Clearwater Weather and Climate
Monthly Temperatures and Precipitation
|F = Fahrenheit; C = Celsius; IN = Inches; MM = Millimeters. Sources: National Climatic Data Center & National Oceanographic Data Center. From nearest NCDC/NODC reporting station St. Petersburg SE of Clearwater.|
Sub-tropical is the best description of our climate. Local weather in the summer is hot and steamy with lots of rain. Winters are usually very mild punctuated with some cold spells. Fall and Spring weather is usually awesome.
Average low temperatures are usually in the 60s (F) with highs in the 70s to 80s. An occasional cold/cool front still makes it this far south, but no longer brings really cold temperatures. Precipitation is generally low so this is a good season for outdoor activities. It is also a popular time (especially during spring breaks) for visitors to descend on our beaches and attractions. The Gulf water temperatures are warming up enough to swim in early spring and by late spring are very comfortable.
Hot, hot, hot - and steamy. Air conditioning becomes a way of life for locals and visitors. While still very popular, outdoor activities need to be paced and consideration to the heat becomes important.
Beaches are great and offer refreshing relief from the hot sun, but use of sunscreen is paramount. Also, by mid-summer in July and August, the Gulf water temperatures will reach 90 degrees (F), which is quite warm.
Theme parks are still fun, but by mid day, hydrating, walking in the shade where possible and taking advantage of indoor shows and rides are a good strategy. A slower pace with frequent visits to indoor air conditioned facilities is good strategy.
Storms - summer is rainy season and has a high frequency of thunderstorms. These can build rapidly and can sometimes be quite severe, so pay attention to weather when doing outdoor activities.
Fall (especially October and November) brings the "ahhh" to locals as the season gives way to milder temperatures and fewer thunderstorms. Outdoor activities for some are best during this season. Gulf water temperatures are still warm, but not hot, so swimming becomes very pleasant.
Cold fronts that are beginning to be experienced further north, usually have little impact here. Less rain also means less disruption to outdoor activities.
Winter in Florida is a mix of mostly mild, with occasional quite cold and sometimes quite warm periods. Many visitors travel, or relocate for the season, to Florida to escape the much colder northern climates.
Cold fronts do make it this far south and can bring much cooler weather (and often rain) for a few days. Afterwards, the weather returns to usual seasonal awesome mild!
Weather in "paradise" sometimes has a dark side. In Florida, this dark side is called a hurricane. The warm waters of summer in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico breed tropical storms, which sometimes strengthen into hurricanes.
Fortunately, many Atlantic hurricanes never make landfall in Florida. For those that do, many are of low or moderate intensity and do not cause signification disruption or damage. Occasionally a strong hurricane or two do make direct landfall on the Florida peninsula resulting in major or catastrophic damage and even loss of life. Damage of this severity can take years to recover and rebuild.
Hurricane season in Florida is officially from June 1 through November 30. Although a tropical storm or even a rare hurricane is known to form and make landfall outside this "official" hurricane season. However, these early and late storms are generally not severe.
July through October see most of the hurricanes start as tropical waves far out in the Atlantic and grow into tropical storms as the move west. If conditions are favorable, these storms may grow into hurricanes, potentially impacting the Caribbean before moving toward Florida. These Atlantic storms can be tracked for many days and even a week or more as they march across the Atlantic giving plenty of warning of an approaching storm.
However, hurricanes may form in or near the Gulf of Mexico and give less warning during the early and latter part of the season. Meteorologists have become quite good at forecasting the general track of a storm or hurricane and warn areas of potential landfall. But when storms form nearby in the Gulf, this warning time is reduced.
Hurricanes not only produce on-shore damage, they have been known to actually change the coastline. A moderately strong category 3 hurricane made landfall in Tarpon Springs near Clearwater in 1921. It caused a breach in the barrier Hog Island and separated the island into what is now known as Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island. The pass between them is called Hurricane Pass.