! 

If the difference between Boise and Eastern Idaho is that extreme, just how different is Idaho’s most extreme cold temperature from the one in our neighboring states? We pulled up the data for you! 

The Most Extreme Winter Temperatures in Idaho and Its Neighboring States

Stacker combed through NOAA data to track down the coldest temperatures ever recorded in each state in the United States. This is how old it's been in Idaho and our neighboring states.

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For many of us Snowmageddon 2016-2017 is a not so distant memory. Some people really miss seeing that much white stuff in Boise. Others dread the possibility of it happening again. How common is it? We dug into some historical weather data from the National Weather Service to see just how extreme it was compared to some of the other winter extremes Boise's experienced.

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