NewsLocal News

Actions

Where is Peter Sinks, Utah, site of the coldest temperature in the US?

Posted at 10:59 AM, Jan 30, 2023

PETER SINKS, Utah — Utahns who woke up this morning thinking it couldn't get much colder than right here in the Beehive State were spot on.

According to the National Weather Service, the coldest spot in the entire country on Monday was in Utah... Peter Sinks to be exact... with a temperature of -63.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

But where and what exactly is Peter Sinks? And why is it one of the coldest places in the country?

The natural limestone sinkhole is about 20 miles northeast of Logan and sits at an elevation over 8,100 feet. According to the Utah Climate Center, Peter Sinks is a half-mile in diameter and has "no valley outlet to drain water or air."

While Monday's recorded temperature was cold, it's actually been much colder at Peter Sinks. In fact, the location is home to the second coldest temperature ever recorded in the lower 48 states.

Back on Feb. 1, 1985, the temperature dropped to a nippy -69.3 degrees Fahrenheit, just .4 degrees off the all-time record set in Montana in 1954.

On that chilly February day over three decades ago, a meteorology student at Utah State University, Zane Stephens, recorded the nearly record-setting temperature after hiking to the remote area on his own, he told UPR.org in 2017.

In the interview, Stephens said Peter Sinks doesn't have a lot of atmosphere to hold in the heat at night, allowing the arctic air to take hold and linger. He recalled going up into the area in the 80s and getting frostbite a couple of times on his hands, but nothing serious.

Even though the 1985 temperature still stands as the coldest in Peter Sinks history, Stephens said it could get even colder, maybe down to -80 degrees Fahrenheit on a "perfect cold night."