Las Vegas may be best known for its scorching hot summers, but visitors are often surprised by how cold it can get during the winter months. If you’ve experienced a chilly Vegas night and wondered just how low the temperatures can dip, you’ve come to the right place.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The coldest temperature ever officially recorded in Las Vegas is 8°F (-13°C), on January 25, 1937, and January 13, 1963.
This in-depth article will uncover the coldest weather Las Vegas has seen from historical records to present day. We’ll look at the average winter lows, explore the climate influences behind Vegas’ temperature swings, and provide tips on handling a cold snap during your Vegas trip.
Las Vegas’ Coldest Temperature on Record
Las Vegas, renowned for its scorching desert heat, is not typically associated with freezing temperatures. However, on January 25, 1937, the city experienced its coldest recorded temperature, plunging to a bone-chilling 8°F.
This historic freeze left residents and visitors alike shivering in their winter coats, defying the city’s reputation as a warm and sunny oasis.
8°F on January 25, 1937
January 25, 1937, will forever be etched in Las Vegas’ weather history as the day when the mercury dropped to a record low of 8°F. This frigid temperature was a stark departure from the city’s typical weather patterns and caught many by surprise.
Las Vegas, primarily known for its scorching summers, experienced a winter chill that day, reminding everyone that even in the desert, the cold can bite.
Temperature of 8°F was also documented on January 13, 1963, when thousands of people were left without electricity and water lines exploded.
Other Notable Frigid Temperature Readings
While the record low of 8°F in 1937 stands out as the coldest temperature ever recorded in Las Vegas, there have been other notable instances of freezing weather in the city. January of 1937 brought along quite a few days with low temperatures including 9°F on January 9 and 10.
Las Vegas shivered through a reading of 10°F on January 19, 1943, as recorded by the U.S. Weather Bureau, now known as the National Weather Service.
Las Vegas went through back-to-back frigid days reaching 12°F on January 5th and 6th. The same temperature was documented on January 6, 1971 and January 3, 1974.
In December 1963, the temperature dipped to 13°F, causing residents to bundle up and seek shelter from the icy gusts.
Additionally, in January 1949, Las Vegas experienced a bone-chilling low of 16°F, leaving the city blanketed in frost and ice.
The notorious “Arctic Express” brought frigid 11°F temperatures to Las Vegas on December 23, 1990. This reading set a new record low for the month of December in the city’s history.
Recent Lows: Coldest 21st Century Temperatures
In the 21st century, Las Vegas has not witnessed temperatures as extreme as those recorded in the past. However, there have been notable cold snaps that have sent locals reaching for their winter gear.
In December 2013, the city experienced a low of 23°F, and in December 2010, temperatures dropped to 31°F. While these may not be record-breaking lows, they serve as reminders that even in a city known for its heat, winter can still pack a chilly punch.
For more information on Las Vegas’ weather history, you can visit the official website of the National Weather Service.
Average Winter Temperatures in Las Vegas
Las Vegas, known for its scorching summers, also experiences chilly winters. While it may not be as cold as some other parts of the country, the city does see its fair share of winter weather. Let’s take a closer look at the average winter temperatures in Las Vegas.
December – February Average Lows
During the winter months of December, January, and February, the average low temperatures in Las Vegas range from the mid-30s to the mid-40s Fahrenheit. However, it’s important to note that these temperatures can vary from year to year and even day to day.
So, while you may need a jacket or coat during the winter months, you won’t necessarily be facing extreme cold.
Daily Temperature Ranges
Las Vegas experiences a wide range of temperatures throughout the day during the winter season. It’s not uncommon to see temperature swings of 20 degrees or more between daytime highs and nighttime lows. This fluctuation can make dressing for the day a bit tricky.
Layers are key to staying comfortable as you navigate the changing temperatures.
Temperature Swings vs. Other Desert Cities
Compared to other desert cities, Las Vegas is known for its more moderate winter temperatures. While cities like Phoenix and Palm Springs can experience extremely cold nights, Las Vegas tends to have milder winters overall.
This is due in part to its higher elevation, which helps to temper the cold air.
If you’re planning a winter trip to Las Vegas, it’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast before you go. While the average winter temperatures may not be bone-chilling, unexpected cold snaps can still occur.
So, pack accordingly and be prepared for a range of temperatures during your stay in Sin City.
What Causes Las Vegas’ Cold Snaps?
Las Vegas is known for its scorching hot summers and mild winters, but occasionally, the city experiences cold snaps that bring frigid temperatures. Several factors contribute to these drops in temperature, including the influence of the Mojave Desert, cold air masses from the north, and precipitation and storms.
