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West & SW FL Zone Map


RedRabbit

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I use Iowa Environmental Mesonet quite a bit (specifically their meteogram generator) for honing in on local forecasts, but I found a different database that may be of interest to many of you.  I've linked the IEM Florida COOP observations page below, where you can select any or all the Florida COOP stations and export daily climatology data.  You can also sort by their different reporting stations (ASOS, COOP, etc.).  There is a ton of data from what should be top-tier observation stations. 

https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/request/daily.phtml?network=FL_COOP

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On 3/8/2023 at 9:32 AM, RedRabbit said:

One theory of mine is that, on cold nights, cold air radiates from the center of the state out to the coast. When this happens the wind is from the NNW on the east coast and NNE on the west coast. 

Cocoa Beach has a much better climate for palms than Daytona despite being fairly close. It’s been said it has to do with the Gulf Stream being relatively closer to the coast, or simply that it’s further south which helps no doubt. However, I wonder if it may be more because it has much better separation from the mainland created by the Indian and the Banana Rivers. Cold air has much more water to cross to get there than it does in Daytona and New Smyrna.

Thoughts @Jimbean @kinzyjr?

The gulf stream also moves away from the coast as you go north.  Check out the water temperatures Brevard vs Volusia. 

SatFish_EastCentralFlorida_SST.jpg.webp.4b5c44902c8158cc4ab881e15c12e062.webp

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Brevard County, Fl

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11 hours ago, JJPalmer said:

I use Iowa Environmental Mesonet quite a bit (specifically their meteogram generator) for honing in on local forecasts, but I found a different database that may be of interest to many of you.  I've linked the IEM Florida COOP observations page below, where you can select any or all the Florida COOP stations and export daily climatology data.  You can also sort by their different reporting stations (ASOS, COOP, etc.).  There is a ton of data from what should be top-tier observation stations. 

https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/request/daily.phtml?network=FL_COOP

Thanks, this is a great resource!

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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This blog outlines the distance of the western edge of the Gulfstream from various spots on the Florida east coast, including but not limited to the Keys The water temperature in PB is many times substantially warmer than Key West and even the Dry Tortugas in the cooler months:

https://www.thehulltruth.com/sportfishing-charters-forum/86661-miles-gulfstream.html

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What you look for is what is looking

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This is another interesting site that gives real time water temperature. We are in March, so the warm up has already started. Interesting to see that Ana Maria waters are at 76°F today. Cocoa Beach was at 77°F today. Clearwater Beach is currently 68 degrees F. and interesting to see that far down south in Naples, the water temperature is 72°F.

The cooler months of December, January, and February, including Ana Maria, Island are nearly 8-10°F colder than the waters of the SE coastal Florida water. See the averages:

https://www.seatemperatu.re/north-america/florida/

 

 

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What you look for is what is looking

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Keith, what are the usual temps in Palm Beach in winter? I know that in the Lower Keys it was generally considered normal for SSTs to be about 71F in January, 90ish in summer, but the Gulf Stream is really just out a few miles to the south, around the fringe of the reef if I am not mistaken. It of course makes sense that the easterlies will shuttle warm water the short distance over to Palm Beach. On the Gulf Side of course it's going to be much cooler. But doesn't the weirdly persistent ridge of High Pressure that has been sitting over the eastern Gulf and Florida all winter long have something to do with bringing warm water up into the Gulf? I heard them talking yesterday on I think Accuweather about the unusually warm Gulf waters this winter, and I have assumed it is because of this stubborn ridge.

