Florida cities set back-to-back heat records: “Hot as we can get”

High temperatures did not let up in the Sunshine State on Thursday, with one meteorologist describing the weather in Southwest Florida as “about as hot as we can get.”

According to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Tampa Bay, the cities of Tampa, Sarasota-Bradenton and Punta Gorda set daily temperature records on both Wednesday and Thursday this week.

On Thursday, highs in Tampa reached 98 degrees, while Sarasota-Bradenton topped out at 99. Residents in Punta Gorda experienced heat into the triple digits, with highs reaching 101 degrees. The NWS said that the last daily heat record for the city in Southwest Florida was set on May 30, 2000, at 97 degrees.

A daily high temperature was also set in St. Pete at 96 degrees Thursday. Fort Myers tied its daily high at 97.

“This is literally about as hot as we can get!” Paul Dellegatto, chief meteorologist at WTVT in Tampa, wrote in a post to X (formerly Twitter). Dellegatto also shared a map that showed the high temperatures experienced throughout southern and central Florida on Thursday.

Florida residents got their first taste of the summer season over the past week, and record temperatures were set throughout the state. On Wednesday, Winter Haven broke its daily record at 99 degrees, as did Brooksville with a daily high of 97.

Several daily highs were reached over Memorial Day weekend as well. Miami broke its temperature record on Sunday at 96 degrees, as did Orlando at 97 and West Palm Beach at 95. Large parts of Texas also grappled with heat this week, with several cities facing heat indexes well over 100 on Wednesday.

Temperatures were in the mid-60s to 70s Thursday night in the Tampa Bay area, according to NWS. A chance of rain was also moving into southwestern Florida on Friday, with a 50 percent chance in Tampa and Sarasota. Highs on Friday are projected to be in the 90s.

A lifeguard tower sits on the beach on May 28, 2024, in Miami Beach, Florida. Three cities in southern Florida set back-to-back daily record highs this week: Tampa, Sarasota and Punta Gorda.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Scattered showers are also possible in South Florida on Friday. The NWS has issued a hazardous weather outlook for the bottom of the Florida peninsula through Wednesday, warning that rainy weather moving into the area could produce “lightning, gusty winds, and locally heavy rainfall.”

“The strongest activity could produce small hail and a few locally strong to severe wind gusts,” the NWS said.

The risk of a rip current will also increase over the east coast into the weekend, and hazardous “marine conditions” are possible in the Atlantic coastline on Sunday, read the warning.

The counties under the hazardous outlook include Palm Beach, Collier, Broward and Miami-Dade.

The Farmer’s Almanac’s 12-month outlook for Florida predicted an overly wet May, followed by a dryer than normal June with a fairly average July and August, albeit a little on the dry side both months and a little hotter in July than normal.