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So When Does It Usually Cool Off
Across West Central and Southwest Florida in the Autumn?
Updated September 25, 2023

Astronomically speaking, autumn began at 2:50 AM EDT Saturday September 23rd. Across West Central and Southwest Florida, however, the temperatures are likely to be anything but fall-like. Usually high humidity with dew points in the middle 60's to middle 70's, along with high temperatures in the mid 80's to lower 90's persist well into October.

The first shot of cooler drier air is usually rather short lived - lasting only a day or two. The real cool down doesn't usually occur until November. A good way to examine the timing of the first cool down is by looking at overnight low temperatures which are highly dependent on a few factors, not the least being the amount of moisture in the air near the ground, along with the amount of cloud cover and winds. The amount of moisture is determined by looking at the dew point. In general, overnight low temperatures cannot fall below the dew point. Therefore, if the dew points are still in the middle 60's to middle 70's, then the overnight low temperatures are also likely to be in the mid 60's to mid 70's unless a cool front moves through during the night. To see when the first cool front typically moves across the region, the long-term mean dates of specific low temperature thresholds since consistent records began are listed below.

Examining the tables and maps below, the long-term mean date of the first shot of cooler drier air appears to be during mid-October. This is when temperatures generally fall into the mid 50's across inland portions of the Nature Coast and below 60 degrees elsewhere across West Central and Southwest Florida. The only exception is near the coast, where the water keeps temperatures higher and these areas take longer to fall below 60 degrees.
 

Click on a "Site" name below for a detailed graph at each location.
 
  Left click an image to magnify, click a second time to return to original size.
 
Date of First Low Temperature < 60°F
          Records
Site Earliest Latest Mean 2022 Began
Arcadia Sep 19 1910 Nov 23 2015 Oct 17 N/A 1900
Archbold Sep 08 1997 Nov 23 2015 Oct 11 Oct 01 1969
Bartow Sep 19 1981* Nov 14 1946 Oct 16 Oct 19 1892
Brooksville Sep 09 1997 Nov 04 1950* Oct 10 Oct 01 1892
Bushnell Sep 15 1976* Nov 03 2019 Oct 07 N/A 1948
Chiefland 5 ESE Sep 09 1963 Oct 25 1959 Sep 30 Oct 01 1956
Fort Myers Oct 01 1920 Dec 03 1986 Oct 28 Oct 19 1902
Inverness 3 SE Sep 11 1997 Nov 03 2019 Oct 08 Oct 01 1948
Lakeland Sep 19 1981 Nov 14 2015* Oct 19 Oct 19 1915
Mountain Lake Sep 19 1981 Nov 15 2003 Oct 15 OCt 19 1935
Myakka Rvr St Pk Sep 19 1981 Nov 23 2015 Oct 16 Oct 19 1956
Plant City Sep 19 1981 Nov 19 1911 Oct 13 Oct 03 1893
Punta Gorda Oct 02 2001* Nov 26 1948 Oct 24 Oct 19 1914
Sarasota-Bradenton Sep 19 1981 Nov 23 2015 Oct 19 Oct 19 1911
St. Leo Sep 19 1981 Nov 10 2019 Oct 13 Oct 04 1895
St. Petersburg Oct 01 1920 Dec 04 1986 Oct 30 Oct 19 1914
Tampa Sep 19 1981 Nov 23 2015 Oct 19 Oct 19 1890
Tarpon Springs Sep 19 1981* Nov 15 1919 Oct 15 Oct 19 1892
Venice Oct 02 2001* Nov 23 2015 Oct 22 Oct 19 1955
Wauchula Sep 19 1981 Nov 23 2015 Oct 17 Oct 19 1933
Winter Haven Sep 19 1981 Nov 14 2015* Oct 20 N/A 1941
*Last of Multiple Occurrences        
           