And a little off-topic, but anyone interested in Florida's water should know...we lost Ricou Browning a couple of weeks ago at the age of 93, one of the great divers, the actual "man in the suit" in Creature from the Black Lagoon (in the underwater scenes, which were filmed at Wakulla Springs). He was also part of the diving crew on the 1954 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea shot mostly in the Bahamas, an underwater stuntman par excellence, and was closely associated with Ivan Tors and quite responsible for Flipper (co-created it)...and was second unit director for all the underwater work on Thunderball, Never Say Never Again, lots of other great films. I'm in the film industry (and a lifelong film-history buff) so it is of major importance to me, but he really helped put the face of Florida and its "water world" on the map for much of the country and the world in the mid/later 20th century, and any Floridian (or anyone interested in Florida history or film) would probably enjoy looking into his accomplishments and watching some of his interviews on YouTube, etc. He was really about the last vestige of a very interesting era in a simpler Florida that has largely disappeared, unfortunately.

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Michael Norell

Rancho Mirage, California | 33°44' N 116°25' W | 287 ft | z10a | avg Jan 43/70F | Jul 78/108F avg | Weather Station KCARANCH310

previously Big Pine Key, Florida | 24°40' N 81°21' W | 4.5 ft. | z12a | Calcareous substrate | avg annual min. approx 52F | avg Jan 65/75F | Jul 83/90 | extreme min approx 41F

previously Natchez, Mississippi | 31°33' N 91°24' W | 220 ft.| z9a | Downtown/river-adjacent | Loess substrate | avg annual min. 23F | Jan 43/61F | Jul 73/93F | extreme min 2.5F (1899); previously Los Angeles, California (multiple locations)

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Michael, That is some heavy Florida history! Kudos! Ricoh was a Ft. Pierce native, who went to FSU. Wakulla Springs is very close to Tallahassee, which probably meant he was very familiar with the nearby springs. Ricoh assisted a film crew scouting locations and took them to the springs. The cameraman asked if he could swim in front of the cameras so they could get perspective of the size of a human against the fish and grass. Days later, the crew offered him the role of Gill-man in the Epic Creature of the Lagoon”! Essentially invented under-water stuntsmanship! Numerous films thereafter, including Bond flicks and Caddyshack. My personal favorite Flipper, which he co-wrote and co-directed (including long running TV series). He lived a long and incredible life! Thank you for that rabbit hole.

As it relates to another personal favorite, the Gulfstream. The Gulfstream or Florida Current is actually closer to Palm Beach Shores and the north-end of PB (longitude 80 2’ 4’’ degrees W) than anywhere in Florida, including the Keys. This is an arbitrary day of each locations distance from the Gulfstream( described in the Hull blog above): Key West-41 nautical miles(nm), Key Largo-11nm, Port Everglades-9nm, Lake Worth-4 nm, Ft. Pierce Inlet-16 nm, Sebastian Inlet-24nm, Port Canaveral-28nm, Ponce Inlet/So. Daytona-43nm. At PB, it is generally approximately 2nm.

As a kid, this manifested itself in extremely warm ocean water but our beaches were constantly covered with tar from the ships waiting to enter the Port of PB and would position themselves quite close to shore (inside the GS current). At the same time, the ships would clean their engines of tar, which floated in and corrupted our beaches. Thankfully, our Mayor, ET Smith (Diplomat to Cuba/1959), began to impose heavy fines on this activity, which finally ceased the tar problem on our beach (apologies for digression).

The point is that our ocean temperature in the cooler months (December, January and February) is warmer than Islamorada or even Key West (see second attachment). As it relates to winter temperatures, the proximity to this extremely warm and deep river, has an over-looked but profound effect on our low temperatures, which are 3-5 degrees F warmer than reported at PBIA. The climate profile is virtually identical to Miami Beach (60 miles south) during the winter months. This is confirmed by the range of palms and other tropical items that flourish.

At some point, latitude takes over. The Keys are an incredible experience that all should feel. The only drawback is Hurricane Season.

