A White Christmas In Fla. — Already A Slim Bet — Grows Less Likely As Winters Quickly Warm

Dec 21, 2018

It’s that time of year when children start to ask, “Are we going to have a white Christmas?” In Jacksonville this year, the answer is a pretty resounding no.

Despite some historic, early-season snow in parts of the U.S., the overall snow-covered area in North America is shrinking as temperatures rise globally. To top it all off, winter is the fastest-warming season in most of the country, including in Florida.

Winter is the fastest-warming of all the seasons, all of which are getting hotter.
Credit Climate Central

The average temperature in December throughout the U.S. has climbed by just over 2 degrees Farenheit in the last half-century, 2.1 degrees in Jacksonville, according to Climate Central.

“In Jacksonville, so far this December, temperatures have been running about a half-a-degree above normal — nothing too unusual,” said Florida Public Radio Emergency Network meteorologist Jeff Huffman.“Precipitation wise, though, at the airport, we’re about 2 inches above normal to date.”

According to Huffman, Jacksonville is no stranger to extremes on Christmas.

“The coldest Christmas morning in Jacksonville was 11 degrees in 1983,” he said. “The warmest Christmas afternoon we’ve had was not that long ago: 82 back in 2015.”

He believes the River City is in for a clear and mild holiday this year.

“Thankfully, the weather pattern will really calm down over the next few days,” he said. “I’m expecting a beautiful Christmas holiday here in Northeast Florida. Temperatures close to normal, probably in the upper 60s, low 70s and dry weather. In fact, I don’t see any major storms affecting us, probably, until the beginning of the new year.”

That means Jacksonville’s chances of a white Christmas this year are slim to none. But the natives should be used to that by now.

Climate Central says Jacksonville has a 0 percent chance of snow on Christmas.
Credit Climate Central

“Officially there hasn’t been one, considering by most definitions the requirement for a white Christmas is an inch of snow on the 25th,” he said. “The only thing we have on record, at the airport, was a trace — and that could have just been flurries —  in 1993. But in 1989, there was a snow event that many may remember that produced 2-to-4 inches of snow, two days before the holiday.”

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.