47 years ago, it snowed in South Florida for the only time in recorded history

47 years ago, it snowed in South Florida for the only time in recorded history

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Exactly 47 years ago, it snowed in South Florida for the only time in recorded history.

On Jan. 19, 1977, enough snow accumulated to cover the ground and be recorded in the weather history books, said Steve Weigel, chief meteorologist at WPTV First Alert Weather.

Duane Zimmerman

Archive photo from January 19, 1977, the only day in recorded history that snow fell in South Florida.

The National Weather Service said snow was seen as far south as Homestead, along with reports of snow mixed with rain in Freeport, Bahamas.

Weather spotters spotted flakes in West Palm Beach, LaBelle, Hollywood and the Royal Palm Ranger Station in far southern Miami-Dade County.

“Temperatures that day were in the low 30s,” WPTV meteorologist Jennifer Correia said. “But by 9:30 a.m. that day, in 1977, the big snow day in South Florida was over. It had clearly melted, not stuck.”

Archive photo from January 19, 1977, the only day in recorded history that snow fell in South Florida (1).PNG

Duane Zimmerman

Archive photo from January 19, 1977, the only day in recorded history that snow fell in South Florida.

The “big snow event” affected Florida’s produce industry, decimating crops and forcing 150,000 migrant workers to lose their jobs that winter, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency, Correa said.

Forty-seven years ago, a strong Arctic cold front moved quickly down the Florida Peninsula from late on January 18 until the pre-dawn hours, weather experts said. This was coupled with clouds and rain associated with the upper level trough, followed by the Arctic front.

West Palm Beach reported its first snowfall ever at 6:10 a.m. and continued to report light snow until 8 a.m.

However, since temperatures were above freezing at the surface, there was little to measure in Palm Beach County.

Tampa got 0.20 inches of snow, while Plant City east of Tampa got 2 inches.

Archive photo from January 19, 1977, the only day in recorded history that snow fell in South Florida (4).PNG

Duane Zimmerman

Archive photo from January 19, 1977, the only day in recorded history that snow fell in South Florida.

More weather: radar |Alerts | 7 day forecast | Hourly forecast

How fitting that on this anniversary of South Florida’s historic snowfall, we’re bracing for a very cold weekend on Saturday and Sunday.

A strong cold front will pass late Friday, ending by Saturday morning as temperatures drop, Correa said.

Temperatures will struggle to reach the high 60s on Saturday and Sunday. Morning lows will drop into the 40s and 50s, with wind chills in the low 40s and possibly upper 30s by Sunday morning.

The coldest morning will be Sunday, Correa said.

(Tags for translation)West Palm Beach

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