What you look for is what is looking

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On 3/9/2023 at 10:26 AM, JJPalmer said:

I use Iowa Environmental Mesonet quite a bit (specifically their meteogram generator) for honing in on local forecasts, but I found a different database that may be of interest to many of you.  I've linked the IEM Florida COOP observations page below, where you can select any or all the Florida COOP stations and export daily climatology data.  You can also sort by their different reporting stations (ASOS, COOP, etc.).  There is a ton of data from what should be top-tier observation stations. 

https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/request/daily.phtml?network=FL_COOP

That’s a fantastic tool. Thank you, bookmarked! :) 

Westchase | 9b 10a  ◆  Nokomis | 10a  ◆  St. Petersburg | 10a 10b 

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On 3/9/2023 at 10:28 AM, Jimbean said:

The gulf stream also moves away from the coast as you go north.  Check out the water temperatures Brevard vs Volusia. 

SatFish_EastCentralFlorida_SST.jpg.webp.4b5c44902c8158cc4ab881e15c12e062.webp

 

On 3/9/2023 at 11:07 PM, bubba said:

This blog outlines the distance of the western edge of the Gulfstream from various spots on the Florida east coast, including but not limited to the Keys The water temperature in PB is many times substantially warmer than Key West and even the Dry Tortugas in the cooler months:

https://www.thehulltruth.com/sportfishing-charters-forum/86661-miles-gulfstream.html

 

On 3/9/2023 at 11:53 PM, bubba said:

This is another interesting site that gives real time water temperature. We are in March, so the warm up has already started. Interesting to see that Ana Maria waters are at 76°F today. Cocoa Beach was at 77°F today. Clearwater Beach is currently 68 degrees F. and interesting to see that far down south in Naples, the water temperature is 72°F.

The cooler months of December, January, and February, including Ana Maria, Island are nearly 8-10°F colder than the waters of the SE coastal Florida water. See the averages:

https://www.seatemperatu.re/north-america/florida/

 

 

While I understand the Gulf Stream is quite a bit closer to Cape Canaveral than Daytona, I’ve never been clear how the Gulf Steam helps when there’s a land breeze which is common on cold nights. If anything, I’d guess it makes the intercoastal warmer by extension and that would align pretty well with my theory on the intercoastal being more responsible for barrier island microclimates than the ocean itself.

Edited by RedRabbit
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Westchase | 9b 10a  ◆  Nokomis | 10a  ◆  St. Petersburg | 10a 10b 

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Red Rabbit, The effect of the Florida Current/Gulfstream on the climate of SE Florida has been recognized by scientists for many years and is the reason that equivalent latitudinal locations on the west or Gulfside of Florida are colder. The Florida Current/ Gulfstream is a 18-20 mile wide river of year round tropical warmth, several thousand feet deep that reaches its closest point to land at 80° west longitude in the state of Florida (the furthest eastern point of the state is Palm Beach Shores/north-end of PB/longitude 80.035596). It carries more water than all the rivers combined on our planet. Perhaps the folks most knowledgeable about the position of the Florida Current/Gulfstream are sport-fishermen, who want the quickest way out to the deep waters (Palm Beach/Lake Worth Inlet) where the sailfish, marlin and others travel to in winter (See Hull Truth Blog above-referenced).

I am not certain that I fully understand your theory that the temperature of the Intracoastal waterway has a greater effect on barrier island microclimates than the ocean itself. During cold events, I have crossed the Intracoastal to the barrier island of PB and watched my car thermometer jump 5 degrees F. This includes but is not limited to straight north winds, which are rare and quickly dissipate when the cold mass interacts with the extremely warm water that is the Stream (See dramatic evidence of ocean/gulf water temperatures in December, January and February in above-attachment). SE Florida also obtains further cold protection from Lake Okeechobee.

It is not my intention to dismiss your theory, which may exist based upon your observations as to barrier islands on the Gulf. I can only say with certainty that it has no application to SE Florida.

