Located at the mouth of the Miami River on the lower east coast of Florida, Miami is bordered on the east by Biscayne Bay, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. Further east, the islands of Key Biscayne and Miami Beach shelter the bay from the Atlantic Ocean, thus providing Miami with a naturally protected harbor. Once pine and palmetto flatlands, the Miami area boasts sandy beaches in its coastal areas and gives way to sparsely wooded outlying areas. A man-made canal connects the city to Lake Okeechobee, located 90 miles northwest of Miami.
Miami's year-round semi-tropical climate is free of extremes in temperature, with a long, warm summer and abundant rainfall followed by a mild, dry winter. Summer humidity levels—usually in the 86 to 89 percent range during the day—make Miami the second most humid city in the United States. Hurricanes occasionally affect the area in September and October; tornadoes are rare. Waterspouts are sometimes sighted from the beaches in the summer, but significant damage seldom occurs.
Area: 36 square miles (2000)
Elevation: 12 feet above sea level
Average Temperatures: January, 68.1° F; July, 83.7° F; annual average, 76.7° F
Average Annual Precipitation: 58.53 inches