Influence of the Mojave Desert
The Mojave Desert, which surrounds Las Vegas, plays a significant role in the city’s weather patterns. During the day, the desert surface absorbs and retains heat, creating a warm microclimate in the area. However, at night, the desert cools rapidly as the heat escapes into the atmosphere.
View this post on Instagram
This rapid cooling effect can contribute to lower temperatures in Las Vegas, especially during winter nights when the cold air settles over the city.
Cold Air Masses from the North
Another factor that leads to cold snaps in Las Vegas is the intrusion of cold air masses from the north. When cold air from the Arctic or northern regions of the United States moves southward, it can reach Las Vegas and bring colder temperatures to the area.
These air masses often result in significant temperature drops and can linger for several days, causing prolonged periods of cold weather.
Precipitation and Storms
Precipitation and storms also play a role in creating cold snaps in Las Vegas. When a storm system moves through the region, it can bring rain, snow, or a mix of both. The presence of precipitation can significantly lower temperatures as the evaporating moisture cools the air.
Additionally, if the storm system originates from a colder region, it can introduce colder air into Las Vegas, leading to a sudden drop in temperature.
Handling a Cold Weather Visit to Vegas
Packing Tips for a Winter Vegas Trip
When planning a trip to Las Vegas during the winter months, it’s important to be prepared for colder temperatures. Here are some packing tips to help you stay warm and comfortable during your visit:
- Layering is key: Pack clothes that can be easily layered so you can adjust your clothing according to the temperature throughout the day. This will help you stay warm outdoors and prevent overheating indoors.
- Don’t forget a warm coat: Even though Las Vegas is known for its warm climate, winter temperatures can drop significantly, especially at night. Make sure to pack a warm coat to keep you cozy during chilly evenings.
- Bring cold-weather accessories: Don’t forget to pack hats, gloves, scarves, and warm socks to protect yourself from the cold. These accessories can make a big difference in keeping you comfortable during your outdoor activities.
- Choose the right footwear: Opt for closed-toe shoes or boots that provide insulation and traction. This will help prevent slipping on icy or wet surfaces.
Staying Warm Outdoors
Exploring Las Vegas during the winter can be a great experience, but it’s important to stay warm and protected from the cold weather. Here are some tips to help you stay comfortable while enjoying outdoor activities:
- Dress in layers: Layer your clothing to trap body heat and insulate yourself from the cold. Start with a base layer of thermal clothing, add a sweater or hoodie, and top it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer.
- Protect your extremities: Keep your hands, feet, and head warm by wearing gloves, thick socks, and a hat or beanie. These body parts are more prone to losing heat, so it’s important to keep them well-insulated.
- Use hand warmers: Hand warmers are a convenient and effective way to keep your hands warm during outdoor activities. Simply activate them and slip them into your gloves or pockets for instant warmth.
- Stay hydrated: Cold weather can dehydrate your body, so make sure to drink plenty of fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Carry a water bottle with you and sip on warm beverages like tea or hot chocolate to stay hydrated and warm.
Indoor Activities to Escape the Cold
If the cold weather becomes too much to handle, Las Vegas offers a wide range of indoor activities to keep you entertained. Here are some ideas to help you escape the cold:
- Hit the casinos: Las Vegas is famous for its casinos, so why not try your luck at the slot machines or table games? The lively atmosphere and the chance to win big can provide a thrilling indoor experience.
- Visit museums and galleries: Las Vegas is home to several museums and art galleries, showcasing a variety of exhibits and collections. Take the opportunity to explore the city’s cultural side and learn something new.
- Indulge in spa treatments: Treat yourself to a relaxing spa day and pamper yourself with massages, facials, and other rejuvenating treatments. This is a great way to escape the cold and unwind after a long day of exploring.
- Watch a show: Las Vegas is known for its world-class entertainment, with shows ranging from magic and acrobatics to musical performances and comedy acts. Check out the schedule and catch a show to be entertained in a warm indoor venue.
Remember, while Las Vegas may be experiencing colder temperatures during the winter months, it still offers a plethora of activities and experiences to enjoy. By being prepared, dressing appropriately, and taking advantage of indoor attractions, you can make the most of your visit to the Entertainment Capital of the World, regardless of the weather.
While Las Vegas is known for extremes, its coldest temperature of 8°F recorded in 1937 reveals just how frigid this desert climate can get. By understanding the winter averages, climate influences, and tips for staying warm, visitors can still comfortably enjoy Las Vegas even during cold snaps.