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History of Snowfall in North Florida

History of Snowfall in North Florida

North Florida is not a stranger to snow and ice, as we experienced this week.

As we experienced this week, Florida is no stranger to snow and ice!  Photo by Judy Ludlow

North Florida experienced a weather delight (or distress depending on your point of view!) this week in the form of freezing rain and snow!  The words “Florida” and “snow” are two words most people would not place together in the same sentence, but you may be surprised to learn that snow has been documented a number of times in Florida as revealed by records as early as 1891.  In Tallahassee, measurable snow has not fallen since 1989. 

The following information is taken from the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office Tallahassee, FL  about the history of Snowfall in Tallahassee:  Several winters ago, NWS Tallahassee Climate Focal Point, Tim Barry, responded to an inquiry from a reporter concerning snow climatology in Tallahassee. Some of those questions and answers are listed below:

In ten-year intervals, how many times has it snowed in Tallahassee Florida?snow graph How frequently does Tallahassee see snowfall?

From the information provided in the 1st question, we see that it snowed 32 times in Tallahassee since 1891. Please note that all but 7 of these occurrences were only Trace amounts. If we were to divide the period of record (117 years) by 32 we would get a frequency of once every 3.66 years. But as you can see from above, the more frequent occurrences of snow in the 50′s ,60′s and 70′s have skewed the results. The return period for measurable snow is just once every 17 years.  The most snow recorded in a 24-hour period was 2.8″ from February 12th – 13th, 1958.

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A snowy scene from Crestview Florida, January 29, 2014.  Photo by Larry Williams.

Any interesting or exciting facts about Tallahassee winters?

There is a significant difference between the climate of north Florida and the southern portions of the peninsula. On average, we experience 35 days with minimum temperatures at or below freezing with most of these occurring from December through March. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Tallahassee was -2 F on February 13th 1899. More recently, we dipped down to 6 degrees F on January 21st, 1985.

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Extra feed was a welcome relief for backyard wildlife this past week!  Photo by Judy Ludlow

Additional local research on conditions that favor snowfall in Tallahassee can be found in the following publication: Pattern Recognition of Significant Snowfall Events in Tallahassee, Florida 

 

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Author: Judy Ludlow – judy.ludlow@ufl.edu

Judy Ludlow is the Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent in Calhoun County, Florida

Judy Ludlow

Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/02/01/history-of-snowfall-in-north-florida/