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Highs, Lows and In-Betweens: a USA Weather Quiz

Posted October 9, 2014

The United States is a land of great geographic diversity. When you travel around the country, you will encounter an amazing variety of terrain, including mountains and plains, lakes and deserts, as well as temperatures which run the gamut from scorching hot to bitingly cold. Test your knowledge of America's climate, with this multiple-choice quiz covering weather-related highs, lows, and in-betweens.

1. Although Florida's nickname is "The Sunshine State," the sunniest municipality in the USA is actually located in the state of:

A) Arizona

B) California

C) Nevada

D) New Mexico

CORRECT ANSWER: A). Yuma AZ is the record holder for sunniest city, with 90 percent of the maximum possible sunshine. Redding CA is the runner up, with 88 percent, while Las Vegas NV is third at 85 percent.

2. Weather-related nicknames are used for cities as well as states. Which one of the following meteorological monikers is fictitious?

A) Fog Capital of California

B) Home of the Frozen Dead Guy

C) Snow Boot Burg

D) Windy City

CORRECT ANSWER: C). A) is the unofficial title of Pacifica CA, B) refers to Nederland CO, which celebrates Frozen Dead Guy Days every year from March 7-9, and C) is, of course, "my kind of town," Chicago IL. Personally, we prefer Tucson's appealing sobriquet, Sunshine Factory.

3. "Dog days" is an expression referring to the hottest period of the summer. The name comes from Sirius, AKA the Dog Star, which the Romans associated with sultry weather. Americans experience summer's heat at its most intense in:

A) June

B) July

C) August

D) Depends on where you are.

CORRECT ANSWER: D) The dog days used to bring sweltering heat to Ancient Rome from late July through early August. However, in 21st century America, the hottest day of summer can hit any time from June 1 to September 30, according to which part of the US you are in.

4. It should come as no surprise to find that the coldest US temperature on record was experienced by Prospect Creek Camp AK. On January 23, 1971, the low was:

A) minus 64.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

B) minus 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

C) minus 79.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

D) minus 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

CORRECT ANSWER: C). True, the winter of 2013-14 was bone-chillingly cold throughout most of the United States. But over 4 decades ago, northern Alaska set a record that hasn't been broken since (and, most of us hope, never will be). Of course, -79.8 F was the nighttime temperature; the high that day was a balmy -64!

5. Only one US state has never recorded a temperature below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Name it.

A) Florida.

B) Hawaii.

C) Louisiana.

D) South Carolina.

CORRECT ANSWER: B). Hawaii. The lowest low on record for the Aloha State is 12 degrees Fahrenheit, in 1979. That's still well below the freezing point … and this big chill occurred in the late spring month of May! Brr!!

6. The greatest recorded amount of snow to fall in the USA on a single day was:

A) 36 inches.

B) 48 inches.

C) 62 inches.

D) 63 inches.

CORRECT ANSWER: D). The largest recorded snowfall within a single 24-hour period was 63 inches, in Georgetown CO on December 4, 1913. That's the equivalent of a 6-story snow building, popping up literally overnight.

7. Death Valley CA is famous -- or should that be infamous? -- as the record holder for hottest day ever. Its July 10, 1913 temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit ranks highest not just in the United States, but in the entire world. What was the Death Valley high for 2014?

A) 118.9 Fahrenheit

B) 125.1 Fahrenheit

C) 126.0 Fahrenheit

D) 134.0 Fahrenheit

CORRECT ANSWER: C). The 1913 temperature was broiling, but things have not cooled down so much a century later. In general, Death Valley averages 15 days a year of 120-degree temperatures. Despite the California heat, the region hosts a 135-mile footrace every summer, known as the toughest in the world. No kidding!

Laura Firszt writes for

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