We associate snow with cold weather cities and towns, but that’s not always the case. When a place is really dry, you’ll get all the misery of super cold temperatures with none of the fun of snow. In this post, Snow Blower Source takes a look at where some of the coldest places to live are on Earth — with the proviso being that they don’t get a lot of snow.
Villa Las Estrellas and Esperanza Base, Antarctica
It’s one of the most brutally cold places on Earth and people don’t “live” there the way they would everywhere else, but you can find semi-permanent residents in both Villa Las Estrellas and Esperanza Base. There are only a few hundred people among both towns but even despite their small sizes, you can find a school, gym, medical facilities and tourist activities like dogsledding and snowmobiling.
The natural inclination is to think of Antarctica as one of the snowiest places on Earth, but it’s actually a desert. The whole continent averages about 6.5 inches of precipitation a year, which mainly falls as snow. And the reason people think it’s an incredibly snowy place is because, well, there is a lot of snow, but that’s because the gale-force winds blow it around and make it seem like it’s constantly snowing.
It’s not actually the driest city in Canada — that honor goes to Whitehorse, Yukon — but this Prairies place is one of the bigger ones in the country. And because of its increased size, it also has more people braving the frigid winter temperatures that can dip as low as -58F (which it hit in 1893).
It takes a special kind of person to bunker down and endure such a long and severe winter season, especially when there’s only an average of 13.7 inches of precipitation a year. Time for some marshmallows and hot cocoa, eh?
Fargo, North Dakota
Because of the more than four feet of snow it averages each winter, Fargo isn’t one of the driest and coldest places on earth. But if you look at precipitation over the whole year, which is 22.5 inches, then it definitely makes the list. What really gets Fargo a nod is its plummeting temperatures during the winter. If you’re not well bundled up, then you’ll feel every bit of cold that rushes in from Canada. There’s no shelter to block the Arctic air masses, which can cause the mercury to dip as low as -48F as it did in 1887.
No matter how cold you think it can get, recalibrate your expectations a good 20 or so degrees. In this frosty Russian town, which only has about a thousand and a half brave souls, winter temperatures average about -50F. You read that right: -50F isn’t the record low, it’s how cold it stays for just about all of December, January and February. And while it’s never too cold to snow, Verhoyansk doesn’t seem much of it with just 5.8 inches of precipitation a year.
Hands down, Helsinki is one of the coolest places in the world. It was host to the 1952 Summer Olympics back before the Olympics were a grossly overspending affair, it’s without sun for about 51 days each winter thanks to its far-north positioning, it’s the only Finnish city with trams and subway trains, and its national animal symbol is a squirrel.
Buuut…it’s also incredibly cold and dry, with precipitation hovering around the 25 inch mark and the mercury around the -7F mark in winters. Its record low was -29.7F which isn’t too, too cold, but it’s still definitely not light jacket and no long johns kind of weather.