ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – After passing through the wetter first half of May, we entered a typical late May weather pattern with dry air and warmer days.
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The wetter pattern across the country is very typical of this time of year, with active weather throughout the interior of the country. However, there has been a larger area of cold air in the western United States, which has allowed our high pressure ridge to develop.
This ridge keeps all storm systems away and also allows us to warm up considerably.
With this pattern, and a lot of dry air up, the chance of rain remains very low. But the same mechanism that triggers our summer storms is also what keeps many of us from seeing too high temperatures.
That’s the sea breeze. The sea breeze forms because the land warms faster than the water.
So, since the water temperatures are still in the low to mid 80’s, when the country warms up more than that, there is a pressure difference leading to a wind blowing from the higher pressure (over the cooler water) to the lower pressure (about the warmer country).
This is also one of the main reasons why Tampa never hit 100 degrees. It is at this time of the year that we can get quite warm without the storms, but when we come out of winter and spring the water temperatures have not got too hot yet, so the sea breeze forms quite early in the day.
Of course, interior sections east of I-75 in this pattern may come close to the century mark, but this week and during the holiday weekend, the sea breeze will work to preserve direct coastal spots in the upper 80s and inland locations may heat up the low until the mid 90’s before that sea breeze cools it down.