It’s no secret that the United States experiences some frigid temperatures during the winter months. However, there was one year in particular where the cold was truly unprecedented. That year was 1887.
The Coldest Year in American History
In 1887, much of the United States experienced a winter unlike any other. The frigid weather began in early December and persisted through late February. Temperatures across much of the Midwest and Northeast plummeted to record lows.
On January 15, 1887, the temperature in Denver, Colorado dropped to a bone-chilling -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 Celsius). This remains the coldest temperature ever recorded in Denver history.
Chicago also experienced record-breaking cold that winter. On January 10th, 1887, the temperature dipped to -16 degrees Fahrenheit (-27 Celsius).
But it wasn’t just these cities that were affected by the bitterly cold weather. Places like New York City, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia all experienced temperatures well below zero.
Impact on Daily Life
The extreme cold had a major impact on daily life across America. Transportation systems were disrupted as trains struggled to run on frozen tracks and horses became too weak to pull sleighs through deep snowdrifts.
In addition, crops were destroyed by the freezing temperatures, leading to food shortages and higher prices for basic necessities.
What Caused Such Extreme Weather?
The cause of such extreme weather is not entirely clear. Some scientists believe that a volcanic eruption in Indonesia earlier that year may have contributed to cooler temperatures worldwide.
Others point to solar activity or natural cycles within Earth’s atmosphere as possible causes.
Regardless of what caused it, there is no denying that the winter of 1887 was one for the history books.
In summary, the coldest year in American history was undoubtedly 1887. With temperatures well below zero in many cities and disruption to daily life, it remains a stark reminder of the power of nature and the importance of being prepared for extreme weather conditions.