Florida experiences two distinct climatic zones: warm temperate climate in the north and tropical in the south. This said, the Sunshine State as Florida is known for plenty of sunshine and warm weather the year round. The rainy season runs from June to September – these are the months when the state is most vulnerable to tropical hurricanes. Thunderstorms lead to several lightening-strike deaths throughout the state. Florida is also one of the most tornado-prone states in the USA.
Summers are hot and humid, with 70% humidity or more and temperatures averaging in the high 80s to mid-90s (30-35°C) during June, July, and August. Thunderstorms that appear during these months do little to alleviate the heat and humidity. During mid-summer, dust emanating from Africa affects the state, thereby decreasing the quality of air.
Between October and May, fronts regularly sweep through the state which keeps conditions dry, particularly over the peninsula. Towards the end of the dry season in the spring, Florida witnesses several brush fires.
The winter months are the time when the El Nino climate cycle exists. The rainfall increases while temperatures fall. In North Florida, there may be snow and sleet as early as November and as late as April though this is uncommon.
North Florida is usually sunny the year round. During the summers, the temperature high range from 85° to 95° and in winter the range is from 60° to 75°. Summers in the north are milder than in the south. The region witnesses extreme temperatures outside these ranges but only on rare occasions. On an average, there are many rainy days throughout north Florida with many thunderstorms, some quite severe. The North Central stretch of Florida is also known as the lightening capital of the United States. Showers that generally arrive in the form of thunderstorms do little to alleviate the heat and humidity.
South Florida is subtropical and balmy throughout the year. The factors which influence the climate of South Florida are latitude and numerous inland lakes. The proximity of this region to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico also effects the climate. The winter temperatures are greatly affected by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. Summers are warm and humid. Surrounded by warm water, Florida rarely gets cold, even in winter, and the sun is almost always shining. Daytime highs rarely get below the mid 70’s even in the coolest months of December, January and February.
Florida has the sunniest winter climate in the eastern United States and the highest average January temperatures in the nation. Daytime temperature highs range in mid 70’s even in the coolest months of December, January and February. Central Florida has high temperatures for the same three months ranging between 72 and 74° F. However, the nights get cooler and temperature drops into the 50’s and occasionally lower are not unheard of. During the summers, the temperature high range from 85° to 100° and in winter the range is from 60° to 75°. Summers in the north are milder than in the south.
The rainfall in Florida varies in seasonal distribution and location. The north western counties and the south eastern end of the peninsula region are areas of high annual rainfall. Some localities in these areas may receive as much as 100 inches in a calendar year while most other localities are likely to receive less than 40 inches during a calendar year. Florida has two distinct wet periods: late winter or early spring and again during summer. The only low point is from October through November. There is close to a 50-50 chance that some rain will fall during any given day in the summer “rainy season.”
Florida has a history with hurricanes. The tropics and westerly winds blowing off the African coasts along the equator make it vulnerable. More storms hit Florida than any other state in the USA. On an average, at least one named storm makes landfall in Florida every season. Some areas of Florida are as susceptible to hurricanes as the Caribbean islands. In fact, the chances of Miami being hit by a hurricane are higher than anywhere in the Caribbean. The period from June to November is the hurricane season in Florida.
Best time to visit Florida
In north Florida, the high season is during the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The reverse is true for South Florida where the high season is winters. However, if you can stand the heat and humidity and the daily rainstorms of a South Florida summer between June and early September, you will be rewarded with incredible bargains. The best time to visit is from September to November when the hottest days are gone and the crowds have thinned out. The hurricane season is from June to November but the National Weather Service closely tracks the storms and gives ample warning if there’s need to evacuate coastal areas.