Category Archives: Uniquely Florida

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:


  • 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

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Uniquely Florida

Mariah Carey with Orlando Ballet at Disney World

Photo from

In case you missed this broadcast yesterday (recorded on December 3 at the Magic Kingdom), here it is again, but this time from an audience member’s point of view.  It’s nice when ABC decides to film here in Orlando (think jobs!) and it brings a nice focus to Central Florida as the continued destination for fun in the sun.

We’re truly hopeful Florida’s film industry will continue to grow in 2011. The Metro Orlando Film and Entertainment Commission has not had any major announcements since October, but we’re sure they are continuing to promote Orlando as a great place for making movies. This past year Transformers 3 was filmed partially around Central Florida and Shaq vs. Bieber was set here, too. And with Full Sail and EA Sports already based here in the Orlando area, let’s hope ABC continues to chip in to get this industry going!

As for yesterdays show, though, Mariah Carey and Ryan Seacrest were the stars of the Disney show and parade.  We love the fact that dancers from the Orlando Ballet were the ones asked to perform long with a clearly pregnant Mariah Carey for the ABC special!

(Credit to milkdidmybodygood for the video!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Seasonal, Uniquely Florida

40 Years of Florida Christmases

My readers may remember that I celebrated my 40th birthday this year (back in April) and I made my 40 for 40 promise, which, by the way, I am happy to report has continued on track!  Donating to Relay for Life on behalf  of fellow tweeter @JenVargas, fulfilling her birthday wish, was #32.

At any rate, as Christmas approaches and I went to set up my tree again this year, I realized that this is my 40th Christmas… so of course I knew I had a blog post in the making!

Florida Christmas in the 1970s

  • Opening of Disney World Resort
  • Opening of Sea World
  • Closing of McCoy Air Force Base

Now, my family actually goes back to the 1800s in Central Florida. In fact, here’s my grandmother fishing a snake out of Howell Creek when she was much much younger!

And, when my mother was a teenager, she wanted a horse, but the City of Winter Park did not allow horses inside the city limits. So, my family moved way out in the country (at the time) and bought some pasture land down a dirt road with beautiful goldenrod growing all over.  (This dirt road is now known as Aloma Ave. and that goldenrod pasture is marked by Goldenrod the road!)  But this Lazy 3 Ranch, where my mother grew up, is where I grew up too, at the same time as the city was growing up around us in leaps and bounds.

The Lazy 3 Ranch, corner of Aloma Ave. and 436

So, my memories of Christmas at this time were typical of most children: lots of 70s era toys!  Dolls and ride-in cars for me, Stretch Armstrong and army men for my brothers, a working Lionel train set for which my father spent weeks building and nailing down a track, and even chickens. Yes, chickens…we did live on some land, after all!

And, of course, Disney toys and theme park visits were very big with our family…we lived in Central Florida! (And, boy, do I remember those booklets of tickets…especially the feared E-Ticket!)

Christmas, 1975

A young Top 5 editor Bess Auer with her beloved "Big Red"

And as soon as we had our toys, we’d rush outside to try them out, riding bikes down the driveway, skateboarding around, climbing trees with GI Joe.

Christmas 1976

Florida Christmas in the 1980s

  • Space Shuttle program launches
  • Opening of Epcot
  • Domination by Miami football

By the 80s my brothers and I were getting into our teenage years, and Central Florida saw the launch of the first Space Shuttle as well as the opening of Epcot. (I watched the opening live while home sick from school…and classmate Jody Crane skipped school to attend the opening and was featured as the very first guest!  He got lifetime tickets or some such wonderful thing!)

At any rate, childhood toys at Christmas gave way to clothes and boom boxes.  And still, after unwrapping presents on Christmas day, we’d head outdoors to the yard to have orange and grapefruit wars, or to take my grandmother to Epcot, or even to head to the beach and lay out in the sun for most of the day.  Florida Decembers have certain advantages!

Christmas day - grandmother and her beloved dog at the beach in New Smyrna...look how uncrowded!

And then, as the decade ended and I was cheering in college, sometimes Christmas days were spent traveling to bowl games, like the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.  (Not a bad place to spend Christmas and New Year’s, by the way!)

Florida Christmas in the 1990s

  • Opening of Universal Studios
  • Domination by Bowden’s FSU football program
  • Closing of the Orlando Naval Training Center

This decade saw me getting married, buying my own home, and setting up my own Christmas tree for the first time.  I have never been a fan of traditional, so I bought silk flowers for my tree, which I still use nearly twenty years later!

Our Christmas tree

And then, as the second half of the 90s began, I became a mother, and Christmas suddenly was geared to children once again. Thomas the Tank Engine, Pokemon, and Legos were tops in our house, as Harry Potter paraphernalia soon would become, too.

Florida Christmas in the 2000s

  • Ending of the Space Shuttle Program
  • Opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Domination by Florida Gator football and basketball programs
  • Rise to national prominence by UCF’s football and basketball programs

And so I have reached this latest decade. This one saw the passing of my brother, the continued growth of our children, and even some of the final flights of the Space Shuttles. My son has become the teenager, and iPods have replaced boom boxes, X-Box Kinect has replaced Atari.

