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Old 01-23-2014, 09:02 AM
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ricki ricki is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,699
Default Snow In South Florida

On January 19, 1977 two cold fronts banged into each other which along with a particularly low jet stream resulted in a very rare event, snow in South Florida. More accurately, flurries could be seen in Miami, Homestead, reportedly in Key Largo but this is unconfirmed and even on Grand Bahama Island. For folks further north the snow stayed on the ground for a while. That is where I was, Tampa on the colder left coast and in interesting times.

A shot from my hometown paper a couple of blocks from the house, in warmer temperatures.,5672933.story

The jetstream had dipped way south and a strong pressure gradient had developed. An after action analysis by the NWS of the storm event at:

I was attending USF in Tampa that year. We had piled into my roommate's land boat the night before to see predicted snow fall in Gainesville, FL. After driving about two hours north we were treated to a bush coated in ice from a sprinkler.

The "bush!" No Internet in those days, it was worth a four hour drive? Well, what came next certainly was.

We took pictures of the iced up bush anyway and drove back south to Tampa. About ten miles north of Tampa we hit a snow storm, for real. Visibility dropped to a couple of hundred feet in swirling white stuff. My roommate's land boat started to drift on the ice on bald tires. Fortunately we made it back to USF in one piece.

Others weren't so lucky. They closed a ten mile section of I-75 the next day with numerous tractor trailer and car accidents. Most of the bridges were iced over and people weren't set up to safely drive in such conditions, so some crashed!

There was snow on the ground, only .2 inches in Tampa per NWS records however 1 to 2 inches were found in Plant City just to the east. I think we had at least 1/2 inch at USF. Enough to make a snowman, with a trash can to collect and compact snow in.

Putting the snowman together the night before.

The snow was still on the ground early the next morning. The guys, well it was 1977! I went swimming in the heated outdoor pool. The steam was riding 15 ft. off the water but wasn't thick enough to stop guys from pelting you with snowballs as you launched off the diving board.

A shot from South Florida from the Ft. Lauderdale News, gone but not forgotten.

These guys really were in color and good focus at one time. Negatives outside proper archiving lose something over time.
A video from South Florida from that day.

It was a different time, a revolutionary in snow? Not domestic fortunately.

A 20 year old Rick hanging with the snowman

Within a week or so the Blizzard of 1977 would slam into the north creating 30 ft. snow drifts in Buffalo. It would bury cars with passengers in them and bring in the National Guard for emergency rescues and relief.

Could it happen again? No end of strange weather these years, why not?

FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by ricki; 01-23-2014 at 07:44 PM.
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