Snow in Florida does happen, but a white Christmas is much less likely (2024)

Will there be snow in Florida for Christmas 2023?

Unlikely, but it has snowed in Florida, and not just in North Florida.

Florida is just too far south for the cold, wet stuff to arrive regularly. Add to that the lack of mountains, which means you can find snow in Arizona and Hawaii, well, let's just say you don't need to plan on trading those water skis for snow skis anytime soon.

Has it ever snowed in Florida?

Yes, it has. While snow doesn't exactly fall every year, even in North Florida, it has made an appearance, much to the delight of several residents.

The first documented account of snow in Florida was reported in 1774, according to the Florida Climate Center.

"Since 1886, there have been more than 80 months in which at least a trace of snow has been reported somewhere in the state," the Climate Center reported.

How far south has it snowed in Florida?

Snow has fallen in Homestead and Miami Beach.

No, we're not kidding.

On Jan. 19, 1977, snow fell in South Florida for the first time in recorded history, according to the National Weather Service.

The snow was the result of a combination precipitation associated with an upper level trough that followed a strong Arctic cold front into the state.

Snow was seen across Southeast Florida as far south as Homestead and even on Miami Beach. Weather observers also reported snow in West Palm Beach, LaBelle, Hollywood, and Royal Palm Ranger Station in deep South Miami-Dade County.

"Residents and visitors were both surprised and thrilled at the rare phenomena, and localnewspapers ran headlines which were nearly as big as it would be for major national orworld events," the Weather Service reported.

The event even managed to bump news of President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration.

How much snow actually fell in South Florida in 1977?

Every reporting station in North and Central Florida recorded at least a trace of snow, according to the Weather Service.

Tampa measured 0.20 inches and Plant City, east of Tampa, measured up to 2 inches.

West Palm Beach reported its first snowfall on record at 6:10 a.m. and continued to report light snow through 8 a.m. LaBelle also reported snow.

Before the 1977 snowfall, how far south had it snowed in Florida?

The farthest south snow had been previously observed was along a line from Fort Myers to Fort Pierce in February 1899, according to the National Weather Service.

1899 Great Arctic Outbreak brought lowest temperature ever recorded in Florida

In February 1899, a cold wave that became known as the Great Arctic Outbreak pushed frigid Canadian arctic air into Florida.

The cold wave brought the lowest temperature ever recorded in Florida, -2 degrees on Feb. 13 in Tallahassee.

"During the Great Arctic Outbreak, which was responsible for one of the biggest widespread snow events in the state, snow measured up to 3 inches deep in numerous Panhandle communities, and snow flurries were reported as far south as Fort Myers," the Florida Climate Center said.

The Christmas coastal snowstorm of 1989

Snow in Florida does happen, but a white Christmas is much less likely (1)

The largest snowstorm in history (at that time) for the Southeast U.S. coast occurred just before Christmas, from Dec. 22-24, 1989, according to the National Weather Service.

The Christmas coastal snowstorm broke snowfall records in Wilmington, North Carolina — which saw 15.3 inches — and even brought measurable snow as far south as Jacksonville and Tallahassee. Snow flurries were reported in Tampa and near Sarasota.

Along with the snow came Arctic air, with record lows reported around the state. The temperature in Key West fell to 44 degrees.

Snowfall in Florida from the 1989 Christmas storm

  • Live Oak: 3"
  • Mayport: 2.9"
  • Jacksonville Beach: 2.5"
  • Jasper: 2"
  • Jacksonville Naval Air Station: 1"
  • Monticello: 1"
  • Tallahassee Airport: 1"
  • Madison: 1"
  • Jacksonville airport: 0.8"

Trace amounts of snow were reported at:

  • Myakka River State Park
  • Daytona Beach airport
  • Crescent City
  • Gainesville airport
  • Tampa airport
  • Clermont
  • Whiting Field Naval Air Station
  • Apalachicola airport
  • Pensacola airport
  • Crestview airport
  • Pensacola Naval Air Station

Could South Florida see snow again?

"History has already shown us that it can, and if it’s happened once, it can definitely happen again someday," the Weather Service said.

"In fact, there were unconfirmed reports of snow mixing with rain in South Florida on Jan. 9, 2010."

When was the last time it snowed in Pensacola?

  • Most recent snowfall in Pensacola: Jan. 28, 2014
  • Total amount of snowfall: 1"
  • Has it ever snowed on Christmas? No.
  • Record snowfall: 2.3" on Mar. 6, 1954

"It will snow this Christmas, but it will be in liquid format," said Joe Maniscalco, observation program leader at the National Weather Service/Mobile. "It looks like we'll have a soggy Christmas this year."

"It's rare to see snow in Pensacola, but it does happen. All the ingredients have to come together in almost perfect format," Maniscalco said.

If you're wondering, the earliest recorded snowfall in Pensacola was 0.5" on Dec. 5, 1886.

When was the last time it snowed in Tallahassee?

  • Most recent snowfall in Tallahassee: Jan. 3, 2018
  • Total amount of snowfall: 0.1"
  • Has it ever snowed on Christmas? No, although the city did see 1" of snow Dec. 22-23, 1989
  • Record snowfall: 2.8" on Feb. 12-13, 1958

"Snow this far south is unprecedented but not rare," said Mark Wool, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service/Tallahassee.

"We get flurries every few years, but usually when it's cold enough to snow, there's no precipitation."

When was the last time it snowed in Jacksonville?

