41 years ago this month, something magical fell in South Florida

Forty-one years ago this month the atmosphere gave a frozen gift to South Floridians that many will never forget.

Snow fell.

From Tallahassee to Miami, flurries of white floated down, an event that amazed children and adults alike.

An unusual weather pattern – similar to what’s been driving the biting cold fronts through South Florida in recent weeks – turned the polar jet stream into a twisting river of powerful winds sweeping south over the warm Gulf of Mexico and into South Florida where climate history was made.

The front page weather story on Jan. 20, 1977 began like this: Record-shattering cold that created heavy snow flurries for the first time ever in Palm Beach County also caused a flurry of problems with crops freezing, schools closing, power failing and ducks dying.

It was the day before a peanut farmer would be inaugurated as the 39th president of the United States — a time before weather events were politicized, analyzed, dissected, sucked dry of magic and wonder.

In 1977, it was just snow in South Florida, and it was enchanting.

Previous to Jan. 19, 1977, the farthest south snow had been seen was along a line from Fort Myers to Fort Pierce in February 1899, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.

“I went outside to take an observation and I noticed these particles flying by. At first I thought they were bugs, but it was snow,” said Joe Vidulich, a 27-year-old meteorological technician at the federal weather office then stationed at PBIA. “I ran back inside so excited and my partner was sleeping in a chair. I said, ‘Wake up Bernie, it’s snowing.’ He said, ‘You must be drunk.'”

Read the full story and how local people remember the event at MyPalmBeachPost.com. 

Snowball fight on steps of Florida Capitol. Wikipedia

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