According to the National Weather Service, Tampa just experienced its hottest month on record. Climate data, such as temperature, precipitation, and trends, began being collected in Tampa beginning in 1890. July of 2023 clocked an average temperature of 86.5 F, making it the hottest month on record for the city of Tampa since at least 1890. July is the hottest month of the year in Tampa and the Tampa Bay region. This year, the temperatures were stubbornly high due to a persistent west wind that kept storms from forming along the natural sea breeze boundaries. A lack of rain prevented regular afternoon cooling from occurring beneath large storm clouds. The data has to be confirmed by the National Weather Service before it can be officially logged into the record books.
The hottest month of the year is not determined by average daytime highs or the average high temperature. Instead, the temperatures are compiled by taking the average overall temperature in a 24-hour period. That includes both high and low temperatures. That means that the 86.5 F number is the average temperature for a 24-hour period which is often much lower than the daytime high but considerably warm when you realize that this includes the hours when the sun is not shining.
Five Hottest Months In Tampa History
If 2023 remains the hottest month on record, it will edge out the second-hottest month on record, which occurred in 2022. This will mark a concerning trend of persistent hot weather. Here are the five hottest months in Tampa's history according to climate data kept by the National Weather Service.
1. July 2023 (86.5 F)
2. July 2022 (86.3 F)
3. August 2022 (85.6 F) TIE
4. June 1998 (85.6 F) TIE
5. July 2020 (85.5 F)
Trends and Regional Comparison
Recent trends have pointed to hotter summer patterns in Tampa. Four of the top five hottest months on record have been recorded since 2020. Such temperature trends are concerning, and experts point to climate change as the culprit for such record-breaking heat. However, Tampa seems to be getting hotter than the surrounding region. This can be attributed to a couple of different factors. First, Tampa has been growing extremely quickly. More construction means more potential to trap heat in the urban areas of Tampa's city center. More people also mean more roads, more cars, and less shade. Second, Tampa is surrounded by water on multiple sides. As water temperatures rise around Tampa, it will prevent temperatures from falling as quickly. Water temperatures have reached record levels around Florida this summer.
If you look at the temperature data from nearby cities like Brooksville (north of Tampa) or Fort Myers (south of Tampa), you see a different trend. Brooksville's hottest months are primarily found between 1927 and 1930. The recent heave wave in nearby Tampa has not affected those numbers. Similarly, in Fort Myers, the hottest months came in 1981 and 1979. This shows that Tampa's warming could be connected to more than simply the air temperature.
Tampa continues to set temperature records as the mercury remains stubbornly high. A combination of westerly winds, development, and record high water temperatures have kept the city of Tampa sweltering for the second year in a row. The two hottest months on record were logged in 2022 and 2023. Hopefully, the city will get some relief in the future, but experts are not confident.