Will there be a ‘White Christmas’ in the Capital City?
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Christmas tree without decorations outdoor in park with bokeh, beautiful blue spruce snow fall
Snow is an improbability for Tallahassee, but never say never.

While the East Coast is looking at a holiday winter storm this week, could a “White Christmas” be in store for Tallahassee to brighten up 2020?

Technically no, because a White Christmas requires at least 1 inch of snow, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. But weather forecasts suggest some snowfall is in the realm of slim possibilities, but a lot would have to go right.

An elementary school student can tell you that water freezes at 32 degrees. However, research shows the threshold for snow isn’t so clear cut, with factors like air pressure and humidity also at play.

Snow can form when the atmosphere reaches water’s freezing point. On the ground, that means the temperature could be as high as 41 degrees when snow forms, according to the National Snow & Ice Data Center.

Hourly forecasts from the National Weather Service for Tallahassee put the chance of snow below 10% throughout Christmas Day, a poor start. For much of the early morning hours, Tallahassee is looking at a 24% chance of rain. That chance falls to 13% by 7 a.m.

The 7 a.m. hour is also when the National Weather Service forecasts the day’s low — 38 degrees. That suggests snow may form, even if it doesn’t hit the ground.

“There’s virtually no chance,” said Parks Camp, a meteorologist based in Tallahassee for the National Weather Service.

Forecasting also isn’t perfect. Predictions made this far out are only accurate 80% of the time.

What’s more, the National Weather Service says there’s currently unpredictability for how the holiday cold front will affect Tallahassee from Wednesday through Friday. Christmas Day could potentially be the coldest this season, and the area could see a hard freeze warning, when temperatures fall to 23 degrees or lower.

“There is still some model disagreement on the speed of frontal passage across our area and thus exact impacts aren’t clear at this time,” reads its Sunday afternoon forecast discussions for Tallahassee.

But Parks says the conditions aren’t quite right to see snow. The morning rain will likely pass before the cold moves in.

“It would take a significant change for us to see snow,” Parks said. “This isn’t really the kind of setup we’d look for for snow in Tallahassee.”

However, The Weather Channel shows a brighter outlook on snow, predicting temperatures as low as 28 degrees. The chance for any precipitation is slim by their count.

Earlier Weather Channel forecasts as recently as Saturday predicted some snow on Christmas with the chance for precipitation at 30%.

Nearly three years ago on Jan. 3, 2018, when Tallahassee received its first measurable snow in decades, the temperature fell below 30 degrees. Tallahassee also saw dustings of snow in 2010 and 2004.

As for snow on Christmas Day, Camp doesn’t believe it’s ever happened in Tallahassee. Perhaps a few flakes landed in 1989, when there was some snow close to Christmas Day.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


One comment

  • Sonja Fitch

    December 21, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    Snowing in Florida is beautiful! But we got our Sunshine! Better than snow! Lol

Comments are closed.


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