Does it Snow in Florida?

These are some of the MOST asked questions from my readers.

  • Does it snow in Florida?
  • Does it freeze in Florida?
  • How cold does it get in Florida?
  • Has there ever been a white Christmas in Florida?
  • Is it warm in Florida in December?

So, I’ve decided to write a web page for you on this exact topic. And funny but not funny — I was actually vacationing in Florida at the time of two of the coldest freezing spells! So I will share some of my personal experiences with you.

My Cold Florida Vacation Story

Would you ever think the forecast for Florida weather in December would be for snow and freezing temperatures?  

Well, it sure was in the forecast in 1989 and 2010. And, I was here both times! How does that happen?

It was in 1989, when a boyfriend and I traveled from Oregon to Palm Beach, Florida for a planned Christmas holiday.  It was also in 1989, when Florida had snow and freezing temperatures in the forecast! Ekkkk!

To my surprise, I landed at Palm Beach International Airport to witness Palm Beach County’s first white Christmas!  Not joking! 

Obviously, the snow was nothing compared to the snow we would get in the ski resort we lived in in Bend, OR, but nonetheless, for Florida, it was indeed SNOW!  You might say it was snow…Florida-style. Probably just snowflakes that drifted down from up north. 🙂 But many people said they saw light snow flurries. I can indeed confirm that we had freezing temperatures!

This headline is from December 24, 1989. The year we decided to spend our first Christmas in Florida! We were seeking warm temperatures and sunshine — but that just wasn’t happening that year! Haha….

There were freezing temperatures almost the entire two weeks of our vacation — including in the Florida Keys! And no heater in our charming water-front old-Florida-style accommodations! Ha-ha-ha…Oie!

Freezing weather is NOT the time to try to embrace “Old-Florida-style” living in cute little cottages with no heat! 

1989 the recorded low temperatures were:
Dec 19th: 39 degrees
Dec 24th: 42 degrees
Dec 23rd: 60 degrees

This cold weather in Florida is extremely rare and even more rare in South Florida and Palm Beach County. Be sure to read about our normal December weather here. December weather is usually fabulous and 80 degrees in December. Posting a photo below so you don’t get the wrong impression our December weather in Florida!

Photo credit: Larry Richardson

History of Cold Weather in Florida
Florida Reports Freaky-Cold, Record-Setting Temperatures

Jan 19, 1977: First documented snow in PBC with snow flurries reaching as far south as Homestead, FL. This was such an unheard of event that the Miami Herald reported the event as a “front page story” with a headline the size reserved for declaration of war. This is how rare it is that Florida ever has snow.

The morning on January 19, 1977
Floridians woke up to cold and snow, and lots of it!

Dec 23, 1989: The First White Christmas in Florida with freezing rain and then later snow accumulating in Jacksonville, FL making it a white Christmas for this city.

Dec 1998: Record breaking low temperatures at Christmastime.

Jan 8-9, 2010: Snow fell in Jacksonville and many parts of Central Florida. Sleet was widespread throughout. Snow flurries were reported in Palm Beach County as far south as Kendall – for only the second time in recorded history!

Snow flurries were reported in Palm Beach County
as far south as Kendall – for only the
second time in recorded history!

In the Way Back…
Snow Flurries, Snowflakes, Sleet

Snow in Florida dates back as far as 1774, when a snow storm covered much of Florida. This is the first recorded snow in Florida. The snowstorm extended across most of the state. Being unaccustomed to snow, some residents called it “extraordinary white rain.”

In the 19th Century,
 (prior to 1900), there were 17 recorded reports of snow in Florida including light snow flurries, snowflakes, sleet and up to 8 inches north of Jacksonville in 1797 and 5 inches in Jan 1800.

20th Century had 23 reported snow events across the state of Florida with PBC seeing its first site of snow on Jan 19, 1977.

21st Century had 10 reported events.

Where Can I See Snow in Florida?

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