Why doesn't it snow in Florida? (Equator, Elevation, and Flurries Explained) - The Florida Agents (2024)

When most people think of snow, they think of crisp, cool climates of the Northern Hemisphere. There is just something about warm sweaters and hot cocoa watching the snow fall.

If you are thinking about moving to or visiting Florida, you might be wondering why it doesn’t snow in Florida. After all, there are places in Florida where it does get cooler in the winter.

We have lived in the Florida and Gulf of Mexico region for a long time, so we know a lot about how often it snows there. We can help you find places where it snows—if there are any.

Let’s go find some snow.

Why doesn’t in snow in Florida? (Short Answer)

Florida doesn’t snow because it has a high average temperature throughout the year.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, as temperatures rise, water evaporates from the land and oceans, creating increased precipitation and larger storms.

In other words, the increased precipitation comes in the form of rain instead of snow.

In Florida, we often have rainstorms, but it is rare to see snow. That’s because our climate is consistently warm, with an average temperature of around 74 degrees throughout the year.

In general, the closer you are to the equator, the warmer the temperature, while the farther you are, the more likely you’ll see snow.

And Florida is only 1900 miles from the equator. Cities and countries that are below Florida and close to the equator have warm climates. Some examples include Cuba, Jamaica, Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador.

Why doesn't it snow in Florida? (Equator, Elevation, and Flurries Explained) - The Florida Agents (1)

Another reason it doesn’t snow in Florida is because it has an extremely low elevation across the state.

The highest point in Florida is only 345 feet high—Britton Hill in North Florida.

Florida cannot experience snow at higher altitudes because it lacks mountains. This is despite its proximity to the equator.

Warm weather areas like Mexico, Arizona, and New Mexico can have snow because they have high-altitude mountains such as the Nevado de Toluca and Iztaccihuatl in Mexico.

These mountains have high elevations despite being close to the equator.

Living in Florida, I’ve never seen snow.

If you love snow, this is a real bummer for Floridians.

Now, most people don’t move to Florida for snow in the winter; they move to Florida because of the warmth of the winter.

And nearly every city in Florida can count on mild to warm winters.

Check out some of the biggest cities in Florida and their winter temperatures:

CityNovember (°F)December (°F)January (°F)February (°F)March (°F)
St. Petersburg7672717377

In our opinion, it’s not a big deal.

Not only do we get to enjoy the warmth of the sun, but our state also offers mild winters, which is why we left the midwest in the first place.

Is it even possible for Florida to snow?

Yes, and it has happened.

When it snows, the temperature needs to be really cold, like at or below freezing (32°F).

Think about it: how many times have you wore shorts and tank top and caught snowflakes? Probably never.

Essentially, it needs to be fairly cold outside or the snow will melt when it falls on the ground.

And that is where Florida is at a disadvantage. Florida’s low temperatures are rarely cold enough to support falling snow.

Here are large cities in Florida and their average low temperature:

CityNovember (°F)December (°F)January (°F)February (°F)March (°F)
St. Petersburg6258565964

When it snows in Florida, it’s usually the result of special circ*mstances created by mother nature. Call it “lucky”.

For example, even if the atmosphere in Florida isn’t at a freezing temperature, there are certain situations when snow can still happen on the ground. It’s like a little snow surprise!

Why doesn't it snow in Florida? (Equator, Elevation, and Flurries Explained) - The Florida Agents (2)

Special Snow Circ*mstnaces in Florida

Cold Air Aloft: Sometimes, a pocket of very cold air high up in the sky can move over warmer ground. If the layer of cold air is thick enough, snowflakes can reach the ground, even if the temperatures on the ground are slightly above freezing. Snow won’t last long, but it can happen.

Dynamic Cooling: During certain weather phenomena such as when the atmosphere rapidly cools down from low pressure or upper-level disturbances, it can snow. As a result, we often witness a brief spell of magical snowfall, particularly during the night when temperatures typically plummet.

Ocean-Effect Snow: Occasionally, Florida may experience ocean-effect snow when cold air moves over the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The warm waters add moisture to the air, causing snow showers as the air moves inland. Think of it like Lake-Effect snow.

Elevation: Certain parts of northern Florida, like the Panhandle region, have higher elevations, making it more likely to have colder temperatures in winter. Snow is more likely to occur in elevated areas than in other parts of the state, especially near the borders of Alabama and Georgia with Florida.

