Florida, the Sunshine State, out-SNOWING Edmonton, Alberta
Thursday, January 25, 2018, 6:01 AM - It’s 2018 and parts of Florida are straight up out-snowing Edmonton, Alberta.
Yes, you read that correctly.
In a competition that no one saw coming, Pace in Santa Rosa County, on the Florida panhandle, has been snowier than Edmonton (International Airport) so far in 2018.
Allow me to paint a picture of the two unlikely competitors, separated by 3000 km:
Edmonton, Alberta: Known for being one of Canada’s coldest cities in the winter, has an average high temperature of -6°C and an average snowfall of 21.7 cm in January.
Pace, Santa Rosa County, Florida: Known for its pearly white beaches along the Gulf coast, has an average high temperature of 16°C and an average snowfall of 0 cm in January.
So what are the competing snowfall amounts?
Well, they aren’t staggering. A whopping 2.2 cm has fallen in Edmonton so far this year, with 3.1 cm in Pace, Santa Rosa.
Imaged below are the average monthly snowfall totals and observed monthly snowfall totals for Edmonton International Airport (CYEG)
While it isn’t unheard of to see snow falling in northern Florida, it is rather rare. In fact, Tallahassee, Florida had its first measurable snowfall in nearly three decades and NOAA satellites captured the snow falling over the area on January 3.
But let’s blow your mind even further. It’s not just January that’s featured this kind of backwards stat. Last month, Escambia county, the furthest northwest county in Florida, reported five cm of snow, nearly double Edmonton’s December snowfall.
So how does this happen?
A couple of meteorological feats had to work together.
The first: Our wavy polar jet stream that separates the cold and warm air masses up in the atmosphere had to drive far enough south into Texas to allow sub-zero temperatures to flood into the Gulf States. Since December, this pattern has developed a few times, bringing snowfall to northern Florida and much of the deep south not once, but THREE times so far this winter.
The second: Edmonton has had a lousy winter for snow (although you had a very winter-like end to Fall). The weaker, moisture-starved storm pattern across the Prairies that has developed through January has kept Edmonton on the outs and in record-low snow depth territory. As of January 22, Edmonton International Airport currently cracks the top 10 lowest years for snow depth.
Well, for those snow-lovers out there, you’re in luck. An active Pacific jet stream firing up across British Columbia is driving a pattern change for Edmonton.
So this may put an end to Florida’s upper hand in January, but we will always have December: The month where Florida out-snowed Edmonton.