TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — If you thought this summer felt hotter than normal — it was.

The Tampa International Airport location recorded the warmest meteorological summer – June, July and August – with an average temperature of 85.7°.

It wasn’t just Tampa that was warmer this summer. Plant City also recorded it’s warmest summer on record ever. Brooksville and Winter Haven experienced their second-warmest summers on record. Lakeland’s summer was the third-warmest on record.

Meanwhile, St. Petersburg wasn’t quite that hot – the city’s summer was the seventh-warmest in history. Sarasota and Venice both recorded their eighth-warmest summers.

August was also unusually warm – the average temperature for the month was 85.6°. That makes it the warmest August on record for Tampa. When you consider all of the months, this August was the third warmest month overall for Tampa.

The Tampa area saw a record number of days when temperatures topped out at 95° – we heated up to that point 25 days this year.

Looking back over the last eight months, the average temperature for Tampa is 77.7°, making it the warmest eight consecutive months for Tampa.

Tampa’s record-setting heat this summer.

Why so warm?

Our overnight temperatures have been above average all season. There are several contributing factors to the warmer-than-normal overnight temperatures.

  • On days that we do get rain, temperatures do not cool down as much.
  • When we see overall winds out of the southwest, it is a warmer overnight breeze. The winds are coming off of the Gulf, which is in the 90s, so that warm breeze keeps our overnight temperatures in the low 80s.
  • We saw higher-than-normal levels of Saharan Dust, with dry air keeping us from getting much rain.
  • On days we did see southwesterly winds, we were unusually dry, especially our inland counties.
  • More so than previous summers, we saw a persistent easterly flow, which delays our sea breeze from developing.
  • The sea breeze cools us as it moves inland; so a later start due to stronger easterly flow means warmer temperatures.
  • The sea breeze is also a catalyst for storms; later sea breeze means later storms, which mean warmer temperatures.

While it may not seem significant to be 0.9° warmer, it is actually quite unusual to set a new record by that large of a margin.

According to the National Weather Service of Tampa Bay, climate change plays a role, but is not completely responsible for the warm summer.

Is this a product of climate change? Yes and no:

Yes

  • Average annual temperature for Tampa has increased by 2.5°F since records began in 1891
  • On average, urbanized areas of West Central and Southwest Florida have seen an increase of 2.5° to 3.0°F over the last century
  • Increases are consistent with the global rise in temperature over the last century

No

  • Seasonal weather patterns have played a role (i.e. placement of sub-seasonal high pressure known as the subtropical ridge)
  • Rainfall has been occurring later on many days at Tampa this summer due to flow
  • La Niña is contributing (can be warmer, sometimes drier, for us)
  • The area has urbanized; persistent easterly flow brings warmer air from the city westward to the airport; see the Urbanization & Climate Map for more info

Stay weather aware on the go with the free Max Defender 8 Weather app. You can also sign up to get daily forecast newsletters and weather alert emails sent to your inbox.