Oh, my friends from down south. Friends from around the equator, the tropics, the desert, and elsewhere … Chances are the U.S. is bigger than your country. And if it’s not, then you should know the answer. Here we go:
So this one’s less about Americans and more about geography. Still, this is a doubt (as stated in my brilliant intro) that I get from people who live in or around the tropics. The U.S. is up north, right? Just like Europe, Canada and Russia. These are places generally perceived to be cold and covered in snow. One thing that some people forget is that the U.S. is a gigantic country with 50 states. Not only that, but the States also cover just about every biome or ecological zone you can think of. I’d like to mention that even Americans fall into this, many from more southern states seeing the North as always being cold. Anyway, to show you what I’m talking about, here’s a nice map that shows the biomes in color.
Now, that map includes Canada and Mexico, but you can get an idea for how big and ecologically diverse this country really is. The contiguous U.S. are the 48 states all connected to one another on the mainland. They alone have:
Temperate Forests (hot in the summer, cold in the winter):
- think the whole eastern part of the country, from Maine down into Florida and over to Midwest
Plains & Prairies:
- pretty much the whole middle part of the country, from Minnesota down to Texas
- all the Western mountain parts, including the Rockies
- that’s right, think of the Southwest, from Arizona up to Idaho
Mediterranean (dry but not a desert):
- basically the California coast
And the southern tip of Florida is the only part of the Lower 48 states considered tropical.
The U.S. also has two other states. Alaska is huge, almost as tall and as long as the 48 states when you count all its little islands! Alaska is famous for being cold and icy, and it is home to the only tundra and taiga (tundra with some trees) climates of all the States. But even Alaska has lush forests and mountains.
And let’s not forget Hawaii, a place that almost never gets cold (except for at the tops of its many volcanoes) and is the only state truly in the tropics. Hawaii and Alaska, by the way, are full U.S. states just like California, Kentucky, Illinois, or any other. It’s a lot like how French Guiana (Guiane) is fully part of France even though it’s not in Europe. Physically, anyway.
There is one interesting fact to follow all of this; even though there are several states with warmer climates, such as Hawaii, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, etc., pretty much all the states still get snow or really cold temperatures anyway.
As I said before, Hawaii has those tall volcanoes, and all the desert states also have tall mountains that get snow. Even the South gets snow in some areas due to mountains like the Ozarks and Appalachians. So if you measure it by states and now individual regions, then every state does technically get snow, even though it depends on the altitude in those lower states.
It turns out that the places as a whole that don’t get so much as a single snowflake are Guam and the Virgin Islands of the U.S. variety, which are both territories, not states, and are both groups of tropical islands. They are also low-altitude, which explains why Hawaii gets a bit of snow but they don’t.
For the most part, the answer to if the U.S. is cold and snowy is Yes, all of the states do get snow. But in many of the Southern states, snow is a lot more rare than in the North or Mountains. Even within many of the lower states, there are large regions that do not see snow like, say, Houston, San Diego, New Orleans, and so on. Also, don’t forget that large parts of the U.S. are either Semi-Arid (kinda dry) or Humid, so during the summer much of the country is blasted in heat. Much of that cold weather doesn’t come until those winter months.
Unless you’re in Alaska, of course.
For more information, please check the resources here below, as well as linked to the images.
Do you think the U.S. is cold? Have you ever been somewhere tropical or hot in the U.S.? Would you want to visit Alaska?! Please comment below or send me your thoughts directly! firstname.lastname@example.org 😉
U.S. biomes: http://www.glencoe.com/sec/science/glencoescience/unitprojects/climatemap.html
Where in the U.S. has it never snowed?: https://www.farmersalmanac.com/places-where-it-has-never-snowed-30142