Are you curious about just how cold Florida gets? And does it actually get so cold it freezes?
We traded the windy, icy winters of Chicago for the sunny skies of Orlando. But don’t be fooled – even in Florida, the weather can throw a curveball.
When we first moved here, we were in for a surprise; Florida’s climate is varied and can change depending on where you choose to live or visit.
It has its fair share of chilly weeks too, especially in Central Florida where we settled and Northern Florida.
Let’s dive into what we’ve learned about Florida’s diverse climate and how it affects life here.
Does it freeze in Florida? (Short Answer)
Yes, Northern Florida cities like Gainseville will experience the most frequent freezes (yearly) while Central Florida cities like Orlando will have occasional freezes—though not every year.
In Southern Florida, areas like Miami rarely see temperatures dip to freezing; the lowest recorded in recent history was a brisk 35°F.
So, while Florida is predominantly warm, certain regions, particularly in the north, do experience frosty conditions.
Let’s really dig in to find out just how cold Florida can get—and maybe even some fun snow facts.
Understanding Florida’s Climate: More Than Just Sunshine
When we moved to Florida, we knew that we were moving to warmer climate, but we were surprised that it can get chilly as well.
You may want to read our recent post on how cold it gets in Florida during the winter.
We chose to move to Central Florida where the weather is warm year-round, but we do occasionally get cooler weeks.
Just like Central Florida, North Florida and South Florida each boast their own distinctive climates and weather patterns.
South Florida has a tropical climate with hot, humid summers and mild, dry winters. If you love really hot weather, this is the place to be. Rarely will you experience cold weather.
The almost never experiences freezing temperatures, making it ideal for year-round outdoor activities.
Central Florida experiences a humid subtropical climate. Summers are hot and wet, while winters are mild with occasional cool spells.
The area is known for its distinct rainy season from June to September. When we moved here, we were excited to see some chilly weeks when we could break out sweaters and pants.
North Florida has a more varied climate. North Florida residents will experience hot summers and cooler winters, with occasional frosts and rare snowfall in the northernmost areas.
If you are ever going to see freezing temperatures, it’s most likely in North Florida.
The Reality of Cold Weather in Florida
So, does Florida get so cold it experiences freezing temperatures? Yes.
Let’s walk through each region of Florida.
South Florida Freezing Temperatures (2000-2023)
As I looked over the historical temperature data for the Miami area from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, one thing became clear – they’ve never actually hit the freezing mark!
The lowest it’s ever gotten, based on the records I’ve seen, was a chilly 35°F back in 2010.
So, while we do have our cooler moments in Miami, especially during the winter, it’s a relief to say that freezing temperatures are a rarity around here.”
Central Florida Freezing Temperatures (2000-2023)
From my dive into the NOAA data for the Orlando area, I noticed something interesting about the frequency of those chilly days.
If you’re planning a move to Central Florida, you might be curious about how often it dips to freezing temperatures.
Well, based on what I’ve seen, these freezing moments are pretty rare, but they do happen.
Since 2000, Orlando saw temperatures at or below freezing several times, but it’s not an every-year occurrence.
So, while you’ll mostly enjoy mild winters here, it’s a good idea to be prepared for a few cold snaps every now and then!
North Florida Freezing Temperatures (2000-2023)
When I looked at the NOAA data for the Gainesville area in Northern Florida, it really struck me how different the climate can be compared to other parts of the state.
For anyone thinking of moving up here, it’s worth noting that freezing temperatures are more common than in Central or South Florida.
In fact, almost every year since 2000, Gainesville has experienced at least a few days when temperatures dipped to or below freezing.
So, if you’re heading to this part of Florida, be ready for a few frosty mornings each winter, and don’t forget to pack some warm clothes!
Florida’s Coldest Moments: A Historical Perspective
The coldest temperature ever recorded in Florida
The coldest temperature ever recorded in Florida was on February 13th, 1899 in Tallahassee, Florida when the low reached -2°F.
Believe or not, there was actually a snowball fight on the steps of the capitol in Tallahassee.
That fits with our research on freezing temperatures in Florida as the coldest areas of Florida are in the north.
The most snowfall ever recorded in Florida (24-hour period)
As someone who’s fascinated by weather extremes, I dove into the NOAA records to find out about the heaviest snowfall in Florida.
It’s hard to imagine, but Florida has actually seen its fair share of snow! I personally haven’t seen it, but I knew it would be in Northern Florida.
Let’s look at the most Florida snow in a 24-hour period.
The most snow ever recorded in Florida was 4″ in Santa Rosa way back in 1954.
A few years later, the 1958 snow storm produced 3″ of snow in Jasper, Monticello, and Niceville FL.
Here’s the complete table showing the most snow ever recorded in history:
|MILTON EXP STN
|MONTICELLO 5 SE
|ST MARKS 5 SSE
|QUINCY EXP STN
|PENSACOLA RGNL AP
|PANAMA CITY 2
|BLOUNTSTOWN 2 SE
|MARIANNA MUNI AP
|DE FUNIAK SPRINGS 1 E
Preparing for Cold Weather in Florida
If you are moving to Central/North Florida location, you may want to consider having plans for cold snaps in the winter—especially in Northern Florida.
You want to make sure not to get rid of all of your winter clothes before you move. The farther north you live in Florida, the more likely you’ll need warmer clothing.
Check our recent blog on what to bring and what to leave behind when moving to Florida.
Things to consider around your home with freezing temperatures
- Draft-Proof Your Home: Hey, make sure those windows and doors are sealed tight. You don’t want the cold breeze sneaking in!
- Check Your Heating: Give your heating system a quick check-up. It’s better to find out it needs fixing on a mild day than a cold one.
- Have an Emergency Kit: Stock up on essentials like blankets, flashlights, and maybe some extra batteries. It’s like camping, but at home!
- Warm Clothes on Standby: Dig out those rarely used sweaters and cozy socks. It’s their time to shine.
- Protect Your Pipes: Wrap them up to prevent freezing. Think of it like putting a scarf on your pipes.
- Emergency Contacts: Keep a list handy. You never know when you might need it.
Things to consider outside your home with freezing temperatures
- Check for Drafts in Outdoor Structures: Just like your home, ensure that sheds and other outdoor structures are draft-proof.
- Insulate Outdoor Pipes: Wrap any exposed pipes to prevent freezing and potential damage.
- Garden and Plant Care:
- Cover Vulnerable Plants: Use frost cloths or burlap to protect sensitive plants from the cold.
- Skip Watering Plants: Frozen plants are a recipe for disaster.
- Bring Potted Plants Indoors: If possible, move potted plants inside or into a sheltered area.
- Secure Loose Items: Cold weather can bring windy conditions. Secure or store outdoor furniture and decorations.
- Clear Gutters and Drains: Ensure they are free from debris to prevent water buildup and potential ice formation.
- Have salt on hand: A small bag of driveway/sidewalk salt can help to melt frozen ice quickly
Combining these indoor and outdoor preparations will ensure both your home and yard are well-protected during those rare cold weather moments in Florida.
So, there you have it – our insider’s guide to handling those occasional cold snaps in sunny Florida.
Whether you’re in Miami, Orlando, or up in Gainesville, it’s clear that Florida’s weather is as diverse as its landscape.
From avoiding frostbite during the historic Tallahassee snowball fight of 1899 to just needing a light sweater in Miami’s coolest winters, Florida’s weather is full of surprises.
Remember, a little bit of preparation can go a long way. Stay warm and enjoy everything this beautiful state has to offer, regardless of the season!