Frozen in Florida: Pensacola Ice Storm 2014


Full on panic mixed with the excitement of a Kindergartner is what happens when the residents of Pensacola, Florida are told there is snow in the forecast for the first time in over twenty years. For a solid week, every conversation, every post on Facebook, every tweet on Twitter included making a snowman, snow angels or upcoming plans to pelt someone with a snowball. After growing up in the Fort Lauderdale area,  then being transplanted to Fairbanks, Alaska with the Air Force, I’ve seen all the snow I’d ever want or need to see. I do have to admit though, watching everyone else’s excitement had me hoping to see at least a  few flurries. I really didn’t believe it was going to come to pass. This area of Florida is famous for weather predictions changing by the hour. The day before the storm hit, we were notified that school would be cancelled and the kids would have two snow days off. Snow days. In Florida. Unreal. Shelves began to empty fast. Gas station lines increased like a category 4 hurricane was on its way and we were doomed. For the record, hurricane parties are way more entertaining than frozen tundra parties but I digress…

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We waited…and waited….Rain finally started and soon after that came  the sleet. Lots of sleet. I sat watching out the window, wondering when the snow would fall. It was certainly cold enough. There’s not much this beach bum likes less than being both cold AND wet. All day long, ice hit my windows. Icicles began to form, but no snow. Reports that bridges were iced over and being shut down came in. A train carrying acid derailed, 17 cars were involved in a pile up. Ice and snow= disaster in the South. People have a difficult time driving in the rain as it is. Ice just makes it unbearable. Wind picked up and at 2am, it finally started to snow. Huge, beautiful snowflakes came down fast. In ten minutes, it was over. Sleet again.

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photo 2 When we opened the front door this morning, it was amazing. I’ve lived in Alaska and Maryland and have never witnessed anything quite like it. Everything in sight was completely encased in a layer of ice. Leaves, cars, shoes, grills, tables, chairs, mailboxes, street signs, everything. I looked down the street and giggled when I saw all of my neighbors trying to walk on the slick road, kind of like me attempting  to wear heels with the grace of a newborn calf. It was so cold, that within 5 minutes, everyone was back inside. So much for a snow day. We just don’t do this kind of weather. Take it back, snowbirds! Another deep freeze is expected tonight and school has been cancelled again. Temperatures are expected to be back to normal, in the 70s the day after tomorrow. That’s more like it. Pass the sunscreen and flip flops.

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Is it summer yet?

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  1. Karen says

    Love it!! great pics too! my hubby works at publix, and he was amazed how many people were in the store yesterday, just buying stupid stuff. Risking life and limb, literally due to the ice on the roads, for complete non-necessities!! Guess we don’t like anyone telling us we can’t go anywhere.

  2. Jeannie says

    Since I also am a transplant and have spent many winters in Maine and R.i I actually took the ice seriously and I do not mind bring cooped up at all. Except for missing my favorite exercise and I have YouTube for that now. Thanks for sharing this story and pictures

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