Temperature Extremes

Temperature Extremes
Posted on 01/18/2017


Though Florida is known as the Sunshine State, it could also qualify as the “Hot State.” Each summer, numerous tourists come from all over the world to enjoy the warm weather and sunny beaches, but most are unaware of just how hot it can get in Florida.

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, the state is always influenced by tropical moisture, especially in the summer. When hot temperatures combine with high humidity, our bodies feel like it is hotter than it really is since the increased moisture in the air limits our body’s ability to cool off through sweating. This is called the Heat Index. When the heat index reaches higher than 105 degrees F, conditions can become dangerous for both people and animals. A person can experience heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heatstroke that may result in death if exposed to these conditions for a long period of time. When the combination of heat and humidity causes the heat index to reach dangerous levels, the National Weather service will issue Heat Advisories and Warnings.

DID YOU KNOW???The hottest temperature ever recorded in Florida was 109 degrees Fahrenheit on June 29, 1931, in Monticello. Also, in 2010, a heat index of 124 degrees was observed at the Apalachicola Airport.

To help protect yourself against the hot summer heat, make sure to wear lightweight and light-colored clothing. Try to avoid doing or scheduling outdoor events during the hottest parts of the day (usually 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.). Drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic beverages. Check on the elderly, young children and animals during periods of prolonged heat. Apply sunscreen before exposure to the sun.

Though many people head south to escape the cold temperatures in the winter, it isn’t always warmer in Florida. There have been numerous severe cold outbreaks that have affected the state with below freezing temperatures and strong winds that produce bitterly cold wind chills. Strong winds can also make the air “feel” colder than it really is by removing the heat from our skin that our bodies generate. This is called the Wind Chill. Like high heat, very cold temperatures can also endanger humans. The National Weather Service will issue Wind Chill Advisories/ Watches/Warnings, Freeze Watches/ Warnings, Hard Freeze watches/warnings, and Frost Advisories if cold weather will threaten an area.

DID YOU KNOW??? The coldest temperature recorded in Florida was -2 degrees (2 degrees below 0) Fahrenheit in Tallahassee on Feb.13, 1899.


Floridians should remember the "Five P's" of cold weather safety. The “5 P’s” are: Protecting People, Protecting Plants, Protecting Pets, Protect Exposed Pipes, and Practice Fire Safety.

To prepare yourself from the bitter cold, stay indoors and use a safe heating source. Make sure to use space heaters according to their instructions, and be attentive to open flames. Do not use charcoal or other fuel-burning devices, such as grills that produce carbon monoxide. When outdoors, stay dry and in wind protected areas and wear multiple layers of loose-fitting, warm clothing.

Also, be aware of sensitive plants and animals. Bring in potted plants and drape a blanket, sheet or tarp over plants in the ground. Pets are just as susceptible to the cold as people are. Bring all domesticated pets indoors or at least provide shelter for animals with a closed door to keep out the wind. Make sure the shelter is clean, dry, and well insulated with straw, wood shavings or a blanket. Pet stores sell heated bowls to resist water freezing. Be sure to have extra food as outdoor animals require more calories in the winter to generate energy to ward off the cold. Horses and other livestock need a windbreak, cover, warm bedding, abundant high-quality feed, and fresh water, too.

For more information on temperature hazards and wildfires and what you can do to protect yourself and others can be found at http://www.weather.gov/om/heat/index.shtml and www.FloridaDisaster.org.