Dry Valleys, Antarctica: Researchers call the area a polar desert with year-round temperatures averaging near freezing. (NOAA)
Most of us assume that countries with sunny beach cities and deserts have never seen snow in modern history, but you may be surprised to find out that a tropical island has seen snow more recently than an area of Antarctica.
Here is a list of some places around the globe that have not seen snow.
Dry Valleys, Antarctica:
Dry Valleys, Antarctica: Researchers call the area a polar desert with year-round temperatures averaging near freezing. (NOAA) ( )
While most of Antarctica is covered in ice and snow, the Dry Valleys stand out in stark contrast.
Researchers call the area a polar desert with year-round temperatures averaging near freezing. The mercury has dropped as low as 90 below, which holds very little moisture that is needed for snow.
So if any precipitation did fall, it would likely be as snow. But, the mile-high Transantarctic Mountains guard the three valleys creating a precipitation shadow, according to a study published by the Cambridge University Press.
While 90 below air doesn’t hold much moisture, NOAA states that snow is rare but not impossible below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Any moisture from the ocean or the East Antarctic Ice Sheet would have to travel over the peaks. The atmosphere generally cools with altitude, and cool air can hold less moisture than warmer air. What little water vapor the atmosphere holds is wrung out over the mountain tops.
Glaciers fill the few valleys in the ranges. As the wind is forced up the windward side of mountains and the moisture condenses out, the air is drier. As gravity takes over and the air parcel sinks and accelerates on the lee side.
The physics are the same for California's warm and strong Santa Ana winds. Dry Valley winds can reach speeds up to 200 mph.
The dry air quickly evaporates any snow or rain in the air. In many cases, the snow sublimates in the intense dryness.
Cairo, Egypt: Local news reported snow in 2013 across the subtropical desert city, the first snow in a century, but the Farmer’s Almanac reported that the white stuff was soft hail, not snow. (Photo: Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images) ( )
Local news reported snow in 2013 across the subtropical desert city, the first snow in a century, but the Farmer’s Almanac reported that the white stuff was soft hail, not snow.
New Delhi, India:
New Delhi, India: The capital city saw frost in 2006, but no snow has ever been recorded. (Photo: Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images ) ( )
The capital city sees plenty of rain over the wet summers, but winter is the dry season.
The India Times reported that several residents woke up to a coating of snow in 2006 when the temperature fell to just shy of freezing. One school teacher woke her 5-year-old daughter to show her the phenomenon, but it actually ended up being frost.
Fiji: The record low in the nation of tropical islands did hit the freezing mark in 1965, but records show there's never been any snow. (Photo by Aileen Torres-Bennett/AFP via Getty Images) ( )
The record low in the nation of tropical islands did hit the freezing mark in 1965, reports Trading Economics. However, the country, as well as several of their South Pacific neighbors, has never seen snow, according to the WorldAtlas and the Farmer’s Almanac.
U.S Virgin Islands:
U.S. Virgin Islands: The lowest temperature ever recorded was 65 degrees in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which is too warm for snow. (Photo by: Marica van der Meer/ Arterra/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images) ( )
The lowest temperature ever recorded was 65 degrees in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which is too warm for snow.
In general, snow is nearly impossible for tropical areas below 23.5 degrees latitude. Although countries like Indonesia offer skiing at their highest elevations.
San Diego: The city has no official snow reports. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images) ( )
The city has no official snow reports. Historical records indicate areas around the California city tallying up inches of snow in 1882.
Extreme South Florida:
Miami: Snow has never been reported south of Miami in the Sunshine State. (Photo by Paul Harris/Getty Images)
Snow has never been reported south of Miami in the Sunshine State.
Even snowbirds who fled to Miami from northern cities have seen snow. It happened on one day only in 1977. The weather observer at the airport did not officially record any snowfall because the accumulation melted too fast. But, he did note, with an asterisk, that he received widespread reports of snow locally. The Bahamas saw snow on the same day/
Even the hottest place on Earth, Death Valley, California, has seen snow. In 1922, the area recorded a half-inch of snow. In 1913, a Weather Bureau thermometer registered 135 degrees.