DENVER (CBS4) – The combination of clear skies, light wind, and fresh snow caused temperatures in Colorado’s mountain valley locations to plummet Tuesday night. Antero Reservoir on the west side of South Park dropped to 50 degrees below zero.
The 111-year-old reservoir owned by Denver Water about halfway between Fairplay and Buena Vista is a notoriously cold area in the winter.
Overnight lows frequently drop below zero in the cold season but Wednesday morning was cold even for South Park. The -50 degree temperature was the fourth coldest on record at the reservoir since records started in 1961. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Colorado remains -61 degrees at Maybell on February 1, 1985.
Antero Reservoir has also set the record for the coldest temperature in the contiguous United States so far this season. Only Birch Creek in Alaska has been colder anywhere in the nation with -51 degrees reported on December 17.
While Antero Reservoir may have been the coldest location in Colorado, it was far from alone. The vast majority of mountain valleys dropped far below zero including Middle Park (Kremmling), the Fraser Valley north of Winter Park, and lower terrain of Summit County including Dillon and Silverthorne.
It was also cold in Denver Wednesday morning but nothing compared to the mountain parks and valleys. The official low temperature at DIA was 7 degrees above zero.
Here are some other morning temperatures from around the state:
Antero Reservoir -50°
Crested Butte -23°
Steamboat Springs -22°
Pagosa Springs -16°
Denver (DIA) 7°