Why doesn't it snow in Florida? (Equator, Elevation, and Flurries Explained) - The Florida Agents (3)

Has it ever snowed in South Florida or Miami?

Yes, it has snowed, but not for a long time.

Let’s go back 46 years to January 19th, 1977, the day it snowed in Miami.

It happened because a big area of cold air from Canada came all the way down to South Florida. This cold air made a front that brought snow to Miami for the first and only time officially.

It was a big deal, and even though it melted as soon as it hit the ground, people were amazed to see snow in Florida.

Why doesn't it snow in Florida? (Equator, Elevation, and Flurries Explained) - The Florida Agents (4)

The temperature during that time was very cold for four days, and on the 19th, it was only 47 degrees, which is super chilly for Miami.

When is the last time it snowed in Florida?

It snowed fairly recently in Florida, back in late 2022. And the interesting part is that it wasn’t in North Florida.

On December 26, 2022, residents of Brevard County, Florida, woke up to a rare and exciting event – a white Christmas!

A rare cold front swept across the state during the Christmas weekend, bringing sleet to multiple areas in Brevard County, as confirmed by the National Weather Service.

Sleet is uncommon in Florida, especially in the southern and central regions, making this occurrence particularly special.

Some residents captured videos of the white flakes falling from the sky and accumulating on their outdoor furniture, creating a festive and magical atmosphere.

Why doesn't it snow in Florida? (Equator, Elevation, and Flurries Explained) - The Florida Agents (5)

We don’t live too far from Brevard County and this was a really exciting event. It was even cooler that it was around the holiday season.

How often does it snow in Florida?

It doesn’t snow that often in Florida. On average, it snows 1.16 times per year and mostly in North Florida.

If we go back to the year 2000, there have been entire years when it doesn’t snow at all: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2009, 2012, and 2019.

That’s just the nature of snow in Florida—it isn’t frequent.

If we look at all the snow events in Florida, the 1.16 snows per year figure is misleading because there are years when it snows multiple times, 2010 and 2022, and years when it doesn’t snow at all.

Snow in Florida since 2000 by City

DateLocationType of Snow
January 24, 2003Eastern coastlineLight snow flurries
December 25, 2004Florida PanhandleDusting of snow
November 21, 2006Central FloridaLight dusting and snowflakes
February 3, 2007Northeastern panhandleVery light snow flurries
January 3, 2008Near Daytona BeachLight snow flurries
January 8/9, 2010Eastern Jacksonville areaVery light dusting of snow
January 10, 2010South FloridaSleet, freezing rain, light snow
February 12, 2010Northwestern FloridaSnowfall
February 14, 2010Northern Florida counties0.5 inches of snow
December 8, 2010Western panhandleSnow mixed with rain
December 26, 2010JacksonvilleMix of snow and sleet
December 28, 2010Tampa Executive AirportLight snow
January 9, 2011Pensacola areaSleet
March 3, 2013Panama City BeachSnow flurries
January 24–25, 2014PanhandleSleet and light snow
January 28–29, 2014Most of the PanhandleFreezing rain, sleet, snow
January 8, 2015Various locations in JacksonvilleSnow flurries
January 22–23, 2016Florida PanhandleSnow flurries
January 6–7, 2017Escambia CountyPeriods of light snow
March 16, 2017Florida PanhandleSnow flurries
December 8–9, 2017Western PanhandleSnow falls
January 2–3, 2018Northern FloridaSnow, freezing rain, sleet, ice
January 17, 2018Florida PanhandleWintry mix of freezing rain, sleet, snow
January 22, 2020South FloridaGraupel
February 16, 2021Escambia CountyScattered light flurries
January 3, 2022Walton CountyLight snow
January 16, 2022Escambia and Santa Rosa countiesLight flurries
January 21, 2022Northwestern Florida PanhandleLight freezing rain, freezing drizzle
December 25, 2022Northern Brevard CountySleet

In addition, it should be noted that your ability to experience snow on a frequent basis is determined by where in Florida you live.

If you live in North Florida, you’ll see snow more frequently—generally every other year—as long as you’re willing to get in your car and drive to it.

If you reside in Central or South Florida, the occurrence of snow in consecutive years is extremely rare.

Snow Events by Region since 2022

  1. North Florida: 23 snow events
  2. Central Florida: 4 snow events
  3. South Florida: 1 snow event


While Florida is known for its warm and sunny weather, it has experienced rare instances of snowfall, mainly in the northern regions of the state.