The Florida Current/Gulfstream is a force. It attacks cold air quickly and temperatures rebound. Its strength is also felt by the western side of the state, which benefits greatly from this giant presence. If only tangentially harnessed, it could generate power for not less than 3.1 M homes in our state. The closer a location’s proximity to the Florida Current/Gulfstream, the warmer the corresponding land temperature.

https://windy.app/textbook/what-you-should-know-about-the-gulf-stream.html
 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottsnowden/2020/07/08/florida-company-develops-way-to-generate-power-by-harnessing-the-gulf-stream/amp/

 

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What you look for is what is looking

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I would love to have a set of maps that show the factors of a given site, like a GIS map, so you can extrapolate conditions there similar to the NWS point forecast but as a generality.  It would be more of a "microclimate factor map" that would show influences in a gradient of colors and layers to see which ones are srongest and weakest. Warm water and heat islands would show brighter and dim as you move out, and cold spots like the airports and dry cold lowlands would be darker and get brighter as you warm. Like a topographic map of cold weather vs warmer on a freeze night.  It could show heat in summer as well as winter freezes and extremes on both ends.  I used a GIS map of pasco and this concept to find my property but it took a long time and studying to do it.  Maybe it would help find cold spots for peaches in the north and warmer for mangoes in those areas that are still agriculture too.  The airports would stand out if they are an anolomy (like tampa airport too warm).  Most of the info is out there it just would need to be somehow put together into a "factors on site that effect the temp" layer map. Soil type and moisture, water table depth (effects soil moisture and heat content) urban development, distances to heat islands and water sources, and latitude would be factors i can think of off the top of my head.  its complicated enough that it would be rife with problems so i dont know how practical it is.

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I like some of these maps. I’d say the zone directly along the coast in the Naples/Estero area could be bumped up half a zone. Those are the warmest waters in America and it’s truly a bath tub in the summer throughout the fall. Some of the best classic JT coconuts I know of are in Naples as well. I know SW FL gets chillier than most think (at times) but directly along the Gulf provides that insulating feature. Inland is another story, truly a game of yards like football and not always miles lol

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Some thoughts I have on mentioned places:

-On the warmer end, I find it absolutely spectacular the effects of the peninsula for St. Petersburg. Advective cold fronts can only do so much (ie: Christmas last year only got them down to 2C), and during radiational cooling I have literally seen at least 1 time when they were as warm as Miami airport (both 6C, January 30 2022).
What's more, they've only reached 0C twice I believe during the 1991-2020 normals. If memory serves this is the same number of times as West Palm Beach airport and 1 less than Homestead airport, even though they are tropical and it is Cfa with colder lows than both🤯! Must be one of the most moderate, if not THE most moderate, climates in Florida relative to latitude and averages.

-On the colder end, I'm thinking back to kinzyjr's mention of how Brooksville/Spring Hill really drops the bomb on hardiness zone despite being at Orlando's latitude. This is where the closed Chinsegut Hill station comes into play: had we 1991-2020 data for it like we do for the KBKV cold hole, it seems plausible it would be lower end 10a similar to Orlando airport.
The elevation is 69m worth of cold air drainage, and during radiational events as is the norm for Florida, I have seen them come out anywhere from 3-8C warmer than KBKV. Average that out with KBKV's usual coldest temperature of -4.3C and you would absolutely get a 10a low.

Another thought: does anyone notice how variable the effects of radiational cooling can sometimes be? The impression I get is that at times it can be difficult for a lack of nighttime cloud cover to reach particularly far south at times in Florida and so even in radiational cooling let far south cold holes off easy: if anyone can confirm or deny this that would be great.
Examples:

-February 20 2015, I can't be certain but I'm pretty sure this had at least some radiational cooling because KBKV reached -4C and was the only place at the latitude to do so (as happens in radiational cooling).
However I don't think it was particularly strong around notorious radiator Archbold Biological Station further to the south: they only got to -2C as opposed to the -7C to -9C they get when cooling goes full blast like in January of 2022 and this year. 

-March 16 2017, this was radiational and well known for being a serious hard frost. KBKV got to -2C but Archbold only got to 2C (for reference their usual March minimum is 0.9C so they were 1.1C above that).

