Real snow for Christmas in Central Florida? It happened 30 years ago today

Record cold followed the flakes

ORLANDO, Fla.- – To be clear, this is not a forecast, in fact temperatures will be in the 70s Christmas Eve. The warmth was not around, however, in the days leading up to Christmas 1989.

Snow and Florida typically aren’t used in the same sentence unless you’re visiting Florida to escape the snow but 30 years ago flakes made their way to parts of Central Florida as a record snow storm brought the white stuff to the Deep South and Southeast U.S. More than a foot of snow fell in coastal North and South Carolina.

The snow didn’t stick around for long in Central Florida, but it was an extremely rare sight for a region in which temperatures are typically in the 70s this time of year. Most only recorded a dusting in extreme cases across Central Florida. In north Florida, however, 1-3 inches of snow accumulated. Live Oak saw the highest snow totals with exactly 3 inches. Jacksonville nearly picked up an inch.


A large dip in the jet stream created an area of low pressure at the surface that moved through the Florida Straights, up the east coast of Florida and off of the Outer Banks. The track of this system put Central Florida and much of the Southeast in prime position to pickup this rare snowfall. The heaviest snow falls north and west of the center of low pressure


After the light snow ended, Arctic air settled in. Central Florida woke up to actual-air temperatures in the teens and 20s on Dec. 24. All of the temperatures below are daily record lows that still stand today.

About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 and now covers weather on TV and all digital platforms.