TAMPA — Monday was hot in Tampa Bay. So hot, that a thermometer at Tampa International Airport recorded a record-high temperature for any July 26 in the recorded history of the city.
Temperatures reached 97 around 2:30 p.m. Monday at the airport, according to Dustin Norman of the National Weather Service. No other city in the region was quite as hot, with St. Petersburg and Winter Haven both recording highs of 96.
The previous high for July 26 in Tampa happened in 1935, when it peaked at 95.
Norman said Monday’s heat was a combination of typical July weather mixed with little-to-no cloud cover around mid-day Monday. The temperature was nearly enough to tie Tampa’s overall July record of 98, while it fell two degrees short of tying Tampa’s all-time heat record of 99 — which was recorded last year on June 26.
The average high for July is historically 94. With average highs already in the low 90s, how has Tampa never reached 100?
Norman says it’s because our weather — as far as temperature variation goes — is fairly predictable in the summer. Our heat levels are largely regulated by the Gulf of Mexico and its surface temperature, he said. And since the water temperature doesn’t vary much, it’s rare for Tampa Bay to have a heat spike that’s significantly over our normal highs.