-October 20 2022, well known for being a record breaking early radiational frost exacerbated by lack of rain. KBKV got to 3C but Archbold never got below 13C(!!!!!) despite the dry soil, the serious cold front, and the USUAL October minimum of 8.4C.

-March 21 2023, what I like to call the 2023 Start to Spring Ripoff because as a radiational event it got in the way of lots of glorious January last frost dates for my list. KBKV got to 0C but Archbold never got below 6C(!!!!!) despite the usual March minimum of 0.9C - this is even more extreme than October.

The bottom line is, I think even in radiational cooling where low latitude can mean jack if lack of cloud cover is consistent among 2 places where the lower is much more vulnerable, the lack won't always be quite so consistent in Florida. This can have minor to significant ramifications depending on location and specific growing intentions.

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10 hours ago, Can't think of username said:

-On the colder end, I'm thinking back to kinzyjr's mention of how Brooksville/Spring Hill really drops the bomb on hardiness zone despite being at Orlando's latitude. This is where the closed Chinsegut Hill station comes into play: had we 1991-2020 data for it like we do for the KBKV cold hole, it seems plausible it would be lower end 10a similar to Orlando airport.
The elevation is 69m worth of cold air drainage, and during radiational events as is the norm for Florida, I have seen them come out anywhere from 3-8C warmer than KBKV. Average that out with KBKV's usual coldest temperature of -4.3C and you would absolutely get a 10a low.

Given the relief from the surrounding area, one might be inclined to think it would make a large difference.  Unfortunately, the numbers just don't line up. 

Chinsegut Hill does have NOAA records available from 1892-2012 for any that would like to peruse. 

https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/cdo-web/datasets/GHCND/stations/GHCND:USC00081046/detail

When parsing the data at this interval for 30, 50, and 100 years of data, the highest it makes it is 9b-1 (26F-28F) for the Average Annual Low over 100 years (AAL-100).  The vast bulk of weather history points to a 9a-b transition zone at this location.

The statistics below are drawn from from the NOAA 2022 50 Year Map I posted on Google Maps and the stats for this and all other NOAA weather stations in Florida are available in Excel format as 2022_Florida_Weather_Almanac.xlsx on the Florida Freeze and Weather Station Data thread.

image.png.7e6c0108d6f467815f96c05c09519cd5.png

10 hours ago, Can't think of username said:

-February 20 2015, I can't be certain but I'm pretty sure this had at least some radiational cooling because KBKV reached -4C and was the only place at the latitude to do so (as happens in radiational cooling).
However I don't think it was particularly strong around notorious radiator Archbold Biological Station further to the south: they only got to -2C as opposed to the -7C to -9C they get when cooling goes full blast like in January of 2022 and this year. 

I remember this one.  A few people outside of town got their plants zapped, but here it was fairly benign.

10 hours ago, Can't think of username said:

Another thought: does anyone notice how variable the effects of radiational cooling can sometimes be? The impression I get is that at times it can be difficult for a lack of nighttime cloud cover to reach particularly far south at times in Florida and so even in radiational cooling let far south cold holes off easy: if anyone can confirm or deny this that would be great.

The WUnderground snapshots that folks capture show this to be the case most of the time, especially inland.  Wind direction and cloud cover impact it significantly.  If we have cloud cover here, it all but guarantees we won't see frost or a hard freeze.

As far as a tendency for cloud cover to reach far south, I can't say about a general trend.  This year it was the opposite.  We had a clear night during the Christmas 2022 debacle with a dew point of 14F.  Figured we were going to see low 20s and have some newly open real estate in the garden, but the temperature stopped dropping for no particular reason.

Usually, one coast or the other gets hit a little harder.  1989 hit the east coast of Florida a bit harder than the west coast (Tampa had mid 20s while Orlando had high teens).  In 2008, most places east of US-27 didn't go below 30F while it managed to reach 26F here.  Ex. Fernandina Beach got 30F in far NE FL.

