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January 2012 Newsletter   

Climate Summary
State Climatologist Attends National Drought Forum
Asst State Climatologist Gives Talk to Local AMS Chapter
Asst State Climatologist Appears on Radio Show
State Climate Office Provides Information for FSU Families
State Climatologist Leads Winter Weather School
Upcoming Events
Example Data Request

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Dear Florida Climate Center Friends,
We'd like to take this time to wish you a Happy New Year and to present you with the January 2012 edition of our newsletter. In this newsletter, you'll find our monthly climate summary, a list of special events that our staff attended, an example of a data request made to the office, and more. If you have any questions, please email us at climate@coaps.fsu.edu.



The Staff of the Florida Climate Center

Zierden PhotoO'Brien PhotoGriffin PhotoLeftwich Photo
David Zierden
State Climatologist
James O'Brien
Professor Emeritus
Melissa Griffin
Asst. State Climatologist
Preston Leftwich
Research Assistant
December Climate Summary for Florida

The Florida Climate Center's December 2011 Florida Climate Summary is now available.  The summary provides an analysis of temperature and precipitation trends across the state, along with data on hazardous weather, drought, the impacts of the weather and any records tied or broken for the month. During December, average temperatures were above normal while rainfall totals varied statewide. Past summaries are archived here.


December average temperatures and departures from normal (° F) for selected cities.
Temperature Table 
December precipitation totals and departures from normal (inches) for selected cities.
Precipitation Table 
A graphical depiction of the monthly rainfall departure from normal (inches) for December (courtesy of NOAA, NWS).
Rainfall graphic 

State Climatologist Attends National Drought Forum

State Climatologist David Zierden participated in the NIDIS Climate Outlook Forum and Pilot review last month at Lake Lanier Resort near Buford, Georgia. NIDIS is the National Integrated Drought Information System and the program has been conducting a pilot project on drought early warning in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint watershed. Mr. Zierden has been a key partner in this pilot and presents climate outlooks and forecasts on regularly scheduled webinars for stakeholders in the basin. The outlook forum reviewed climate forecast information from the last year and also looked ahead to what we can expect in the watershed during this ongoing second year of La Niņa. David Zierden presented on the accuracy of last year's forecast. The meeting was attended by various stakeholders, water managers, social scientists, and climate scientists from around the region and NOAA.

Assistant State Climatologist Gives Talk to Local American Meteorological Society Chapter

Assistant State Climatologist Melissa Griffin appeared at the monthly meeting of the North Florida Chapter of the American Meteorological Society on December 6th and gave a talk about some of the weirdest weather stories ever reported. Raining frogs, record hailstones, people who survived tornadoes, human lightning rod Roy Sullivan, and rainmaker Charles Hatfield were all discussed during the half-hour presentation.

Assistant State Climatologist Appears on Radio Show

Assistant State Climatologist Melissa Griffin appeared as a guest on the "Barometer Bob" internet radio show the night of December 8. Ms. Griffin spoke about the ongoing efforts of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) both statewide and nationally as well as the current La Niņa conditions and winter 2011/2012 outlook. Ms. Griffin also answered questions submitted by listeners about rain-to-snow ratios, CoCoRaHS expansion into Canada, and the drought in Florida. An archive of the December 8 segment in which Ms. Griffin appeared is available here.

State Climate Office Provides Information for FSU Families

In early December, the Florida Climate Center was contacted by a writer from the FSU Family Connection Newsletter, which is under the supervision of the Division of Student Affairs, for help with an article. The newsletter staff wanted to publish information about a typical Tallahassee winter so that families with students attending FSU could become familiar with the climate and buy appropriate clothing and winter necessities for their students. Staff from the Climate Center provided some useful tables on temperature and precipitation along with a writeup about the differences between north Florida winters and the winters experienced by the rest of the state. You can read the articles here

State Climatologist Leads Winter Weather School

State Climatologist David Zierden was the keynote speaker at this year's Winter Weather School at Tavares, Florida. The weather school is a workshop sponsored by University of Florida Extension and covers material on anticipating and protecting crops from winter weather, particularly damaging freezes. David Zierden explained about the El Niņo/La Niņa cycle in the Pacific Ocean, how it affects our winter weather, and what it means this year for temperature and precipitation patterns.

Upcoming Events

January 9-13, 2012:

Florida 4-H Youth Development Institute in Ocala, FL


January 21, 2012:

11th Annual American Meteorological Society WeatherFest in New Orleans, FL


January 23-27, 2012:

92nd Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society in New Orleans, FL


January 28, 2012:

Children's Day at the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee, FL


February 2, 2012:

NIFA Technology and Agricultural Fair in Quincy, FL


February 7, 2012:

FSU Day at the Capitol in Tallahassee, FL


February 13, 2012:

Special Presentation on Climate Change in Florida by Dr. Jim O'Brien for the US Forest Service in Tallahassee, FL


February 18, 2012:

National High Magnetic Field Laboratory Open House in Tallahassee, FL

Example Data Request 

Each month, we highlight here recent examples of some of the many public services provided by the Florida Climate Center:

During the month of December, the questions "Has it ever snowed in Florida?" and "What are the chances of a White Christmas in Florida?'" always arise.


Snow on car in Tampa.
Snow in Tampa, 1977 (courtesy USF Libraries).

Yes, Virginia, it has snowed in Florida and on Christmas too! The most snow ever recorded in a 24-hour period was 4.0 inches back in March of 1954 in Milton, FL. That total also holds as the state record snow depth, too. There are numerous mentions of snow in Florida, dating back to the late 1700s. Here are just a few highlighted snowfalls from more recent records:


January 1977 - Snow was reported across the Panhandle to the Big Bend, and accumulations of up to 3" were reported around the Tampa/Orlando area. Flurries were reported as far south as Homestead, FL.


December 1989 - Snow on the 23rd of the month led to the 1st White Christmas in Jacksonville's history.


March 1993 - The '93 Superstorm produced up to 4" of snow in parts of northern Florida.


January 2003 - Ocean effect snow (similar to lake effect snow) occurred over portions of the east coast, making it as far south as Fort Pierce.


November 2006 - A light dusting of snow was reported in central Florida. It was the first snow in November in Florida since 1912.


January 2010 - Light snow and sleet fell in parts of central Florida. Isolated flurries were reported in West Palm Beach and Kendall.


December 2010 - A mix of snow and sleet was reported in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Gainesville and other northern locations within the state on the 26th. On the 28th, light snow flurries were reported in early morning hours in Tampa.


About Us 

The Florida Climate Center is part of a three-tiered system of national, regional, and state climate offices, including NOAA's National Climatic Data Center and the Southeast Regional Climate Center. The Florida State Climatologist and other staff at the Florida Climate Center provide the following information and services to the people of Florida:


· Climate Data:

Historical weather observations for weather stations throughout the state of Florida. We are able to provide data for most stations from 1948-present.


· Climate Information:

Long-term historical averages for various stations, climate divisions, and the entire state.


· Extreme Event Records:

Information and analyses on extreme events such as freezes, droughts, floods and hurricanes.


· Special Analysis:

With their vast knowledge of El Niņo, La Niņa and climate variability, the State Climatologist and staff can offer expert insight into Florida's climate trends.


· Outreach:

Activities, presentations, and workshops that inform and educate the people of Florida about current and emerging climate issues. We also coordinate volunteers for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS).


More About Us 


climate@coaps.fsu.edu      (850) 644-3417