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High pressure leaves Tampa Bay area with another heat record

Yeah, it's summer in Florida. And, yeah, it's hot.

But isn't this getting a little ridiculous?

• For most of the Tampa Bay area, the three-month span of May-June-July was the hottest on record since the National Weather Service started keeping records more than 100 years ago.

• In St. Petersburg, last month was the second hottest July on record. In Tampa, it ranked third.

• In both locations, May and June this year were also among the top four.

If it seems a little hotter than normal, trust your instincts. It is. And it's not going to get cooler any time soon.

Several factors have contributed to the record heat, but the biggest culprit is the high-pressure ridge over Florida. Residing at 20,000 to 40,000 feet, this huge system is always moving and reshaping.

It has moved from the Midwest to the Northeast, scorching cities in those areas. For most of the past three months, it has blanketed much of Florida, acting like a dome that allows everything underneath it to heat up.

High heat and drought, that's what high pressure brings, said Bay News 9 chief meteorologist Mike Clay.

How long will it last?

"It's going to control our weather on and off for the first half of August," Clay said. "These are the dog days of summer."

Even at night. High pressure, along with near-record sea surface temperatures in waters around Florida, account for the higher nighttime lows, said Jeff Masters of Weather Underground.

The high pressure also can have a major impact on the paths of hurricanes.

Hurricanes coming off the African coast tend to track around the periphery of high-pressure systems. So, depending on where the high pressure is, it can direct storms at or away from Florida, Masters said.

Andy Boyle can be reached at aboyle@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8804.

High pressure leaves Tampa Bay area with another heat record 08/02/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 2, 2010 10:32pm]
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