Weather in Florida
The southern US state of Florida lives up to its sobriquet of being “The Sunshine State”, boasting ideal holiday weather. The northern and central parts of the state experience a warm temperate climate, while in the south conditions are tropical.
Despite a preponderance of sunshine all year round, Florida has a rainy season between June and September, when it is prone to thunderstorms, tropical storms, cyclones and tornadoes. In mid-summer there is the risk of dust storms blowing in from Africa.
During the height of summer (June, July and August) the tropical south of Florida can become very hot and sticky, with high humidity. It rains almost every day between late spring and early autumn throughout Florida, but the precipitation is mainly in the form of thunderstorms which are short and sharp, only temporarily impacting a hot, sunny day.
The winter months (from early November to late May) are much drier and cooler, and in the north frost is possible during the mid-winter months of January and February. Snow is almost unheard of in Florida, though it has been known as a freak weather event in the Panhandle region in the north.
The State’s Atlantic coastline, and the Gulf of Mexico, together with its many inland bodies of water, are responsible for the relatively high humidity and heavy rainfall. Miami, for instance, averages 130 rainy days a year. The incidence of rain varies greatly year on year, however, and overall it is sunny most of the time.
Compensation for the wet interludes is the fact that Florida is very warm. Average annual temperatures range from 18°C to 21°C (65°F to 70°F) in the north to between 23°C to 25°C (74°F to 77°F) in the south. Down on the Florida Keys the town of Key West has the highest annual average temperature of anywhere in the United States, at 25.7°C (78.2°F).
When is the best time to go to Florida?
High season in south Florida is during the winter months, between December and March, when visitors from the northern states flock into the Sunshine State to enjoy the warm, dry weather. In north Florida, which is cooler and drier all year round, the best weather is to be had in the summer between June and early September, when the south is awash with rain storms and too hot for comfort.
Take note that there is the risk of hurricanes and tropical storms between June and November along the Florida coast, and that the US bank holidays, such as Easter, Memorial Day, 4th July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, are extremely busy times, particularly at the Orlando and Tampa themed attractions.
For some excellent holiday deals consider the shoulder seasons of spring (April/May) and autumn (September/October/November) when the heat is moderate and conditions pleasant.
What to pack for a holiday in Florida
Fashion in Florida has two sides to it– casual and elegant; while some go purely for comfort, the who's who in Miami are famous for their dress-to-impress style. The most important caveat is that its likely visitors will be doing a lot of walking – whether at Disney World or around Miami – so, comfortable walking shoes and trainers are vital. In addition, it does rain unexpectedly, so take along a light raincoat or umbrella and carry it around; and don't forget to take plenty of sunscreen, sunglasses and hats, as well as a light covering for the beach, perhaps a sarong or a loose long sleeved shirt.
For most people, T-shirts and shorts are all the rage every summer, and something warm will help on cool evenings. However, the nightlife scene is one of the best in the states, where a little style goes a long way, so it’s advisable to take something smart for a special night out.
Weather in Florida in January
Average temperature in Florida in January: 19°C, 66°F
Sea temperature in Florida in January: 22°C, 72°F
Average rainfall in Florida in January: 52mm, 2in
Note: January is regarded as the coldest month of the year in Florida, and it can be decidedly chilly in the far north of the state. The south, though, remains toasty and warm, perfect for sunbathing and sea bathing. It is also one of the Sunshine State’s driest months, so no fear of having holiday fun dampened.
Weather in Florida in February
Average temperature in Florida in February: 20°C, 68°F
Sea temperature in Florida in February: 22°C, 72°F
Average rainfall in Florida in February: 47mm, 1.9in
Note: Southern Florida is extremely pleasant during February with warm weather, low humidity and low rainfall. The north, however, can be very chilly with frosty conditions. The Orlando theme parks are very crowded during this month.
Events: Enjoy a host of events, such as the Florida State Fair, Strawberry Festival, Silver Spurs Rodeo and the Florida Renaissance Festival.
Weather in Florida in March
Average temperature in Florida in March: 22°C, 71°F
Sea temperature in Florida in March: 23°C, 73°F
Average rainfall in Florida in March: 53mm, 2.3in
Note: Spring is in the air in Florida in March, which means temperatures creep up slightly, but the rainy season is yet to set in so visitors pack the beaches and attractions.
