Prior to retirement, most people decide whether or not they’ll move to another city, county, or state. When they choose to do so, they have to ensure they’re moving to the right place, and the weather is one of the concerns, especially because of snow. Thus, the question “Does it snow in Florida?” is very common not just for soon-to-retire individuals but also their families.
So, does it snow in Florida? A state most well-known for its beaches and sunny days, some parts of Florida experience snow. It’s not as extreme and regular as other states, though; other parts only get flurries. The winter temperature also doesn’t usually go as low as most states’.
If it’s the kind of climate you or your family member prefers during retirement, learning which parts get to experience snow is essential. Knowing the history of past snowfalls in the state can also give you an idea of how your life would be in the state. The last knowledge in terms of weather that can make you have a more informed decision is how cold it gets in the state during its coldest months and how often it rains and how heavy rains are.
The Florida Snow
Florida snow might be surprising for most people, but not for those who’ve lived or been living in the state for years and know its climate history and pattern. Snow is often one of the reasons people choose to move and retire in the state. That is most especially because elderlies are more prone to illnesses caused by low temperatures, such as colds, flu, and hypothermia. Let’s detail where it usually snows and when it snowed in the State of Florida.
Where Could It Possibly Snow in the State?
You already have an idea that the answer to the question “Does it ever snow in Florida?” is yes, in some areas, especially since it’s a large state. On that note, northern Florida has occasional light snows every few years, while central and southern Florida rarely experience such, and if they do, it’s almost always pellets or snow flurries in the air.
When Did It Snow in Florida?
There have been multiple recorded snowfalls in the State of Florida that usually happened in the first quarter of the year. Some recorded snowing in Florida covered an entire country, extended to several cities and counties, and occurred only in a specific city or town.
From 1774 to 1899
Before the 1900s, the State of Florida experienced flurries, sleet, snowflakes, and snow in multiple areas, with January and February being the most common months. The specific places as per data are:
- Amelia Island
- Lake Butler
- Moseley Hall
- Oak Hill
- Punta Rassa
1774 was the most well-known; in fact, you’ll still see a lot of write-ups about the snowstorm during this period. Although there was a white frost incident in 1765, the 1774 snowstorm across many territories in Florida was considered the first reported snow in the state. Some residents even labeled it as an extraordinary white rain.
With that said, the thickest snow accumulation reached a point where people can sleigh was reported on February 14, 1895, in Tampa and Pensacola. On the other hand, the snow in Jacksonville and Lake Butler on February 12 and 13, 1899, is known as the Great Blizzard of 1899 because the snow melted after several days.
From 1901 to 1996
In this period, snowing in Florida also happened in January and February, with occasional incidents in March, November, and December. With an approximate total of 21 reports, the areas where snow, flurry, and pellet were reported are as follows:
- Crescent City
- New Port Richey
- Pinellas County
- Saint Augustine
- Santa Rosa County
- South of Miami-Dade County
- St. Petersburg
- West Palm Beach
Three of the most notable snow events in the state include the snow in Santa Rosa County on the 6th of March, 1954. It was named the highest snow accumulation within 24 hours that has been officially included in modern records.
Another is the first White Christmas in Jacksonville City on December 23 to 24, 1989. The last on the list was on March 12, 1993, known as the 1993 Storm of the Century with a four-inch snow accumulation in the Florida panhandle.
From 2003 to 2020
Most of the pellets, snowflakes, flurries, and snow that occurred within this period happened in most and the whole Florida panhandle. For the specific cities and counties reported, they are:
- Daytona Beach
- DeFuniak Springs
- Fort Pierce
- Palm Beach
- Santa Rosa
- Treasure Coast
One of the most notable dates is January 28, 2014, when the state’s panhandle experienced a combination of sleet, snow, and rain with ice accumulation. The FDOT and Florida Highway Patrol closed multiple bridges, recommending residents to travel only when needed.
Also, a lot of government offices closed early, Gulf Power clients had no electricity for a certain period, and the Pensacola International Airport (PIA) closed during nighttime. The next day, highway patrol also closed approximately 200 miles of Interstate 10.
Other notable snowy dates were between the second and third of January 2018, when Tallahassee experienced its first measurable snow after December 1989. The state’s highway patrol had to close Interstate 10 and multiple North-Central Florida bridges.
What About Rainfall in the State of Florida?
