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Tampa is on track for record-breaking heat

Sun shines against a blue sky.
Current trends indicate this may be the hottest May in Florida history.

Temperatures across the greater Tampa Bay region are on the rise and expected to stay that way into the rainy season.

The Tampa Bay area is experiencing above-average temperatures this month — and that’s not likely to change any time soon.

As of mid-May, the average daily temperature has been on pace to be one of the hottest ever recorded.

“We are running above normal,” said Paul Close, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay Area office. “The overnight lows have been higher than normal compared to the high temperatures; there's been bigger spreads. But the average for the month so far for the first 21 days is 82 degrees, which is tied with 1995.”

This average is around three degrees warmer than past monthly normals for May recorded by the Weather Service.

Current forecasts also show that theheat will likely stay elevated through August, according to the Service's three-month outlooks.

A map of the United States shows predicted temperature outlooks for the country from June to August of 2024
National Weather Service
National Weather Service
The National Weather Service issues monthly seasonal temperature outlooks. This graph shows the likelihood of above or below average temperatures from June to August.

However, unlike last year’s lack of rain, this year is predicted to be a wetter season with more storm activity.

“We’re expecting [an] above normal hurricane season,” Close said. “So if there’s more tropical systems, there’s more potential for widespread rains.”

This is due to the presence of the La Niña climate pattern that’s forming, bringing with it tropical storm and hurricane activity that fuels much of Florida’s typical rainfall.

“We tend to really start seeing [rain] the second week of June,” Close said. “When you start seeing the storms off the coast in the morning going into work, that's a good sign that summer has arrived.”

A map of the continental United States shows predicted precipitation patterns from June to August of 2024.
National Weather Service
National Weather Service
The NWS issues rain prediction maps monthly. The above map shows 2024 predictions through August.

Close added that while conditions have been abnormally dry, that’s common for this time of year.

“April and May are usually pretty dry,” Close said. “This is pretty normal.”

Headed into the Memorial Day weekend, Florida residents can expect more heat, with daily highs in the low-to-mid 90s.

“It’s going to be pretty warm again,” Close said. “We definitely have a chance at the warmest May.”

Tyler Luginski is a WUSF Rush Family Radio News intern for the summer of 2024.