Climate & Time Zones

Florida Weather: Climatology

Florida's climate is affected by the ocean, its close proximity to the equator, and its low elevation. Florida's climate is dominated by the water surrounding it with the Atlantic Ocean on the East and the Gulf of Mexico on the West. The southern areas of Florida have a more tropical climate, being closer to the equator, while central and northern Florida is Sub-Tropical. Florida's high humidity makes the temperature seem hotter than the 90s in the state during the summer months. Summer is the rainy season with a good chance of afternoon thunderstorms. The peak of Hurricane season in Florida is in the mid to late summer months.

Seasons in Florida

When Floridians talk about seasons, it is typically Hurricane Season or Rainy Season or Dry Season! And while we may not share the same seasonal changes that northerners share, our seasons are just as important. The northern parts of Florida are not too different from the northern states except that the temperature ranges are not as great. South Florida is more tropical and has even less of a temperature range throughout the year.

Summer/Fall - Florida's longest season extending 6 months from about May thru October is also known as Florida's wet or rainy season. In Central and North Florida we typically start to feel a fall-like coolness and break from high humidity sometime toward the end of October. Some people do not realize it because Florida is abundant in trees that stay green all year long, but we do have deciduous trees in Central and Northern Florida that turn colors and loose their leaves this time of year. South Florida does not really have a Fall.

Winter/Spring - While some may not call our winters real winters, perhaps they are more like a winter/spring combination. This time of year is also known as Florida's dry season. Floridians at this time of year look forward to turning off their air conditioners and opening the windows from around November thru March/April and enjoying the dryer, cooler air and cool breezes. We still have many hotter days during this time (esp. in South Florida) and many colder days (esp. in Northern Florida). The expression, "April showers bring May flowers" was not written for Florida! April is one of the driest months of the year.
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Americans are accustomed to indoor heating during the cooler months. Temperatures range anywhere from 65º F to 78º F. In Florida, many public buildings and private homes are air-conditioned, with temperatures reaching as low as 65º F. You may find that your outdoor winter clothes are too heavy for indoor use in winter, and that your summer street attire is not warm enough indoors in air-conditioned situations. It helps to dress in layers, adding and subtracting clothing as necessary. Other useful items include blankets in winter, and if you do not have air-conditioning, a fan in summer.


Time Zones

There are four major time zones in the continental United States. Standard Time is differentiated from Daylight Savings Time. Daylight Savings Time is used between April and October of each year. In April, the clocks are set ahead one hour ("spring ahead") and in October, the clocks are moved back one hour, to Standard Time ("fall back"); this "saves" daylight hours so that it is lighter later into the evening during summer. Americans use "a.m." to designate morning and "p.m." for afternoon and evening, and generally do not use military time.