With rare or occasional very light, light, and mild snow in some areas while none at all in most parts, rain is a common occurrence in the state. Florida residents can experience a combination of both or just one of each. Similar to snow, the average amount of rain also differs between North, Central, and Southern Florida.
The recorded rainfall amount in areas like Fort Myers, Key West, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, which are mostly in the southern part, averages from 5.55 to 8.24 inches. Specifically, 1.5 to two inches during the driest month and between 6.71 and 10.14 inches during the wettest month.
On the contrary, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Pensacola, and Tallahassee, usually in the northern part, have an average rainfall amount between 3.23 and 6.08 inches. During the driest month, the rainfall ranges from 2.11 to 4.18 inches and 6.96 to 8.19 inches during the wettest month.
Recorded Heavy Rainfall Within 24 Hours
Tropical depressions, storms, and hurricanes are common in Florida simply because of the state’s geographical location. In terms of months, it usually experiences the worst heavy rains, hails, storms, and hurricanes from May to October. At times, it even extends up to December.
The recorded average amount of rainfall considered heavy throughout the past years was all caused by any of the three. From the heaviest to the lightest, Yankeetown tops the list. It experienced 1148.10 millimeters of rainfall during Hurricane Easy in 1950.
Second to it was in Munson because of the 1998 hurricane Georges, followed by Trenton in 1941, then Pensacola in 2020 because of Hurricane Sally. The next on the list is because of tropical storm Debby in 2012. It led to a 731-millimeter rainfall amount that mostly affected Curtis Mill.
With 702.3 millimeters of measured rainfall in Melbourne because of tropical storm Fay in 2008, it takes sixth place. Lastly, with an average total rainfall below 700 millimeters, the areas taking the seventh to tenth places include Homestead, Arcadia, Key West, and Bonifay. They were due to hurricane Dennis in 1981, tropical depression One in 1992, hurricane Jeanne in 1980, and the Gulf Coast hurricane in 1916, respectively.
Counties With Heaviest Average Rainfall Within a Year
Overall, the State of Florida has an annual average rainfall ranging from 1016 millimeters to 1524 millimeters or 40 to 60 inches. Besides snow, if you also prefer to stay in a retirement community without too much rainfall, you must know what counties in the state experienced and experience heavy rain.
- St. Johns
- Indian River
- Palm Beach
- St. Lucie
What Is the Coldest Month in Florida?
Unlike most states in the US, Florida only actually has two seasons, namely hot, known as fall or summer, and cold, known as spring or winter. The spring or winter season in Florida ranges from November up to the middle of March, with January being the coldest. The middle of December and the earliest weeks of February are second on the coldest month list. These months are when Florida experiences a cold morning and afternoon, followed by a colder evening.
How Cold Does It Get in Florida?
Knowing the possible lowest temperature in the state will help you decide which items you would need when you plan to spend the rest of your lives in Florida. Would you need your heated throw blanket (view on Amazon), thick socks, jackets, sweaters?
The temperature range in different parts of the state is different, so how cold it gets in Florida depends on what area we’re referring to. In the panhandle and northernmost parts, the average temperature ranges from 35F to 37F or 1.7C to 2.8C. On the contrary, it averages between 68F and 76F or 20C and 24.4C. That is, of course, in January.
For the rest of the Florida winter or cold months, they are between 44F and 72F or 7C and 22.2C in November, making it the most popular month to travel or take a vacation in the state. That is because it’s not too cold and not too hot in the state.
The December temperature, which is the mildest in the state, averages between 40F and 45F or 4.4C and 7.2C. Comes February, the state will have an average temperature ranging from 40F to 60F or 4.4C to 15.6C. Lastly, the March temperature level will usually be between 50F and 75F or 10C and 23.9C.
The Cold Season and Snow in Florida: The Conclusion
Florida is the place to be if you want to escape frigid temperatures and, of course, the dangers that too much snow brings. With two seasons, the coldest is during the first month of the year, with the Northern area experiencing the most extremes of temperature. It’s also the part that has experienced and experiences snow, from light to moderate.
Florida is also one of the US states that are usually affected by light to heavy rain, and surprisingly, during its summer season. So, if you plan to retire in the State of Florida, you also must not forget to bring your comfortable, slip-on house shoes (view on Amazon) and hypoallergenic, organic blanket (View on Amazon) to keep you warm during the cold, rainy, and snowy season.