Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Florida escapes heat searing rest of country

While much of the country wilts under suffocating temperatures, Florida has escaped the record heat.

Over the weekend, a series of intense storms dubbed a "super derecho," with winds equal to a Category 1 hurricane, smashed through the Midwest and the Atlantic seaboard, leaving at least 22 people dead and about 1.8 million without power and little hope that it will be back on this week.

The derecho drew its power from a surging heat wave, with temperatures climbing above 100 degrees across the country. Atlanta set a record with a high of 105 degrees. One town in Kansas reached 118. There's no relief in sight for this week.

But in Florida, things have remained moderate. Tropical Storm Debby has wandered away, and there are no new hurricanes on the horizon. While the sun is shining, the temperatures here are not nearly as hot as in most of the country. Tampa's forecast high for the Fourth of July is 92 degrees, a good 5 degrees below the record.

Ask National Weather Service meteorologist Richard Rude how Florida could be cooler than most of the rest of the country right now and he'll give you a two-word answer: "We're lucky."

The heat that's baking everywhere else right now is largely due to an upper-level ridge of high pressure that "we're kind of on the edge of," Rude explained. Also, he pointed out, Florida benefits from its peninsular geography: "We do have water on two sides of us."

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