Most people know what the weather is like in Florida. In the summer it’s hot and it rains every afternoon. In the winter it’s a very pleasant place to visit. Sometime during the late summer or fall, a hurricane will hit the state. However, the climate of the state isn’t that simple to categorize.
The northern two-thirds of the peninsula, bounded on a rough line from Sarasota to Port Saint Lucie, is considered a subtropical climate, while the southern third and the Florida Keys are a tropical climate. During the winter months daily high temperatures range from the upper 60s in the northern panhandle to the 80s in the south. Although western states statistically have more sunny days each year, Florida has gained a well-deserved reputation as the Sunshine State with two of every three days being clear or partly cloudy. Throughout the summer, high temperatures generally hit the 90s statewide. The peninsula’s proximity to the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico help contribute to the energy-sapping high humidity for which the state is known in the summer.
The peninsula experiences a monsoon-like season every year between June and September. Much of this moisture comes from afternoon thunderstorms, although tropical systems do play a role too. Statistics show that at least one tropical storm or hurricane has a chance of hitting some portion of the state each year.
Tornadoes are just as much of a risk in Florida. The state has the most tornadoes per square mile in the US, but since the storms are usually weaker than those seen in the Plains or Midwest, property loss and injuries or death are lower. Florida also has the highest number of lightning strikes per square mile, thanks to its thunderstorms and tropical systems.
Snowfall in Florida is rare, but not unheard of. The panhandle area of Tallahassee and Jacksonville has reported snow on a number of different occasions, such as during the March 1993 Superstorm. A trace of snow was reported in Homestead, south of Miami, during January 1977.