           
Date of First Low Temperature < 55°F
          Records
Site Earliest Latest Mean 2022 Began
Arcadia Oct 01 1920 Dec 04 1986 Oct 27 N/A 1900
Archbold Oct 02 1976 Dec 19 2015 Oct 23 Oct 26 1969
Bartow Oct 01 1920 Nov 25 1922 Oct 25 Oct 19 1892
Brooksville Sep 27 2008 Nov 15 1936 Oct 20 Oct 05 1892
Bushnell Sep 27 1956 Nov 14 2015 Oct 17 N/A 1948
Chiefland 5 ESE Sep 17 1999 Nov 01 2019 Oct 10 Oct 04 1956
Fort Myers Oct 10 2000 Dec 19 2022* Nov 08 Dec 19 1902
Inverness 3 SE Sep 20 1981 Nov 14 2015 Oct 17 Oct 18 1948
Lakeland Oct 01 1920 Nov 25 1948* Oct 28 Oct 19 1915
Mountain Lake Oct 02 1976 Nov 22 2015* Oct 24 Oct 21 1935
Myakka Rvr St Pk Oct 02 1984 Nov 23 2015 Oct 27 Oct 20 1956
Plant City Sep 21 1938 Nov 22 1986 Oct 23 Ocy 03 1893
Punta Gorda Oct 10 2000 Dec 12 1958 Nov 03 Nov 18 1914
Sarasota-Bradenton Oct 01 1920 Dec 04 1986 Oct 29 Oct 20 1911
St. Leo Sep 20 1981 Nov 23 1922 Oct 23 Oct 19 1895
St. Petersburg Oct 01 1920 Jan 04 2022 Nov 12 Nov 18 1914
Tampa Sep 22 1897 Dec 05 1919 Oct 30 Oct 19 1890
Tarpon Springs Sep 22 1897 Nov 25 1922 Oct 24 Oct 19 1892
Venice Oct 05 1974 Dec 03 1986 Oct 31 Oct 20 1955
Wauchula Oct 07 2010 Nov 25 1948 Oct 27 Oct 19 1933
Winter Haven Oct 05 1974 Dec 03 1986 Oct 29 N/A 1941
*Last of Multiple Occurrences        
           
           
Date of First Low Temperature < 50°F
          Records
Site Earliest Latest Mean 2022 Began
Arcadia Oct 14 1977 Dec 11 1994 Nov 03 N/A 1900
Archbold Oct 08 2010 Jan 05 2016 Nov 01 Dec 10 1969
Bartow Oct 01 1920 Dec 19 2022 Nov 04 Dec 19 1892
Brooksville Oct 01 2009 Dec 04 1905 Oct 30 Oct 19 1892
Bushnell Oct 02 2011* Nov 23 2015 Oct 25 N/A 1948
Chiefland 5 ESE Sep 20 1981 Nov 14 2015 Oct 16 Oct 05 1956
Fort Myers Oct 21 1989 Jan 18 2022* Nov 22 Dec 24 1902
Inverness 3 SE Oct 02 2011* Nov 25 1959 Oct 25 Oct 18 1948
Lakeland Oct 01 1920 Dec 15 1998* Nov 06 Oct 20 1915
Mountain Lake Oct 08 1987 Dec 05 1946 Nov 02 Nov 17 1935
Myakka Rvr St Pk Oct 08 1987 Dec 19 2022 Nov 05 Dec 19 1956
Plant City Oct 04 1929 Dec 04 1986 Oct 30 Oct 20 1893
Punta Gorda Oct 18 1977 Jan 10 1932 Nov 15 Dec 19 1914
Sarasota-Bradenton Oct 14 1977 Dec 19 2022* Nov 10 Dec 19 1911
St. Leo Oct 07 1932 Dec 04 1986 Nov 02 Oct 19 1895
St. Petersburg Oct 24 1937 Jan 18 2022 Nov 27 Dec 23 1914
Tampa Oct 11 1906 Dec 23 2021 Nov 10 Oct 20 1890
Tarpon Springs Oct 02 1920 Dec 05 1919 Nov 04 Nov 17 1892
Venice Oct 18 1977 Dec 19 2022* Nov 13 Dec 19 1955
Wauchula Oct 14 1977 Dec 19 2022* Nov 05 Dec 19 1933
Winter Haven Oct 14 1977 Dec 19 2022 Nov 08 Dec 19 1941
*Last of Multiple Occurrences        
           
