temperature check

Sweltering December?
And why some call it perfect weather

December is touching up …

At record highs in Florida.

High, low and average air temperatures in Naples and Gainesville, Florida

The reason? Well, it’s south Florida of course. It never gets cold. Or not wintery cold like it does up on the continent. But even by Florida standards, the start of this December has been incredibly warm. Just how balmy has it been? Answer: Warm enough to convince me that we’re still on the summer shoulder season, i.e. mid October or late April. The only salvation: The temperature in my pool and in the gulf is cooler thanks to the thermal stability of water and its ability to hold on to the November temperature plunge. The evenings and morning have been delightfully pleasant, combined after a run with a plunge in the pool. And just to be clear: I’m not complaining, but for someone who grew up in the Northeast, the weather isn’t jiving with what I would normally expect on this calendar date.

But you know what they say about the weather: It’s sort of a corollary on the greenness of the grass, but with a twist: If you don’t like it just stay put, it’s sure to change in 15 minutes (plus or minus a week).

P.S. Deep polar cold front, wherever you are, I’m very unprepared but will welcome you with open arms when you arrive.


Two Floridas
One's mild and the other is less mild

How much colder is …

Naples from Gainesville, Florida?

Comparison of high and low air temperatures in Gainesville and Naples, FL

Answer: In terms of daytime lows dropping below 50 degrees, Gainesville has already recorded 15 compared to zero in Naples. In fact, there’s only been six nights in Naples that even dropped below 60 degrees. That’s not including wind chill. Nor does it factor in that you are also wearing shorts.

Interestingly, Naples and Gainesville are in the same neighborhood when looking at daytime highs. It’s the nighttime lows that separate them. But that’s splitting hairs really. Everywhere in Florida has a mild winter compared to most of the rest of the United States.

temperature check

Shades of warmth
Gainesville vs Naples air temperatures

Northerners think of Florida as being …

A land where eternal summer prevails all year round.

Temperature chart comparison: Naples vs Gainesville, FL. The background light and dark gray show the typical and historic range. Blue bars show the daily high and low. Red dots show the average daily temperature.

But really you have to travel south of Lake Okeechobee to get the full dose of year round Florida sun. The reason? Two come to mind. (1) First, north of the Lake and including the entire panhandle, continental fronts are much more common and packed with cooler air. Many a weak front makes it to Orlando but peters out south of the Lake. That leaves Naples and Miami basking in warm air as the upper half of the peninsula plunges into cooler and drier air. (2) Second is the issue of the clouds. Sunny blue skies prevail south of the Lake as the northern climes of Florida are more frequently shaded under continental frontal clouds.

Not that all of Florida isn’t warm by Minnesota standards all winter long. Just don’t expect to wear shorts in January and March in Gainesville. In fact, you’ll probably need a good fleece and scarf. At least that’s my opinion looking at the weather chart chart from the Naples point of view.

Other notes: (1) Notice how Gainesville is hotter than Naples during the peak summer weeks. (2) Summer starts about a month later in Gainesville (more June-ish) compared to Naples (by May).