The climate of Florida is mild, warm and sunny which make the climate the most important natural resource of this state.
These climatic conditions make Florida the most sought after state for tourists and also aids in serving as a retirement home to many war veterans and retired civilians.
The climate of Florida changes as one moves from the North to the South of the state. North and Central Florida have humid sub tropical climates while South Florida has a tropical climate.
Summers all over Florida are long, warm, and very humid. Winters are mild with episodic invasion of cold air. Coastal Florida has average warm temperatures in winter and cooler degrees in the summer.
Florida is known as The Sunshine State due to its tropical and sub-tropical climate.
On an average, the temperatures of Florida during the winter season drop low to almost 40 °F at Tallahassee to 65 °F in Key West. However, the temperatures in the morning range from 64 °F at Tallahassee to 77 °F at Miami.
The Easterly winds flowing across southern Florida keep the temperatures moderate during the winter while the Gulf Stream helps modify the cooler air coming in from the east and the northeast. El Nino winters have a tendency to be cooler due to the augmented cloud cover. The lowest temperature recorded in the state of Florida was -2 °F (-18.9 °C) at Tallahassee in 1899.
The earliest official recording of snow occurred in 1774 and most recent occurrence of snow was recorded in the spring of January 2010. This brief period of snowfall brought in speckled snow along with freezing rain, particularly in the northern and central parts of the state.
The climate of Florida ranges from 70 °F in northern Florida to approximately 80 °F in Keys during the summers. The afternoon and evening thunderstorm activities and sea breezes off the cool oceans provide respite from the heat during the summer. The record high temperature for the state of Florida was recorded at Monticello in 1931 which was 109 °F.
As lightning strikes occur more frequently in the state than anywhere else in the country, Central Florida is known as the ‘Lightning Capital’ of the United States of America. It is one of the deadliest weather-related events in Florida and several human lives are lost due to the occurrence of this phenomenon.
Strong tornadoes rarely materialize in the state of Florida. However, these tornadoes are usually interspersed with cold frontal passages in the winter or spring and tend to be a lot weaker and short-term in the state as compared to other areas like the Midwest or Great Plains.
In Florida, the rainfall in the central and southern regions becomes plentiful when the Atlantic is in its warm phase. The droughts and wildfires are more common in the cool phase. Florida witnesses greater rainfall between the months of November and March. The heaviest rainfall on record occurred in Yankeetown during Hurricane Easy of 1950 which was 38.70 inches (98.3 cm).
The period from June 1 to November 30 is known as the ‘Hurricane Season,’ which poses a severe threat to human life. However, the months from August to October are highly susceptible to hurricanes. Florida is known to be a hurricane prone state, with subtropical or tropical waters on an extensive coastline. Florida has been struck by 114 hurricanes from 1851 to 2006 with 37 of them being in category 3 of the measuring scale.
Florida has winters enveloped in dense fog conditions like the rest of the Southeastern states of America. Contrasting the rest of the region, the outermost boundaries in Florida contain roughly half of the annual occurrences per year. Over the past several decades there has been no evident rise or decline in fog.