Snow in Florida
It is rare for snow to fall in Florida. The reason that snow so rarely occurs in this U.S. state is that freezing temperatures in Florida are generally caused by the cold and dry winds of anticyclones. Frost is more common than snow, requiring temperatures of 45°F (7°C) or less at 2 metres (7 ft) above sea level, a cloudless sky, and a relative humidity of 65% or more. In the general case, for snow to occur, the polar jet stream must move southward through Texas and into the Gulf of Mexico, with a stalled cold front across the southern portion of the state curving northeastward to combine freezing air into the frontal clouds. Most of the state is in a rare portion of the continental United States that receives a mean maximum monthly snowfall amount of zero, the only other such areas being southern Texas and parts of California.
Much of the known information on snow in Florida prior to 1900 is from weather climatology provided by the Jacksonville National Weather Service; for this reason, information for other locations is sparse. The earliest recorded instance of snow in Florida was a snowstorm that occurred in 1774; being unaccustomed to snow, some residents called it "extraordinary white rain." The first White Christmas in Jacksonville's history resulted from a snowfall that occurred on December 23, 1989. The most recent occurrence of snow in Florida took place on January 9, 2011, when sleet was reported in the counties of Escambia and Santa Rosa.
- 19 December 1765: A "white frost" and in 1765, snow fell in northern East Florida "of short duration, and of no material detriment to the agricultural interests."
- 1774: A snowstorm extends across much of the territory. The affected residents speak of it as an "extraordinary white rain."
- 1797: Land surveyor Andrew Ellicott reports 8 inches (200 mm) snowdrifts near the source of the Saint Marys River in Baker County. Andrew Ellicott's journal suggests that he encountered snow this year in Natchez, Mississippi. He visited the area in question in 1800, not in 1797.
- 10/11 January 1800: Land surveyor Andrew Ellicott erected an observatory at Point Peter, a location near the mouth of Saint Marys River, now in the far southeast side of the City of St. Marys, Georgia. After recording a sunrise temperature of 37 °F (3 °C), he observed "snow and hail the whole day" until 10 pm. The temperature then fell below freezing, the wind shifted to northwesterly, and the skies cleared at midnight. At sunrise the morning of 11 January, he reported snow 5 inches (130 mm) deep and a temperature of 28 °F (−2 °C). This snowstorm perhaps extended from Louisiana to Georgia.
- 13 January 1852: Snow fell all morning, accumulating to 0.5 inches (13 mm) at Jacksonville.
- 28 February 1855: A few flakes of snow fell at Jacksonville.
- 29 January 1868: Light sleet fell during the night at Jacksonville.
- 28 February 1869: During the morning, snow flurries fell at Jacksonville.
- 10 January 1873: At 7:25 am, a few snowflakes fell at Jacksonville.
- 4/5 February 1875: Between midnight and sunrise on both dates, light sleet occurred.
- 4/5 January 1879: At Jacksonville at 7 pm, sleet began; at 8:30 pm, it turned to rain. The freezing rain covered trees, shrubbery, and everything else outdoors by morning. The weight of the ice broke the limbs of many orange trees.
- 5 January 1887: 1 inch (25 mm) of snow fell at Pensacola. Sleet also fell somewhere in Florida.
- 14 January 1892: 0.4 inches (10 mm) of snow is reported at Pensacola. The first snowfall of the season occurred at Fort Barrancas. Monthly snowfall totaled 0.5 inches (13 mm) at Pensacola.
- 17 January 1892: At 10:30 am, sleet fell for a few minutes only at Madison, Florida
- 14 February 1892: Pensacola reports 3 inches (76 mm) of snow.
- 26/27 December 1892: On both days, precipitation fell as sleet and snow at Pensacola. On 26 December, sleet also occurred at Cerro Gordo, Florida, and slight trace of snow fell at Tallahassee. On 27 December, a slight trace fell at Moseley Hall, Madison County, Florida. At intervals during daytime on 27 December, light snow flurries occurred at Jacksonville.
- 18/19 January 1893: On 16 January, snow occurred at Palatka, Florida. On 17 January, sleet fell at Oxford, Florida, and at Pensacola. Shortly after midnight on 18 January, sleet began in the city of Jacksonville and then turned to snow and then to rain. That day, sleet also fell at Moseley Hall, Pensacola, and Tallahassee, and snow occurred at Lawtey, Florida. On 18 and 19 January, sleet fell at Bristol, Florida.