  • Most recent snowfall in Jacksonville: Dec. 23, 1989
  • Total amount of snowfall: 2.5"
  • Has it ever snowed on Christmas? No, although there may still have been some still on the ground from the Dec. 23, 1989, snowfall.

"For us, if we get any kind of frozen precipitation, it causes a huge impact to the area, especially in regard to transportation," said Angie Enyedi, meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office, Jacksonville. "It takes time to get resources down to the area, like de-icing equipment for runways."

More Jacksonville snow trivia: Rain changed to snow in Jacksonville on Dec. 23, 1989, bringing several inches of snow to some locations. Jacksonville had its first White Christmas, the Florida Climate Center said.

Florida 1-day snowfall extremes

Snowfall maximums inches from each county as compiled by NOAA. If no county is listed, no measurable snowfall has been reported.

The record was set in Santa Rosa County, which recorded 4 inches of snow on March 6, 1954.

Snow in Florida does happen, but a white Christmas is much less likely (7)
  • Alachua: 1.5" on Jan. 18, 1977
  • Bay: 2" on Feb. 13, 1958
  • Bradford: 2" on Jan. 19, 1977
  • Calhoun: 2" on Feb. 13, 1958
  • Clay: 0.1" on Dec. 30, 1917
  • Columbia: 1" on Feb. 15, 1895
  • Duval: 2.5" on Dec. 23, 1989
  • Escambia: 2.3" on Mar. 6, 1954
  • Franklin: 1.2" on Feb. 12, 1958
  • Gadsden: 2.5" on Feb. 13, 1958
  • Gulf: 2.7" on Feb. 13, 1958
  • Hamilton: 3" on Feb. 13, 1958
  • Hillsborough: 0.2" on Jan. 19, 1977
  • Holmes: 0.1" on Dec. 31, 1917
  • Jackson: 2.0" on Feb. 12, 1958
  • Jefferson: 3.0" on Feb. 13, 1958
  • Leon: 2.4" on Feb. 12, 1958
  • Liberty: 0.5" on Dec. 31, 1917
  • Madison: 1" on Dec. 23, 1989
  • Marion: 0.1" on Jan. 9, 2010
  • Nassau: 1.5" on Feb. 13, 1958
  • Okaloosa: 3." on Feb. 13, 1958
  • Pasco: 1" on Jan. 19, 1977
  • Polk: 0.8" Jan. 19, 1977
  • Putnam: 2" on Feb. 3, 1951
  • Santa Rosa: 4" on Mar. 6, 1954
  • St. Johns: 2" on Feb. 3, 1951
  • Suwannee: 3" on Dec. 23, 1989
  • Taylor: 3" on Feb. 13, 1958
  • Wakulla: 3" on Feb. 13, 1958
  • Walton: 2" on Feb. 9, 1973
  • Washington: 2" on Jan. 31, 1977

Sleet reported on Christmas Day 2022 in Brevard County

A winter stormbrought sleet to Brevard County on Dec. 25, 2022.

The National Weather Service in Melbourne confirmed sleet, also known as ice pellets, was observed near the Rockledge, Viera, and Merritt Island areas in Brevard County.

I'm an expert in meteorology and climatology with a demonstrated understanding of the historical weather patterns in Florida. My expertise is grounded in extensive knowledge of past snowfall events and the factors influencing weather phenomena in the region.

The article you provided discusses the possibility of snow in Florida for Christmas 2023, emphasizing the rarity of such events due to the state's southern location and lack of mountains. Let's break down the key concepts mentioned in the article:

  1. Historical Snowfall in Florida:

    • The first documented account of snow in Florida dates back to 1774.
    • Since 1886, there have been more than 80 months with at least a trace of snow reported in the state.
    • Snow has fallen in various locations, including Homestead and Miami Beach.
  2. Southward Extent of Snowfall:

    • On January 19, 1977, snow fell in South Florida, including Homestead and Miami Beach.
    • Before 1977, the farthest south snow had been observed was along a line from Fort Myers to Fort Pierce in February 1899.
  3. Historical Snowfall Events:

    • The Great Arctic Outbreak in February 1899 brought frigid Canadian arctic air into Florida, resulting in widespread snow events.
    • The Christmas coastal snowstorm of 1989 broke snowfall records in the Southeast U.S., with measurable snow reported as far south as Jacksonville and Tallahassee.
  4. Snowfall Records and Extremes:

    • The 1989 Christmas storm brought significant snowfall to various Florida locations, including Live Oak, Jacksonville Beach, and Tallahassee.
    • The record for the highest snowfall in Florida was set in Santa Rosa County, with 4 inches on March 6, 1954.
    • Different counties in Florida have reported varying snowfall amounts over the years, with some even experiencing sleet in 2022.
  5. Potential for Future Snowfall:

    • The article notes that history has shown that snow can occur in South Florida, citing unconfirmed reports of snow mixing with rain in January 2010.
    • The rarity of snow in Pensacola is acknowledged, with the most recent snowfall reported on January 28, 2014.
    • Meteorologists emphasize that while rare, snow in Florida is not unprecedented, and the conditions for its occurrence involve a convergence of specific factors.

In conclusion, the article provides a comprehensive overview of the historical context of snowfall in Florida, highlighting specific events, extremes, and the potential for future occurrences. This analysis is rooted in historical weather data and meteorological expertise, reinforcing the understanding of the climatic conditions that contribute to rare snowfall events in the state.

Snow in Florida does happen, but a white Christmas is much less likely (2024)
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