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  1. Weather

It's November, so why does it still feel like August outside?

Brent Kooistra, of Dunedin, right, relaxes with a book at Honeymoon Island State Park on Tuesday. This week's weather has been great for the beach, not so much for November. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Published Nov. 6, 2015

Florida fall is playing hard to get this year.

Nearly a full week into November, with pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating behind us, the weather outside should be cooling down. Daytime temperatures should be hovering in the low 80s. Nightfall should be bringing lows in the mid 60s.

Step outside and you'll see that isn't happening.

On Wednesday, temperatures crept to a scorching 92 degrees, the hottest day ever recorded in the month of November.

We'll say that again, abbreviated: hottest day ever in November.

Thursday set another high mark for the hottest ever Nov. 5.

Humidity levels are as high as they were in July and August. Temperatures are peaking at 10 degrees above average.

"It's kind of ridiculous," said WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Bobby Deskins.

Preach, Bobby.

So, why are we still sweating like beasts of burden, especially after that brief flirtation with pleasant temps before Halloween?

There are several elements contributing to the fickle temperatures, experts say, and not necessarily the ones you'd expect.

Though blaming this temperature spike on climate change seems logical, said Eckerd College professor David Hastings, most scientists would be hesitant to make a direct link.

He explained it like this: If a baseball player takes steroids, we all know his chances of hitting more home runs increases. But there is no way to prove that each individual home run he hits is a direct result of those steroids.

So it goes with the current heat wave, given the evidence of climate change: "This is entirely consistent with what we would expect," Hastings said. "To ignore events like this is at the peril of the longevity of species on our planet and us and our children. These are important signs."

What meteorologists say for certain is that this weather is not at all normal for this time of year.

Charlie Paxton, a science officer with the National Weather Service, blamed the heat wave on a pesky high pressure ridge that's been hanging out in the upper levels of the atmosphere for a couple weeks.

Air under high pressure sinks, he said, and as it sinks, it also is warming. In these scenarios, the skies are usually devoid of clouds, which means more direct sunlight beaming toward the earth, heating roads and sidewalks.

Normally, fronts from the north and northeast would be waving over us by now, bringing drier, cooler air. Instead, an easterly wind is sweeping across the state, carrying moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and picking up heat along the way.

"We can only cool off so much" with that level of moisture in the air, said National Weather Service meteorologist Marc Austin.

All that combined makes for a swelter that feels a lot like summer.

"For people that want to break out their winter clothes, they're going to have to wait a little bit longer," Paxton said.

Before you hurl your handheld misting fan against the wall, take heart. By early next week, we should start to feel that fall weather creeping back.

Temperatures will be in the mid- to low-80s during the day and should dip below 70 degrees at night.

Go ahead, break into your happy dance. This is a safe space.

Contact Katie Mettler at kmettler@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3446. Follow @kemettler.

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