North Dakota Annual Temperatures and Extremes


Avg High Temp

Avg Low Temp 

Avg Annual Temp

Avg # days > 90F Avg # days < 32F  Record High Temp Record Low Temp
Bismarck 52.7 29.8 41.2 18 180 105 / 1949 -39 / 1950
Fargo 51.7 30.8 41.2 14 179 104 / 1976 -39 / 1996
Williston 53.5 29.5 41.5 22 187 109 / 1980 -50 / 1983
  • North Dakota's annual average temperature - 40.43 degrees, 49th warmest state in the U.S.
  • Record Hottest year in North Dakota - 1987/ Avg temperature 44.97 degrees
  • Record Coldest year in North Dakota - 1950 / Avg temperature 35.02 degrees
  • North Dakota average Summer temperature (June, July, August)  78.8 F degrees, 6th warmest U.S. summer state

North Dakota's Temperature Records

  • Hottest temperature ever recorded: 121 F, Steele, south-central North Dakota, 1/6/1936
  • Coldest temperature ever recorded: -60 F, Parshall, northwestern North Dakota, 1/15/1936
  • Hottest location ranked by highest average annual temperature: Fort Yates, southern North Dakota, 44.2 F
  • Coldest location ranked by lowest average annual temperature: Hannah, northeastern North Dakota, 36.1 F
  • On January 20, 1943, the temperature at Deadwood was 16 degrees below zero, while the town of Lead - only
    a mile and half away, reported an amazing 52 degrees.
  • Over 50% of the state of North Dakota has experienced temperatures of 110 F or higher, and 35% has experienced
    temperatures of 114 F or higher.
  • Approximately 75% of the state has experienced temperatures of -42 F below zero or lower.

The annual average temperature in North Dakota ranges from about 37 degrees Fahrenheit (° F) in northeastern North Dakota to 44 along most of the southern border. However, annual averages are misleading because they hide the large seasonal temperature variations common throughout the State. January is the coldest month with average temperatures ranging from near 0 in the northeast to 15 in the southwest. The warmest month is July when average temperatures range from 65 in the northeast to 72° F in the south. However, average August temperatures are only a degree or two less than July’s. The average annual temperature range (difference between July and January average temperatures) is very large, ranging from about 65° F in the east and northeast to 56 degrees in the southwest. It clearly illustrates the pronounced continental climate of the region.

Summer days are usually warm or even hot on occasion. The average number of days per year with maximum temperatures of 90° F or more ranges from 10 in the northeast to 24 in the west and south. Temperatures of 100° F or more occur nearly every year somewhere in the State, but they are most prevalent in the drier southwest and south-central regions where they average about two days per year. In the wetter east and northeast regions 100° F occurs only about once every four or five years. The State’s highest temperature ever recorded was 121° F at Steele on July 6, 1936.

Winter temperatures are extremely variable in North Dakota depending on the air mass source and the extent of snow cover. In most years snow cover is widespread and when combined with arctic air masses, very low temperatures are common. Subzero temperatures average about 40 to 70 days a year across North Dakota. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -60° F at Parshall on February 15, 1936. However, in years with little snow cover, air masses from the west or south produce winter temperatures in the 40s, 50s and even 60s. For these reasons winter frontal passages often cause drastic temperature changes. Subzero temperatures have occurred as early as late October and as late as early April. Similarly 90° F days have occurred in April and October. As is evident from these winter and summer extremes, autumn and spring frontal passages often cause high winds and extreme weather conditions.


North Dakota precipitation averages and extremes, precipitation and temperature data for all U.S. states and Top 10 U.S. climate extremes
Data source: National Climatic Data Center