The climate in this area is dominated by two factors; our continental location and our latitude. Although not recognized by the United States Geological Survey, the area around Rugby, North Dakota is considered by many to be the geographic center of North America. This means that we live about as far away from an ocean as you can get in the Western Hemisphere. Without the modifying influence of a nearby ocean our temperatures fluctuate wildly during the year.
Our other great climatic influence is our latitude. When I go to area schools and talk about the weather, the word latitude almost always is a part of my presentation. Through the years I have always been amazed at how few students know what our latitude is locally. But Fargo Moorhead lies near 47 degrees north latitude, meaning, we are closer to the arctic than we are to the tropics, which, when combined with our location in the center of the continent, helps explain why our climate would be considered by most to be a cold one.