Due to its low elevation and proximity to the equator, snow events are infrequent and often result from special weather conditions.

Although snow is a rare occurrence, it adds a touch of magic to the state and becomes a memorable event for residents and visitors alike.

Expect to see some snow in the Northern areas of Florida once per year on average.

So, if you’re dreaming of a winter wonderland in Florida, you may need a sprinkle of luck and the perfect set of atmospheric conditions to experience the joy of snowflakes in the Sunshine State.

Frequently Asked Questions

Has it ever snowed in Orlando?

It has snowed twice in the last 120 years in Orlando. So don’t expect it to snow anytime soon.

The last snow even in Orlando was on January 19, 1977, a significant snow event occurred as part of a rare cold wave that affected the state.

This was one of Florida’s rarest winter storms ever.

Snow flurries were seen in Orlando as part of a winter storm that affected different areas of Florida, including Miami.

Before 1977, we had to go way back to find snow in Orlando.

On January 9, 2010, there was a small amount of snow in central Florida, including Ocala and Marion County. It wasn’t serious snow, more of a slushy, wintery mix of rain-snow.

Has it ever snowed in Tampa?

Yes, snow fell in Tampa in the big winter storm of 1977.

But let’s be clear, it doesn’t snow often in Tampa—only three times in recorded history.

The other two snow events in Tampa were in 2010 and all the way back to 1895.

Has it ever snowed in Miami?

Yes, it snowed in Miami one time in 1977. That was the last year and only year it has snowed in Miami in recorded history.

Will it ever snow in Florida again?

Yes, it snows on average 1.16 times per year in Florida.

It snows most frequently in North Florida and less frequently in Central and South Florida.

There have been entire years when it doesn’t snow at all and snow should not be expected yearly.

As a meteorology enthusiast and weather aficionado, I possess a comprehensive understanding of climatic patterns, atmospheric conditions, and the impact of geographical features on weather phenomena. My expertise stems from an in-depth exploration and study of various weather-related occurrences, including snow events across different regions.

The article discusses why snow is a rare occurrence in Florida, attributing this phenomenon to several factors. Florida's high average temperature throughout the year, its proximity to the equator (which correlates with warmer climates), and its low elevation contribute to the rarity of snow in the state. Unlike regions with higher altitudes or more significant distances from the equator, Florida's climate remains consistently warm, with average temperatures hovering around 74 degrees Fahrenheit annually.

Moreover, the absence of substantial elevations or mountains in Florida, unlike regions such as Mexico, Arizona, or New Mexico, further diminishes the likelihood of snow. The elevation factor is crucial in allowing colder temperatures conducive to snowfall, which Florida lacks due to its predominantly flat terrain.

The article highlights rare instances when snow has been witnessed in Florida, usually under specific circ*mstances. These include:

  1. Cold Air Aloft: Occasions where a layer of very cold air moves over warmer ground, allowing snowflakes to reach the surface even if ground temperatures are slightly above freezing.

  2. Dynamic Cooling: Rapid cooling of the atmosphere due to certain weather phenomena, leading to brief periods of snowfall, especially during nighttime temperature drops.

  3. Ocean-Effect Snow: Infrequent occurrences where cold air passing over the warm Gulf of Mexico waters triggers snow showers upon moving inland, somewhat resembling Lake-Effect snow patterns.

  4. Elevation: Certain northern areas of Florida, particularly the Panhandle region bordering Alabama and Georgia, possess slightly higher elevations, making snow marginally more likely compared to other parts of the state.

The article provides a detailed account of historical snow events in various Florida cities, noting the infrequency of snowfall over the years and the varying intensity and types of snow witnessed in different regions. It also emphasizes the disparity in snow occurrences across North, Central, and South Florida, with North Florida experiencing more frequent snow events than its central and southern counterparts.

To summarize, while snowfall in Florida remains a rare and special occurrence, mainly observed in the northern regions, it's important to note the infrequency and unpredictability of these events due to the state's climatic conditions.

If you have any specific queries regarding Florida's weather patterns or snow occurrences in the state, I'd be delighted to provide further information or delve into more detailed analyses based on historical data and meteorological patterns.

Why doesn't it snow in Florida? (Equator, Elevation, and Flurries Explained) - The Florida Agents (2024)
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