The heat and humidity are no stranger to Floridians. Heat index values exceeding 100 degrees occur all the time during the summer months. This is largely due to the Florida humidity.

Did you know that Tampa has never officially reached 100 degrees in recorded history? Records for the Tampa Area date back to 1890.

This tidbit may come as a surprise to many. We hear “how can that be? My car read 100 degrees yesterday!”  In fact, we tend to receive pictures of car thermometer readings above 100 degrees every summer. It is known that car thermometers and bank thermometers read a bit warm.

So what is the warmest temperature recorded in Tampa? That would be 99 degrees and it has only happened once in recorded history. The date was June 5, 1985.

The temperature gauge for Tampa sits at Tampa International Airport. It is the official reporting site for Tampa Bay.

Here’s a few reasons why it’s very hard to reach 100 degrees in Tampa:

  • Daily afternoon sea breeze
  • Afternoon clouds and thunderstorms
  • Humid air mass

Just about every afternoon, a sea breeze develops off the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay and it moves inland. This is a cooler air mass that moves in and cools our area down each afternoon.

The sea breeze is also responsible for producing afternoon showers and thunderstorms. The afternoon clouds limit the heating from the sun. In addition, afternoon storms cool down the area with rain cooled air.

Another major contributor to the lack of a 100 degree temperature day is the humidity. It takes a lot of energy to warm and cool a humid air mass versus a dry air mass. That’s why our temperatures don’t fall quickly overnight like areas in the desert. It’s also why we don’t see as much of a daily temperature swing this time of year compared to that of the winter.

There are a few cities in the Bay Area that have reached 100 degrees or more.

  • St. Petersburg reached its record high of 100 degrees during the years of 1985, 1995 and 2011.
  • Sarasota reached its record high of 101 degrees a few times; 1971, 1972, and 2007.
  • Lakeland reached its all-time record high of 105 degrees back in 1985.

It is very possible that Tampa will officially reach 100 degrees. The question is will 2020 be the year? Time will tell.