Events: In honour of spring Walt Disney World holds its annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, boasting 30 million blooms.
Weather in Florida in April
Average temperature in Florida in April: 24°C, 74°F
Sea temperature in Florida in April: 25°C, 75°F
Average rainfall in Florida in April: 99mm, 3.5in
Note: Florida heats up considerably in April, particularly in the southern area and the Florida Keys, but the incidence of rain increases too. There is still plenty of sunshine to be enjoyed between the odd thundershowers.
Events: It’s time to go to the movies in Florida in April, with celebrities making a showing at the Palm Beach International Film Festival in the first week of the month, and the Florida Film Festival on the go in Orlando.
Weather in Florida in May
Average temperature in Florida in May: 26°C, 78°F
Sea temperature in Florida in May: 27°C, 81°F
Average rainfall in Florida in May: 164mm, 6.5in
Note: Down on the Florida Keys temperatures rise and rainstorms become more frequent, but as one moves north in Florida it becomes drier and cooler. Officially, tourist season in Florida comes to an end in May, but this means that there are bargains to be had for Florida holidays.
Weather in Florida in June
Average temperature in Florida in June: 27°C, 81°F
Sea temperature in Florida in June: 29°C, 81°F
Average rainfall in Florida in June: 187mm, 7.4in
Note: Water becomes an attractive option for visitors to Florida in June, as the state begins to swelter in the summer heat and the frequency of rain showers increases, along with their density. June marks the start of the hurricane season, so check weather forecasts before travelling to Florida.
Weather in Florida in July
Average temperature in Florida in July: 28°C, 82°F
Sea temperature in Florida in July: 30°C, 86°F
Average rainfall in Florida in July: 171mm, 6.7in
Note: July is high season in Florida, because school’s out in north America and families swell the lines at the theme parks and water parks, and flock to enjoy Independence Day fireworks. The heat index soars as temperatures hit the highs, the daily thunderstorms offering little relief from the sticky conditions.
Weather in Florida in August
Average temperature in Florida in August: 28°C, 82°F
Sea temperature in Florida in August: 30°C, 86°F
Average rainfall in Florida in August: 177mm, 7in
Note: Tropical storm activity reaches its peak during August along the coast of Florida, so it is wise to keep watch on the weather forecast. High temperatures, frequent thunderstorms and soaring humidity levels combine to make conditions uncomfortable, but this does not deter the millions of holiday-makers who flock to Florida in August to enjoy what is historically one of the most crowded months of the year, particularly at the theme parks.
Weather in Florida in September
Average temperature in Florida in September: 28°C, 82°F
Sea temperature in Florida in September: 29°C, 84°F
Average rainfall in Florida in September: 241mm, 9.5in
Note: The heat and humidity begins to dip slightly in Florida in September, but it is only really noticeable at night, when conditions become pleasantly cool. Rain continues to be abundant, but it is a good month to visit the theme parks when the summer crowds have dissipated.
Weather in Florida in October
Average temperature in Florida in October: 26°C, 78°F
Sea temperature in Florida in October: 27°C, 81°F
Average rainfall in Florida in October: 209mm, 8.2in
Note: Halloween is ushered in in Florida with warm, wet days and sultry evenings during October, when the north coast grows cool (chilly at night) and in the south it can be still be steamy. Take in the Fall food festivals and stick around for the theme parks’ Halloween howlers.
Weather in Florida in November
Average temperature in Florida in November: 23°C, 73°F
Sea temperature in Florida in November: 25°C, 77°F
Average rainfall in Florida in November: 72mm, 2.8in
Note: Arts and crafts festivals pervade Florida in November, ahead of the festive season, as temperatures fall to moderate levels and the dry season sets in. It’s a great month for fun in the sun on the beaches of central and southern Florida.
Weather in Florida in December
Average temperature in Florida in December: 20°C, 68°F
Sea temperature in Florida in December: 23°C, 73°F
Average rainfall in Florida in December: 42mm, 1.7in
Note: December is Florida’s driest month, with corresponding low humidity and temperatures that keep conditions pleasantly mild (except in the north of the State where it is frosty and chilly). Sunshine and smiles are the order of the days as the festive season approaches and crowds converge on the theme parks for special presentations in the early part of the month.