In the Tri-State Area (South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota), nobody needs to tell us about how extreme winter weather can be.

With massive snowfall amounts and bitterly cold wind chills, we endure more in a  single season than most people will ever experience in a lifetime.

So it's not surprising that when HVAC Gnome went looking for the U.S. counties that face the biggest risks from ice storms, blizzards, and cold snaps, our frigid part of the world would show up in a big way.

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To determine the Most Vulnerable Counties for Extreme Winter Weather, they focused on three key areas:

      • CLIMATE
        Average Historical Winter Temperature
      • EXTREME WEATHER RISK
        Winter Weather Risk
        Ice Storm Risk
        Cold Wave Risk
      • FINANCIAL RISK
        Annual Financial Loss from Winter Weather Events
        Annual Financial Loss from Ice Storms
        Annual Financial Loss from Cold Waves 

Of the 440 U.S. counties with a relatively high or very high risk of extreme winter weather, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, nearly 20 percent of the top 50 were counties in our backyard.

South Dakota has five in the top 50, with Brown County 13th overall and 11th in the weather extreme risk category.

The Mount Rushmore State's two most populated counties, Minnehaha and Lincoln, also made the top 50, and are among the most vulnerable from a dollars and cents perspective.

Lincoln County is 16th in the nation on the list of counties with the biggest financial risks. Minnehaha County is 18th.

SOUTH DAKOTA COUNTIES IN TOP 50 FOR EXTREME WINTER WEATHER 

13. Brown County
15. Lincoln County
16. Minnehaha County
35. McCook County
42. Hutchinson County

IOWA DAKOTA COUNTIES IN TOP 50 FOR EXTREME WINTER WEATHER

29. Sioux County

MINNESOTA COUNTIES IN TOP 50 FOR EXTREME WINTER WEATHER

39..Nobles County
47. Stearns County
48. Clay County

A pair of other counties in the North Star State didn't in the top 50 overall, but they did score extremely high in the Winter Climate rankings. Beltrami County was sixth in the nation, while Polk County was seventh.

MOST VULNERABLE COUNTIES FOR EXTREME WINTER WEATHER

1. Johnson County, Kansas
2. Cook County, Illinois
3. St. Louis County, Missouri
4. Tulsa County, Oklahoma
5. Nassau County, New York
6. Washington County, Arkansas
7. Ward County, North Dakota
8. Lancaster County, Nebraska
9. Clay County, Missouri
10. Jackson County, Missouri

One state was the clear winner when it comes to extreme winter weather in America.

North Dakota has 16 counties in the top 50 (32%) overall and landed 17 counties in the top 20 places with the most extreme climates.

LOOK: Biggest snowfalls recorded in South Dakota history

Stacker compiled a list of the biggest 1-day snowfalls in South Dakota using data from the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

LOOK: Biggest snowfalls recorded in Iowa history

Stacker compiled a list of the biggest 1-day snowfalls in Iowa using data from the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

LOOK: The most extreme temperatures in the history of every state

Stacker consulted 2021 data from the NOAA's State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) to illustrate the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in each state. Each slide also reveals the all-time highest 24-hour precipitation record and all-time highest 24-hour snowfall.

Keep reading to find out individual state records in alphabetical order.

Gallery Credit: Anuradha Varanasi

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