- 14 February 1895: From 6:22 pm to 6:27 pm, light sleet fell at Jacksonville; light snow followed until 6:32 pm. At 7:20 pm, light snow resumed until 8 pm. Snow fell at Tampa. At Pensacola, snow reportedly reached depths allowing for sleighing.
- 12/13 February 1899: At 9:45 pm, rain changed to sleet at Jacksonville. Sleet then changed to snow at 10:15 pm and continued through the night, accumulating to 2 inches (51 mm) before sunrise at 7 am as the temperature plunged to 10 °F (−12 °C). The accumulation reached 4 inches (100 mm) at Lake Butler. In sheltered locations, the snow melted only several days later. This Great Blizzard of 1899 also affected much of the American South.
20th century (20 reported events) 
- 16 December 1901: At 1 pm, light snow fell at Jacksonville; at intervals through the afternoon, sleet followed.
- 7 February 1907: During the afternoon, a light snow flurry occurred "in the immediate vicinity" of the city of Jacksonville.
- 27 November 1912: An overnight period of snow covers the ground and trees with a 0.5 inches (13 mm) layer in northern Florida.
- 22/23 January 1935: Snow falls until the next morning, with Pensacola recording 1 inch (25 mm).
- 2 February 1951: Snowfall begins and ends the following day, accumulating to 2.0 inches (51 mm) at Saint Augustine and Crescent City.
- 14 December 1952: Sleet and snow falls across the northern portion of the state, though there is very little accumulation.
- 14 December 1953: Light sleet occurs in the morning in Marianna.
- 6 March 1954: 4 in (100 mm) 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.
- 28 March 1955: Snowfall accumulates to 1 inch (25 mm) in Marianna along the Florida Panhandle.
- 13 February 1958: An overnight rainfall changes to snowfall in Jacksonville and accumulates to 1.5 inches (38 mm). Additionally, Tallahassee reports a record 2.8 inches (71 mm).
- 9 February 1973: Snow falls over the northern portion of the state, including a total of 2.0 inches (51 mm) in Pensacola, with unofficial reports of up to 8 inches (200 mm).
- 18 January 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 (one tenth to a quarter inch) receive light accumulations of 1 inch (25 mm) to 2 inches (51 mm) with a few isolated spots reportedly receiving 3 inches (76 mm) to 6 inches (150 mm)), and finally South Florida. By early morning before sunrise 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.
- 2 March 1980: About .25 inches (6.4 mm) of snow covers car tops and patio furniture in Jacksonville.
- 1 March 1986: 0.5 inches (13 mm) of snow accumulates overnight in Jacksonville before melting within 30 minutes due to the morning sun.
- 23/24 December 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. Light flurries fall in the Tampa metro area early on Christmas Eve and even during an early afternoon National Football League game. 1 death is reported in Tampa, 2 in Miami and 1 in Jacksonville because of the extreme cold.
- 12 March 1993: The 1993 Storm of the Century produces up to 4 inches (100 mm) of snow along the Florida Panhandle.
- 8 January 1996: Snow flurries are reported from Crystal River to New Port Richey with no accumulation.
- 18 December 1996: A plume of cold air causes snow to form in the northwestern portion of Escambia County.
21st century (12 reported events) 
- 24 January 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.
- 25 December 2004: Locations along the Florida Panhandle receive a dusting of snow.
- 21 November 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.
- 3 February 2007: Very light snow flurries are reported in the northeastern panhandle, lasting less than an hour.
- 3 January 2008: Light snow flurries are reported near Daytona Beach.
- 8/9 January 2010: Very light dusting of snow seen in the eastern Jacksonville area. Light snow also fell in parts of central Florida, which briefly accumulated in Ocala and other 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.
- 12 February 2010: Portions of northwestern Florida experience snowfall totals of around 1 in (25 mm).
- 14 February 2010: 0.5 inches (13 mm) of snow fell across the northern halves of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Walton and Okaloosa Counties.
- 8 December 2010: Snow mixed with rain is reported in western parts of the panhandle, north of Pensacola.
- 26 December 2010: A mix of snow and sleet was reported in Jacksonville by NWS.
- 28 December 2010: Light snow was reported at Tampa Executive at 1AM and 5AM local time, following a rare freezing fog event around midnight.
- 9 January 2011: Sleet is reported in the Pensacola area, as well as other places in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. There was no accumulation.
See also 
- Climate of Florida
- Cold wave of January 1977
- 1993 Storm of the Century
- North American blizzard of 2009
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