Snow-way! 25 years since Jacksonville's historical snowfall. When will it happen again?


This week marks 25 years since snow blanketed the first coast bringing with it our first white Christmas on record. This time of year, Channel 4's Weather Authority gets buried with emails and facebook messages asking why it doesn't snow here or if this year will be the year the flakes begin flying again? The Weather Authorities Blake Mathews answers that question for us tonight.

***NATS VO*** [Tape 254: 32:25-32:40 - man sliding down main st. bridge on sled]

                         [Tape 255: 30:40-45 - river walk sign iced over]

Snow-way! Hard to believe this was Jacksonville 25 years ago this week. 

***NATS VO*** [Tape 254: 33:31-33:39 - snowman with sunglasses on]

                         [Tape 265:  15:49-15:53 - ice covers bridge]

A city completely unprepared for something that NEVER happens. Yet for only the third time in 103 years, it happened... snow covered the ground bringing Jacksonville to a sliding

***NATSVO*** [Tape 259: 36:08-36:16 - car ax with icy roads]

                        [Tape 265: 15:34-15:39 - van spinning tires on ice]

Crunching halt.

So as disruptive as snow is in the deep south, we all want to know just one thing:

***VOSOT*** [get people to ask when will it happen again]

The reality is, it's hard to get snow here. It requires a mix of cold air, moisture and most importantly, precise timing.

***VOSOT of John G.***

***VO*** [animated graphics of 1989 event]

But in 1989, a powerful high pressure system supplied true arctic cold to the gulf coast. Behind the front, a powerful low pressure developed dumping copious amounts of moisture into a frigid airmass. The result was widespread snow from Texas to the Carolinas -- moving through Jacksonville overnight on the 23rd.

The vast majority of the time, powerful cold fronts move through Florida clearing out all the moisture ahead of it allowing for cold but dry conditions to persist. However, every once in a great while, you can get enough moisture to linger behind to turn to snow -- if not for only a brief window of time.

At the end of the day, this is Florida. A land known for everything but it's winter landscape. Yet, snow has fallen more than once in Jacksonville and only stands to reason that this

***VO*** [Tape 265: 17:27-17:32 / 17:54-18:00]

WILL happen again.

***TAG OUT***

Blake Mathews, Channel 4, THE Local Station.