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Snow in Florida!

Twitter has been rife today with snow reports across North Florida. My son (ever hopeful) is praying that makes its way to Central Florida.  While it’s not really likely, it has happened. (In fact I clearly remember in college being able to scrape up enough of the white stuff to throw a snowball on Florida Field!)

So, it got us discussing how often it actually snows here, so we turned to the ever-trusty internet.  Here’s what we found on Wikipedia:

Pre-1900

  • 1774: A snowstorm extends across much of the state. The effected residents speak of it as an “extraordinary white rain.”
  • 1797: Land surveyor Andrew Ellicott reports 8-inch (203mm) snowdrifts near the source of the St. Marys River in Baker County.
  • January 11, 1800: Over 5 inches (127mm) of snow is on the ground along the St. Marys River to the north of Jacksonville, the highest recorded snowfall total in Jacksonville history.
  • January 13, 1852: Several hours of snow accumulates to a total of 0.5 inch (13mm) in Jacksonville.
  • February 28, 1855: Light snow flurries are reported in Jacksonville.
  • January 29, 1868: Light sleet falls throughout the night in northeastern Florida.
  • February 28, 1869: During the morning hours, some snow flurries are reported in Jacksonville.
  • January 10, 1873: At 7:25 a.m., a few snowflakes fall near Jacksonville.
  • February 4 & 5, 1875: Light sleet occurs between midnight and sunrise on both dates.
  • January 4, 1879: For an hour and a half, sleet falls in Jacksonville before turning to rain. The rainfall covers grounds and trees with ice early on January 5, breaking the limbs of many orange trees.
  • January 5, 1887: An inch (25mm) of snow falls at Pensacola.
  • January 14, 1892: 0.4 inch (10mm) of snow is reported at Pensacola.
  • February 14, 1892: Pensacola reports 3 inches (76mm) of snow.
  • December 27, 1892: Light snow falls in various intervals in the northeastern portion of the state.
  • January 18, 1893: Falling sleet turns to snow before later changing to rain in Jacksonville.
  • February 14, 1895: Two short durations of light snow are reported in Jacksonville.
  • February 12 & 13, 1899: Rain changes to sleet and later turns to snow during the Great Blizzard of 1899, with the snow falling for about 8 hours. With temperatures of about 10°F (−12°C), the snow accumulates to 2 inches (51mm) near Jacksonville and 4 inches (102mm) at Lake Butler. In some locations, the snow remains on the ground for several days.

20th century (23 Reported Snow Events)

Major Snow Events

(≥2″ for Florida) are in bold
1900′s (2 Snow Events)

  • December 16, 1901: Light snow is reported in Jacksonville.
  • February 7, 1907: Downtown Jacksonville receives light snow flurries in the early afternoon.

1910′s (1 Snow Event)

  • November 27, 1912: An overnight period of snow covers the ground and trees with a 0.5-inch (13mm) layer in northern Florida.

1930′s (2 Snow Events)

  • December 1934: Traces of snow were recorded in Tampa.
  • January 22, 1935: Snow falls until the next morning, with Pensacola recording 1 inch (25mm).

1940′s (2 Snow Events)

  • January 1940: Traces of snow were recorded in Tampa.
  • January 1948: Traces of snow were recorded in Tampa (again).

1950′s (6 Snow Events, 3 Major Snow Events)

  • February 2, 1951: Snowfall begins and ends the following day, accumulating to about 2 inches (51mm) in Saint Augustine and Crescent City.
  • December 14, 1952: Sleet and snow falls across the northern portion of the state, though there is very little accumulation.
  • December 14, 1953: Light sleet occurs in the morning in Marianna.
  • March 6, 1954: Four inches of snow accumulates at Milton Experimental Station, Santa Rosa County within a 24 hour period; the highest such total for Florida according to official modern records.
  • March 28, 1955: Snowfall accumulates to about an inch in Marianna along the Florida Panhandle.
  • February 13, 1958: An overnight rainfall changes to snowfall in Jacksonville and accumulates to about 1.5 inches (38mm). Additionally,Tallahassee reports a record 2.8 inches (71mm).

