Top 5 Coldest Inhabited Places on Earth Feb 20, 2010

These cities bring new meaning to the word “cold.” It amazes me what human beings can endure on a day to day basis… I couldn’t imagine living in any of these locations! I’ll just have to remind myself of this next time I complain about being cold. Here we go! Take a peak at the top five coldest (inhabited) places on earth!

Oymyakon, Russia


Oymyakon is a place of extremes. The difference in temperature between winter and summer is absolutely astounding. This little 800 person village boasts the greatest temperature difference in the world with a whopping 196.6°F change from winter to summer. That’s just about 48° over the average temperature difference in Oymyakon. It’s known as the coldest inhabited place in the northern hemisphere. Supposedly, birds have frozen to death in mid flight due to the ferocious cold. The coldest temperature this place has ever seen? -96.2°F in Jauary of 1926. Wow! Would you believe that the village’s school only closes if the temperature drops to below -52°?

Verkhoyansk, Russia


Verhoyansk is geographically similar to Oymyakon. Both villages are located in an area known as “Stalin’s Death Ring” (pleasant, isn’t it?). Under Stalin’s rule, prisoners were ordered to build the Kolyma Highway and it is said that one prisoner has died for every meter of the road (which is 2000 km long). The temperatures out of this place are just as impressive as Oymyakon’s. In fact, Verhoyanks holds the record for the coldest VERIFIED temperature in the northern hemisphere. On that lovely winter day in 1892, the mercury dropped to -93.6°F. Yikes…

Yakutsk, Russia


Russia’s at it again. Unlike the previous two villages, this is an actual city (population: 210,000) and it is officially the coldest city in the world. Average winter temperatures hover around -40°F. The slightest breeze can make it feel like -70°F. The coldest temperature ever recorded here was -84°. Would you believe that this city pretty much forces their citizens to keep their yards clean? If you don’t, you will be publicly humiliated. Glad I’m not there…

Yakutsk, Russia


Enough of Russia, let’s go to Canada. Aside from the beautiful images of Vancouver that have been

plastered all over TV lately, what comes to mind when you think of Canada? Some people might think of sled dogs, frozen tundras and tiny, icy villages. Places like Snag, Canada fit right into that description. The coldest temperature on record occured back in 1947 (when the population was at about 10) when the nearest airport reported -81.4°F. The alcohol in the thermometer dropped below the lowest readable point and more notches had to be manually added in order to get an accurate reading. Brr. Hopefully, that wasn’t the only kind of alcohol they had lying around…

Vostok, Antarctica

Vostok, Antarctica
Vostok Research Outpost, Antarctica

This is one of the most remote research outposts in the world and it’s located 1300 km from the South Pole. This place exhibits some crazy winter temperatures. How does -128.6°F sound? That was the world record set on July 21, 1983. On average, the temperature sits around -85°F. You don’t want to know what the warmest temperature ever recorded was…….. Ok. Yes, you do. 10°F!

Well, that was fun. Can’t wait for Spring…

Susie Martin
WeatherNation Meteorologist

2 responses to “Top 5 Coldest Inhabited Places on Earth

  1. OMGGGG I was curious how cold was cold but…DANG! I cant even wrap my mind around that. How is gods name do you get anything done outside during those temps? What clothes did folks wear back years ago before the materials we use today in severe temps?lawlssss
    the coldest Ive ever been was in Fairbanks Alaska back in 1970.A measly -12 and it froze my lases getting off th plane. : )

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