           
Date of Earliest Freeze (≤ 32°F)    
      Records    
Site Temp Date Began    
Arcadia 32° Nov 11 1956 1900    
Archbold 30° Nov 15 1995* 1969    
Bartow 30° Nov 12 1913 1892    
Brooksville 29° Oct 29 2008* 1892    
Bushnell 30° Nov 01 1954 1948    
Chiefland 5 ESE 32° Oct 21 1989 1956    
Fort Myers 32° Dec 10 1917 1902    
Inverness 3 SE 31° Oct 29 2008 1948    
Lakeland 27° Nov 16 1940 1915    
Mountain Lake 26° Nov 16 1940 1935    
Myakka Rvr St Pk 32° Nov 24 1956 1956    
Plant City 32° Nov 04 1966 1893    
Punta Gorda 28° Nov 25 1970 1914    
Sarasota-Bradenton 27° Nov 17 1940 1911    
St. Leo 31° Nov 15 1969 1895    
St. Petersburg 32° Dec 07 1937 1914    
Tampa 31° Nov 16 1940 1890    
Tarpon Springs 31° Nov 16 1940 1892    
Venice 29° Nov 25 1970 1955    
Wauchula 29° Nov 11 1956 1933    
Winter Haven 31° Nov 24 1970 1941    
*Last of Multiple Occurrences        
           
 
Long Term Mean Date of First Low Temperature at or below 60 degrees Fahrenheit
 
Long Term Mean Date of First Low Temperature at or below 55 degrees Fahrenheit
 
Long Term Mean Date of First Low Temperature at or below 50 degrees Fahrenheit
 
Earliest Date of Low Temperature at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit

 
 
 

 

Another way to look at when it may cool down is to take a look at the graphs of the average (based on 1991-2020 Normals) and record low temperatures during the autumn at sites across the region. We can see from the graphs below that during some years the first cool down has occurred as early as mid-September when temperatures have fallen into the upper 40's across northern portions of the Nature Coast to the lower 60's south. However, looking at the average lows we see that for the most part it takes until November before low temperatures fall into the mid 50's north to lower 60's south on a consistent basis. Also on these graphs we can see that on a few rare occasions there has been a freeze across portions of the Nature Coast during the second half of October, with areas further south during November. For an interpretation of the graphs click the smaller graph to the right.
 
 
Interpretation of Graphs
Autumn Low Temperature Graph Legend
 

All images on this page can be magnified by left clicking on them, and resized back to original size with a second left click.
 


Chiefland 5 ESE data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Inverness 3 SE data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps and Maps)
 


Bushnell 1 E data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Brooksville Area data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


St Leo data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Tarpon Springs data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Tampa Area data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


St Petersburg Area data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Plant City data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Lakeland Area data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Winter Haven Area data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Bartow Area data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Mountain Lake data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Sarasota-Bradenton Area data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Myakka River State Park data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Venice data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Wauchula 2 N data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Arcadia data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Archbold Bio Stn data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Punta Gorda Area data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 


Fort Myers Area data
 
(Back up to Tables and Maps)
 
 


As a side note, for those who miss or would like to see where the foliage has begun to change color across the United States, visit the USDA Forest Service web site listed below.

        https://www.fs.usda.gov/visit/fall-colors

And for an idea of the approximate time of peak fall foliage see the image below:

Peak Fall Color Map


For more local climate information, visit our web site at

        https://www.weather.gov/tampabay

and go to the Climate and Past Weather drop down menu above the weather forecast graphics.