‘Let it snow, let it snow’…. but not in South Florida
By Jennifer Natalie Ortega
“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!”
It’s getting quite chilly in South Florida, chilly enough for those fuzzy boots you’ve wanted to take out of your closet all year! But is it cold enough for a winter snow?
The last measurable snowfall in Florida was one inch in Tallahassee from December 22 to December 23 in 1989. That’s almost on Christmas day! The most snow recorded in a 24-hour period in Tallahassee was 2.8 inches in 1958.
According to the National Weather Service, since 1891 there have been 32 occurrences of snowfall in Florida, although 25 of them were only traces of snow.
If you take the actual occurrences of snow in Florida from the first year one was recorded, and divide it into the period since the first measurable snow, it turns out to be once every 17 years! That’s like saying the most southern tropical state in the US on average receives snowfall every time a child is born and again when he or she graduates from high school!
January 19, 1977, established a new record for the farthest south observance of snow in Florida. Cities including West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Homestead observed flurries of snow across the peninsula.
The best condition for seeing snow in Florida is when a cold air mass is in place over the region, while a weak low pressure system is developing eastward across the northeast Gulf of Mexico. Lingering moisture has to be in the air when the cold front arrives; otherwise, we are just likely to get freezing rain!
This week, South Florida will be experiencing colder temperatures, but nothing says you’ll be shoveling snow this holiday. This week will be partly sunny, highs in the lower 80’s and lows in the 60’s. Another cold front is heading through which could generate scattered showers, but then will clear up for the weekend.
As for our current tropics, an area of low pressure is moving slowly in the Caribbean Sea heading west over Nicaragua, but posing no immediate threat to us in South Florida.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts it has a medium chance of developing into our next tropical depression or tropical storm, possibly becoming our number 17 named storm for the season.