1960′s (1 or 2 Snow Events)

  • 1962 or 1963 A couple snowflakes fell at Disston Junior High School in Gulfport (by St. Petersburg)

1970′s (3 Snow Events, 1 Major Snow Event)

  • February 9, 1973: Snow falls over the northern portion of the state, including a total of two inches (51mm) in Pensacola, with unofficial reports of up to 8 inches (203mm).
  • January 17, 1977: The pressure gradient between a strong ridge over the Mississippi Valley and a Nor’easter over Atlantic Canada sends very cold temperatures southward into the state. Areas around Pensacola are the first to receive the snow. Then the rest of The Panhandle. Followed by record accumulations for The Nature Coast, the I-4 corridor (both Orlando and Tampa receive light accumulations of about 1-2″ with a few isolated spots reportedly receiving 3-6″), and finally South Florida. By early on January 19, West Palm Beach reported snow for the first time on record, with snow flurries reaching as far south as Homestead. The snow causes little impact as it was of the dry variety, though the accompanying cold air results in hundreds of millions of dollars in damage(Orlando tied the 1899 record of over six consecutive nights well-below freezing). On January 20, the Miami Herald reports the event as the front page story, with a headline of a size usually reserved for the declaration of war.
  • Late January, 1977: Pensacola receives snowfall.

1980′s (3 Snow Events, 1 Major Snow Event)

  • March 2, 1980: A quarter of an inch (6mm) of snow covers car tops and patio furniture in Jacksonville.
  • March 1, 1986: 0.5 inch (13mm) of snow accumulates overnight in Jacksonville before melting within 30 minutes due to the morning sun.
  • December 23, 1989: Light rain in Jacksonville turns to freezing rain as temperatures drop, and later changes to snow. The snow totals several inches in some locations, and results in the first White Christmas in the city’s history. Orlando was reported to receive wet snow that melted a week later due to a typical temperature rebound.

1990′s (3 Snow Events, 1 Major Snow Event)

  • March 12, 1993: The ’93 Superstorm produces up to 4 inches (102mm) of snow along the Florida Panhandle.
  • January 8, 1996: Snow flurries are reported from Crystal River to New Port Richey with no accumulation.
  • December 18, 1996: A plume of cold air causes snow to form in the northwestern portion of Escambia County.

21st century (11 Reported Events)

2000′s (6 Snow Events)

  • January 24, 2003: A plume of Arctic air produces widespread record low temperatures and light snow flurries along the eastern coastline. The snow is described as ocean effect snow, identical to lake effect snow in that it occurs due to very cold air passing over relatively warm water temperatures. The snow reaches as far south as Fort Pierce.
  • December 25, 2004: Locations along the Florida Panhandle receive a dusting of snow.
  • November 21, 2006: An eastward moving weather system produces a very light dusting and snowflakes in central Florida. It is the first snow in November in the state since 1912.
  • February 3, 2007: Very light snow flurries are reported in the northeastern panhandle, lasting less than an hour.
  • January 3, 2008: Light snow flurries are reported near Daytona Beach.
  • February 2008: Unofficial reports indicated a few snowflakes fell along the Nature Coast once or twice, due to advancing Arctic air quickly descending from the northwest over relatively warm Gulf waters (whether or not it was virga is debatable).

2010′s (6 Snow Events, 6 Snow Events in One Year)

  • January 8-9, 2010: Very light dusting of snow seen in the eastern Jacksonville area. Light snow also fell in parts of central Florida, which briefly accumulated slightly in parts of Marion County. Sleet was widespread and snow was isolated across the Orlando area, Tampa and also in Melbourne. Isolated flurries were even reported as from West Palm Beach to as far south as Kendall and sleet in a few spots in the South Florida metropolitan area for only the second time in record history and first time since 1977.
  • February 12, 2010: A possibility of up to 4-7 inches of snow were predicted in Northwestern Florida including Pensacola and Crestview. Actual totals ended up around 1 inch in many spots. 2010 is the first year since the mid 1950′s to have more than one accumulation of snow in a single year.
  • February 14, 2010: A half inch of snow fell across the northern halves of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Walton and Okaloosa Counties. Snowfall was associated with anAlberta clipper that sank southward due to Arctic air left by the cold front from the previous snow event.
  • December 8, 2010: Snow mixed with rain is reported in western parts of the panhandle, north of Pensacola. Snow flurries were reported across the North Escambia area this morning, incluing Atmore, Walnut Hill, Bratt, Flomaton, Byrneville, Century, Brewton, Lambeth, Little River, Poarch and Huxford.
  • December 15, 2010: Though possibly virga, a wintry mix of rain and snow was shown on radar around Century and Walnut Hill as well as southeast of Panama City, possibly remnants of a line of snow that moved through southern Alabama around 4-5 AM local time.
  • December 26, 2010, a mix of snow and sleet was reported in Jacksonville, FL by NWS

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Filed under History, Uniquely Florida