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July was Tampa's hottest month for the second year in a row

July was Earth's hottest month and it brought record high temperatures to the greater Tampa Bay region for the second year in a row.
Carl Lisciandrello
/
WUSF Public Media
July was Earth's hottest month and it brought record high temperatures to the greater Tampa Bay region for the second year in a row.

The average temperature in July reached 86.5 degrees, breaking the previous record of 86.3 degrees set last July.

July was Earth's hottest month and it brought record high temperatures to the greater Tampa Bay region for the second year in a row.

The rise in temperature is not surprising, but it is concerning, said Paul Close, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

"It's always warm, it's summer, it's Florida," Close said. "But we've had some extremes recently in the last few years."

Tampa's average temperature in July soared to 86.5 degrees, beating last year's record of 86.3.

The normal average temperature, calculated every 10 years by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), should be 83.8 degrees.

Close said changing weather patterns are making it hard for the area to cool down.

The summer has been marked by extreme heat and drought. According to temperature records that begin in 1890, it was Tampa's ninth driest July.

There was about 2.84 inches of rain, nearly five inches below the normal 7.75 inches for the month.

Close said winds from the west and southwest have also pushed the storms that pass through more inland at earlier times in the day.

"There was storms but they were all inland further away from the coast," Close said.

Typically, The Tampa Bay area should experience more wind coming from the east and southeast, which would interact with the sea breeze, leading to the area's afternoon and evening storms.

"This summer, the pattern has been the opposite," Close said, "We're getting these west, southwest winds. We get morning and midday storms ... And then by mid afternoon, stuff moves away and the sun comes back out and we heat up again. So we don't cool off like we usually would."

Meanwhile, St. Petersburg had its second hottest July, the fourth hottest month on record for the city.

graph showing temperature rise in tampa from the NWS
Courtesy
/
Tampa Bay National Weather Service
Since 1891, the mean average temperature in Tampa rose 2.5 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
graph showing temperature change in St. Leo from NWS
Courtesy
/
Tampa Bay National Weather Service
The average annual temperature at St. Leo in Paso County has increased by about 2 degrees since 1902

Tampa's temperatures have increased by about 2.5 degrees over the last century.

Urbanization, or the transformation of rural land to cities, has contributed to this rise in temperature, said Close, as greenery is developed into hard surfaces.

The average annual temperature in St. Leo, a less urbanized city in Pasco County, has warmed 2 degrees since 1902.

In the coming weeks, the National Weather Service predicts similar weather patterns leading to above normal average temperatures.

As WUSF's general assignment reporter, I cover a variety of topics across the greater Tampa Bay region.