Wednesday, January 3

Snow, Freezing Rain In Jax

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Jacksonville is not immune to snow. It can happen, just like direct-hit hurricanes. But snow is rare. At least that's what everyone told us when we were considering a move here. Sure, you get some hurricane effects (rain) and the daily thunderstorm in the summer (more rain), but snow is once a lifetime or so, right? Let's take a look at Wikipedia to see:

  • December 19, 1765: A "white frost" fell in the northern part of the British colony of East Florida "of short duration, and of no material detriment to the agricultural interests."
  • 1774: A snowstorm extended across much of the territory. The affected residents spoke of it as an "extraordinary white rain."
  • January 13, 1852: Snow fell all morning, accumulating to 0.5 inches (13 mm) at Jacksonville
  • February 28, 1855: A few flakes of snow fell at Jacksonville.
  • January 29, 1868: Light sleet fell during the night at Jacksonville.

  • February 28, 1869: During the morning, snow flurries fell at Jacksonville.
  • January 10, 1873: At 7:25 am, a few snowflakes fell at Jacksonville.
  • December 26/27, 1892: At intervals during daytime on December 27, light snow flurries occurred at Jacksonville.
  • January 18, 1893 : Shortly after midnight on January 18, sleet began in the city of Jacksonville and then turned to snow and then to rain.
  • February 14, 1895: From 6:22 pm to 6:27 pm, light sleet fell at Jacksonville, followed by light snow until 6:32 pm. At 7:20 pm, light snow resumed until 8 pm.
  • (1958, 1973, 1983, 1989, etc.) 
About 100 years and several snowfalls later, Jacksonville got its only White Christmas in 1989. Actually, there seemed to be less recorded snow in Jacksonville during the 1900s than in the second half of the 1800s, but very little of what I saw was more than some flurries during any time period.

What's it mean? Just like the potential for a direct hit from a hurricane, it can snow in Jacksonville. We get 15 or so days a year that provide the temperatures necessary for snow. You just need the other factors to work out, too, like precipitation. And it probably often happens when local residents are asleep or bundled up next to a portable heater inside. Being from a state where it snows, I know that freezing rain is often much more dangerous. With all the bridges and lack of salt to throw down, I'm sure that's a more real concern for safety around here. If we ever get an inch of snow, I'm sure the city will shut down until its gone, by noon, I suppose. 

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