In what has been a year of extraordinary weather, another record has fallen. It's been the hottest combined June, July and August in history.
"It's really been a fascinating year of weather,'' said Mike Clay, chief meteorologist for the Bay News 9.
In Tampa, the average temperature for those three months was 84.5 degrees, breaking the old record of 84.2, set in 1998. In St. Petersburg, the average was 85.6, breaking the old mark of 84.6, set in 1987.
The average temperature for the day is the high and the low added together, then divided by two.
The record summer heat comes after a historically cold winter. During 2010's first three months, some parts of the Tampa Bay area experienced the coldest winter in recorded history. In that period, temperatures averaged 6 to 8 degrees below normal. This chill was largely attributed to El Niño, which usually brings an active winter storm season to west-central Florida.
"We have a much greater capacity to go cooler in the winter than we do hotter in the summer, because we are in the tropics, and it's always very hot in the summer,'' Clay said.
In fact, despite record summer heat, winter was so cold that the average temperature for the year in the bay area is still 1.1 degrees below normal. Because the global atmosphere recently shifted into a La Niña period, this coming winter is forecast to be warmer than the last, said National Weather Service meteorologist Tyler Fleming.
Floridians haven't been the only ones feeling the heat. Globally, the average land surface temperature from January through July was the warmest on record.
Times staff writer Emily Nipps contributed to this report.