Winter is one of the four seasons of temperate zones. It is the season with the shortest days and the lowest average temperatures. It has colder weather and, especially in the higher latitudes or altitudes, snow and ice. The coldest average temperatures of the season are typically experienced in January in the Northern Hemisphere and in July in the Southern Hemisphere. Astronomically, winter starts with the winter solstice and ends with the vernal equinox, though in popular usage the word "winter" is more often defined by cold weather. By this definition it would be approximated by the calendar months of June, July, and August in the Southern Hemisphere and December, January, and February in the Northern Hemisphere. By still another definition, the seasons are not seen as quarters of the year, but as elastic periods in a particular place determined by the weather. When it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere faces the Sun more directly and thus experiences warmer temperatures than the Northern Hemisphere. Conversely, winter in the Southern Hemisphere occurs when the Northern hemisphere is tilted more toward the Sun. From the perspective of an observer on the Earth, the winter Sun has a lower maximum altitude in the sky than the summer Sun.
Snow rarely occurs in the U.S. state of Florida, as freezing temperatures in the state are generally caused by the cold and dry winds of anticyclones. Frost is more common than snow, requiring temperatures of or less than 45°F (7°C), a cloudless sky, and a relative humidity of 65% or more. Generally, 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 California. Much of the information prior to 1900 is from weather climatology provided by the Jacksonville National Weather Service; information for other locations is sparse. Records of snow within the state date back to 1774, when an "extraordinary white rain" was reported .Most recently, on January 3, 2008, light snow flurries fell near Daytona Beach.