On this day in history, January 19, 1977 snow made landfall in the Sunshine State. It was the only time in South Florida history that snow fell from the skies, swirling over palm trees, and dazzling school children.
The Cold wave of January 1977 produced the only known trace of snow in the Miami area of Florida ever reported. It occurred following the passage of a strong cold front, in combination with a high-pressure area situated over the Mississippi River Valley. As a result, cold air spewed across Florida, causing both snowfall and record low temperatures. Most notably, the weather system brought snow flurries as far south as Homestead on January 19. Although other portions of the state have since experienced snowfall, no snow has fallen in South Florida since. Damage was most significant to agriculture, as major losses occurred to Citrus fruits and tender vegetables. Statewide, agricultural damage from the cold wave totaled to $350 million (1977 USD), and losses overall totaled to $2 billion (1977 USD). One fatality occurred due to an automobile accident in Central Florida, which was related to the cold wave.
Beginning on January 16, a strong arctic cold front began crossing the state of Florida. Two days later, another cold front crossed Florida, while a strong arctic high-pressure system over the Mississippi River Valley also began pushing cold air into Florida. Simultaneously, an upper-level trough associated with the second cold front contained a band of clouds and precipitation. Between 8 and 9:30 am, snow flurries were reported in many areas across south Florida, including Miami. It was reported that people stopped their cars and emerged from their homes to see the snow in great numbers, many having never seen snow flurries in their lifetimes. That day the high only reached 47 F in Miami. The associated cold air began to subside on January 21st.