Another week of “fall” has passed. But as Halloween and the holidays approach, it doesn’t feel like Tampa Bay is close to joining pumpkin spice season.
Just ask the meteorologists.
The Tampa Bay region is about to set a new record for the longest stretch of time with temperatures at 70 degrees or greater.
It has been that hot in the bay area since May 17, 2019 — a span of 151 days as of Wednesday. That will set a new record if things don’t cool down by this upcoming Monday.
Last year shattered the previous record as temperatures stayed above 70 degrees for a 155 day-stretch that went from May 10 to Oct. 13.
The National Weather Service in Ruskin is using the temperatures measured at Tampa International Airport to demonstrate the bay area’s hot streak.
But that’s not all.
Meteorologists also are watching another record: The latest first occurrence of temperatures below 70 degrees in autumn, said weather service meteorologist Dustin Norman.
Autumn officially started Sept. 23. Yet nearly a month later, the region’s temperatures still linger in the high 80s.
The last time it took so long for temps to dip below a low of 70 was fall 1959. The heat that season lingered until Oct. 19.
This year’s Oct. 19 is Saturday.
"If we do not hit 69 degrees by Saturday, that would break that record," Norman said.
Why is it so hot so late in the year? It’s complicated.
Our temperatures don’t fluctuate as much in Tampa Bay as they do in other parts of the country, Norman said. There are many factors to consider, from trends of longer El Niños to the warming climate.
There’s a fast-moving storm system in the Gulf of Mexico moving northeast and taking aim at the Panhandle that should cool things down. But will it cool things down enough to break 70 degrees? Bay area residents may be more concerned with thundershowers, wind gusts and possible tornadoes to worry about that.
“The main takeaway is a breezy, wet weekend ahead," Norman said. "It’s not looking like a good beach weekend.”