Florida - Climate



A mild, sunny climate is one of Florida's most important natural resources, making it a major tourist center and a retirement home for millions of transplanted northerners. Average annual temperatures range from 65° to 70°F (18° to 21°C) in the north, and from 74° to 77°F (23° to 25°C) in the southern peninsula and on the Keys. At Jacksonville, the average annual temperature is 68°F (20°C); the average low is 57°F (14°C), the average high 79°F (26°C). At Miami, the annual average is 76°F (24°C), with a low of 69°F (21°C) and a high of 83°F (28°C). Key West has the highest annual average temperature in the US, at 78.2°F (25.7°C). The record high temperature, 109°F (43°C), was registered at Monticello on 29 June 1931; the record low, –2°F (–19°C), at Tallahassee on 13 February 1899.

Florida's proximity to the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, and the state's many inland lakes and ponds, together account for the high humidity and generally abundant rainfall, although precipitation can vary greatly from year to year and serious droughts have occurred. At Jacksonville, the average annual precipitation (1971–2000) was 52.3 in (132.8 cm), with an average of 116 days of precipitation a year. At Miami during the same period, precipitation averaged 58.5 in (148.6 cm), with 130 rainy days a year. Rainfall is unevenly distributed throughout the year, more than half generally occurring from June through September; periods of extremely heavy rainfall are common. The highest 24-hour total ever recorded in the US, 38.7 in (98.3 cm), fell at Yankeetown, west of Ocala on the Gulf coast, on 5–6 September 1950. Despite the high annual precipitation rate, the state also receives abundant sunshine—61% of the maximum possible at Jacksonville, and 68% at Miami. Snow is virtually unheard of in southern Florida but does fall on rare occasions in the panhandle and the northern peninsula.

Winds are generally from the east and southeast in the southern peninsula; in northern Florida, winds blow from the north in winter, bringing cold snaps, and from the south in summer. Average wind velocities are 7.9 mph (12.7 km/hr) at Jacksonville and 9.2 mph (14.8 km/hr) at Miami. Florida's long coastline makes it highly vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms, which may approach from either the Atlantic or the Gulf coast, bringing winds of up to 150 mph (240 km/hr). Hurricane Donna, which struck the state 9–10 September 1960, and until 1992 was considered the most destructive in Florida's history, caused an estimated $300 million in damage. On 23–24 August 1992, Hurricane Andrew caused over $10 billion in damage in Florida, making it the most costly insured disaster in US history. In addition to hurricanes and tropical storms, tornadoes and waterspouts are not uncommon in Florida.



Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search


All US cities
Florida bigger cities, Florida smaller cities, Florida small cities
Florida detailed state guide