The weather in Florida can be confusing. Rain every day? Seriously? Here’s a quick explanation if you are visiting Florida to understand our weather!
We received an email from one of our readers asking,
“I’m a fellow Mom in Illinois and am coming to Orlando, FL next week. Can you tell me what your weather outlook for next week is? I saw one site that said RAIN everyday and another site that said sunny! Thank you in advance. Just wanted to know if I should pack the rain ponchos or plan more inside activities. ”
Here in Florida we have a wet season (April-October) and a dry season (November-March). The simplest answer to Janet’s email is this… If you are visiting during our summer months, it will most likely rain. Every. Single. Day. But don’t worry. This is normal. It won’t last all day, and shouldn’t interfere with your vacation. I know that sounds weird, but here’s the easiest way to explain it…
The daily storms happen because of a term called “sea breezes”. This is the area over Florida where the “sea breezes from both coasts collide in the middle of the state (Orlando!), creating especially severe storms down the center of the state. These thunderstorms can drift towards either the west or east coast depending on the relative strengths of the sea breezes, and sometimes survive to move out over the water at night, creating spectacular cloud-to-cloud lightning shows for hours after sunset.” (Thank you Wikipedia!)
This doesn’t mean that you will be rained out on your vacation… but you might want to have ponchos or a mini-umbrella packed in your diaper bag/purse. The rain (or thunderstorm) usually lasts for about 30 minutes, then moves on. If you’re at a theme park, they WILL shut down rides until lightning has passed. This is a great time to get a snack, or check out the gift shops or indoor attractions. IF a front or low pressure system settles right over the state, then yes, rain might last longer than the typical daily thunderstorm. Janet, here’s hoping you have a picture-perfect (and dry!) vacation!
When you move to Florida, understanding Florida weather became a new-found art. In northern states, weather terms like black ice, tornado season, harvest moon, sleet, tornado alley, are the norm.
As a Florida native, I’m accustomed to terms like sea breeze, wet season/dry season, and instead of snow days, we have hurricane days.
Several years ago, we reached out to former meteorologist at WESH2 News Amy Sweezey for a few more weather terms. She reminded us of terms like lightning alley, water spouts, rip currents, and a whole bunch of hurricane words… like “the cone” and tropical depression. She also reminded us that the temperatures here in Central Florida rarely reach 100 degrees, because of the sea breezes and summer storms. But please note that even if it is NOT 100 degrees, the humidity makes it quite hot!
These next weather terms are used all over the country, but here in Florida, they don’t quite have the same meanings as they do up north.
– Freeze warning and Frost advisory. This is about the closest we get to snow, so everyone panics! And if we can actually see our breath… it’s something to tweet about.
– Fall. Sadly Fall is one of my favorite seasons. It took a LONG time to get used to the lack of orange leaves and crisp morning air at a football tailgate party. Every year I dream of going home to an Iowa football game, but alas, it hasn’t happened. YET!
– Winter. We might have a few days during the year when the temps are in the 30’s. That’s it. That’s our Winter.
– “Rain in the forecast”. From May-Oct there WILL be rain in Central Florida, every day. You just never know where.
There’s a common phrase here in Central Florida.
Storms are so predictable, that “you can set your watch by.”
So how about you? What’s a new weather word that you learned once moving to Florida?
Updated 2023 Orlando Mom Collective