My son does not rush out to the front yard to race around on his skateboard or ride his new bike, as my brothers and I did when we were young.  Instead he plops on the couch, puts on his headset, and connects with twelve different friends around Florida who all got the same video game to play online. It is a strange new world in which I live, one ruled by indoors, electronics, and air conditioning, but I wouldn’t miss it for anything!

Forty years of Christmases… what do you remember?


Filed under disney, Just for Me, Sea World, Seasonal, Shuttle, Uniquely Florida

You are Welcome, Jim Morrison.

Today Governor Charlie Crist led a successful effort to clear legendary frontman Jim Morrison (of The Doors) of indecent exposure here in Florida, posthumously, of course.  Morrison was born in Melbourne, FL and briefly attended Florida State University in Tallahassee, Crist’s alma mater. Gov. Crist – who took the unusual step of speaking on Morrison’s behalf during the hearing – said there remained doubts as to whether the singer exposed himself or not at a Miami concert back in 1969.




While the board’s vote to clear Morrison was unanimous, Attorney General Bill McCollum said he was “disturbed” by all the attention paid to a dead celebrity… we tend to agree.  It seems like there are better ways to be spending the government’s time! I mean, this guy died nearly 40 years ago!

While we love The Doors music, we’re NOT listing this as a Top 5 event.

On a side note, there was an avid Doors fan named Michael Zidanic in attendance for the hearing. “It’s a real relief for Doors fan all over the world,’’ said Zidanic. He later called the granting of the pardon a “historic moment” and a “moving experience.”  (Well, it’s still not going down as a Top 5 event!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Celebrity, Just Plain Weird, Music, Politics, Uniquely Florida

How Cold Is It in Central Florida?

Yep, it's real snow!

Snowman cold!  This was taken in Winter Park at 4 pm today… tell me it isn’t cold outside!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun, Just Plain Weird, Seasonal, Uniquely Florida

Thin-Blooded Floridian Meets Thick-Sweatered Cold

Okay, so I wasn't quite this cold... but still!

It was in the low thirties when I left the house this morning and I looked like I was ready to go snow skiing. I had on my Hot Chillies long underwear, wool socks, boots, long pants, long-sleeved t-shirt, wool sweater, long wool coat, scarf, gloves, and hat. And, to top it off, I even had the shake-’em-up hand warmers to stick in my gloves.

I was a girl on a mission: Brave the walk from my house to my car, and then from my car to the classroom. Yep, I figured on perhaps three and a half minutes of total exposure and I was feeling pretty confident.

Now, you Northerners are sure to be snickering, because the sun was shining brightly on me by this afternoon, but I only lost the gloves and hat throughout the day. You see, I am a native Floridian who has never had thick blood. And, to top it off, I am a consistent wine drinker, so all those wonderful red grapes have thinned my blood even further.

Thin blood is an urban myth you say? Not according to local medical expert Dr. Todd Husty as quoted on

Many Central Floridians who have moved from northern states claim their blood has thinned, making going back to dealing with freezing temperatures harder to bear.

Dr. Todd Husty said what those northern natives are feeling is real.

Husty said after living in Florida, residents’ bodies change. It adjusts and learns how to cope with the Sunshine State’s extreme heat in the spring and summer months.

“It has to learn how to lose heat. It has to learn how to sweat better. It has to learn how to do anything possible to keep from getting overheated,” Husty said.

The only problem is that because Floridians’ bodies are accustomed to getting rid of heat, making more heat and saving it is more difficult.

So, laugh at me if you will, but live here long enough and you will be bundled up for a blizzard, too!

So, here are a few obvious reminders for cold weather:

  • Bring in your animals (They get cold, too despite their fur coats!)
  • Bring in or cover and tropical plants but don’t use plastic
  • During the day before a possible freeze, get as much water into the ground as you can but don’t get water on the plant after sunset
  • Beware of space heaters as they easily cause house fires
  • Stay bundled up inside the house to avoid a high electric bill (Or should I say higher electric bill!)
  • Turn off all nonessential lights and things such as pool pumps. Use dishwashers and other major appliances only when necessary. Try to refrain from taking longer showers, which people often do when the weather is cold.
  • Florida Power and Light suggests that instead of turning the heat down at night, keep it at the same level– four degrees lower than usual– all day.
  • Close windows and blinds to hold heat in. Also, use ceiling fans to distribute heat around a room.
  • Keep your feet warm (and head, too if possible)

Stay warm, everybody!


Filed under General Info, Seasonal, Uniquely Florida

Gators vs. Seminoles: GAME DAY!

Okay, for those of you not paying attention, the Top 5 is firmly in the University of Florida camp… BIG TIME!  And, although we’re having a miserable football season, we still proudly rise to the in-state rivalry of Florida vs. Florida State.

So, we’re going with the Gators today… at least until half-time when we’ll re-evaluate the score! Ha!

And, Rivalry Weekend extends to round ball as well, with the Gators and Seminoles meeting up tomorrow at 7:30 pm on FSN/Sun Sports.  And, while we searched for a decent video featuring both teams, we just couldn’t find one, so you’re stuck with a totally awesome Gator Basketball video.  You Seminoles are welcome to either grin and bear it or post a link to your own in the comments below. 🙂


Filed under Florida Gators, Fun, Sports, Uniquely Florida