Coldest temperature in the US Monday recorded in Peter Sinks, Utah

Jan 30, 2023, 6:03 AM | Updated: 9:08 am
(KSL Weather)...
(KSL Weather)
(KSL Weather)

CACHE COUNTY, Utah — A blast of arctic air brought sub-zero temperatures to parts of northern Utah, with Peter Sinks being named the coldest place in the contiguous United States on Monday.

The wind chill dropped temperatures in the Cache County sinkhole to -62 degrees by 8 a.m. — tied for the coldest temperature in Utah in 21 years.

A wind chill warning remains in effect for the northern Wasatch Front and Cache Valley through noon, and Logan City and Cache County school districts delayed starts due to the extreme cold. Box Elder schools moved online for the day.

High winds forces late start for northern Utah school districts

Peter Sinks is a natural limestone sinkhole in the Bear River Mountains that sits 8,164 feet above sea level. Peter Sinks is known for low temperatures that are tracked through Utah State University’s Utah Climate Center.

On Feb. 1, 1985, the temperature at Peter Sinks plummeted to -69.3°F — the second coldest temperature ever recorded in the lower 48 states.

The Utah Climate Center says the sinkhole’s “low temperatures are due to a combination of the area’s unique basin topography, high elevation and dry climate.”

“One can liken it to a large bowl, which has no valley outlet to drain water or air. On calm cloudless nights, this high basin loses accumulated daytime heat to the atmosphere. In addition, cool dense air slides down-slope into the basin floor in a process known as cold air pooling. Extremely low temperatures can occur, especially in the wake of wintertime arctic fronts.”

Sunday’s highest temperature was recorded 8 miles southeast of Pharr, Texas, where it was a balmy 90 degrees — 152 degrees warmer than Peter Sinks.

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Coldest temperature in the US Monday recorded in Peter Sinks, Utah