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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12 hours ago, Can't think of username said:

Some thoughts I have on mentioned places:

-On the warmer end, I find it absolutely spectacular the effects of the peninsula for St. Petersburg. Advective cold fronts can only do so much (ie: Christmas last year only got them down to 2C), and during radiational cooling I have literally seen at least 1 time when they were as warm as Miami airport (both 6C, January 30 2022).
What's more, they've only reached 0C twice I believe during the 1991-2020 normals. If memory serves this is the same number of times as West Palm Beach airport and 1 less than Homestead airport, even though they are tropical and it is Cfa with colder lows than both🤯! Must be one of the most moderate, if not THE most moderate, climates in Florida relative to latitude and averages.

Keep in mind the St. Petersburg station produces unrealistic numbers. It’s at the end of Whitted Airport extending far into the harbor; basically the most favorable siting possible.

IMG_0423.thumb.png.673aabf3f11497ab0fcc2f98c106dcce.png

There are places in St. Pete that could match that, like Tropical Shores for example, but that station really isn’t representative of the city as a whole. 

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Westchase | 9b 10a  ◆  Nokomis | 10a  ◆  St. Petersburg | 10a 10b 

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When i lived in largo we only went below freezing in 2018 (after the 2010 event, nonidea before that).  Then this past Christmas freeze did.  We never protected anything in the yard except orchids on occasion but it was always colder than that station on the bay.  Sunken gardens was the same way, outside that small area there or the barrier islands its much more like a warm 10a area now with the urban environment. Outside the 2018 freeze my lowest temp was 34 but it always went to 37 or below at least once.  This was a dense neighborhood of single family homes off ulmerton rd. and starkey blvd.  In more open areas frost and a slight freeze is more likely.  I dont think this is possible without both the city and water so it is a gem-but its not South Florida. Chillier too of course.  And up here by Aripeka it was much cooler until someone turned the oven on in july.  Even if the ultimate low is not far off, the chill hours and cooler weather limits some plants that grow fine further south, making zone designations not as useful. And the hotter temps now limit some amazing palms that love the other 8 months of the year🙄.

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  • 1 month later...

I found while working a website that may take the place of a current hardiness map. climatetoolbox.org has a climate mapper section with shaded temp data and historical vs projected trends.  It goes pretty in depth with number of freezes per year and dates they occured too and averages them out. My area averages to 29 which is close to what I estimated. It may be useful or just a fun site to play with I have not explored much yet.

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4 hours ago, flplantguy said:

I found while working a website that may take the place of a current hardiness map. climatetoolbox.org has a climate mapper section with shaded temp data and historical vs projected trends.  It goes pretty in depth with number of freezes per year and dates they occured too and averages them out. My area averages to 29 which is close to what I estimated. It may be useful or just a fun site to play with I have not explored much yet.

Gave it a quick look.  A lot of data in one place.

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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  • 2 months later...

Not sure which thread this fits best, but yesterday an atmospheric scientist and meteorologist went viral on Twitter with his ‘Weathergami’ graphics.  Each dot represents the high and low temperatures for a specific day in the time period listed on the graph. Seeing the diurnal spreads, along with outlier days (hotter or colder than normal) I found very interesting.  Hope others enjoy as well! May try to recreate these in the future. 

IMG_6514.jpeg

IMG_6516.jpeg

IMG_6515.jpeg

IMG_6487.jpeg

IMG_6488.jpeg

IMG_6489.jpeg

IMG_6490.jpeg

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Clearly all the microclimate, close to water etc stuff falls off exponentially based on distance from the heat source during radiational events. Being downwind during advective events obviously helps based on these graphics.  And I’m gonna say it again, being near a mediocre sized retention pond like often found in many a central Florida home development does not help your garden…they just make lots of steam that freezes to your plants during radiational events and they are too small to meaningful during advective events. 

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Parrish, FL

Zone 9B

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It takes the multi thousand acre lakes on the lake wales ridge to make a true difference with inland bodies of water in central and south Florida in my opinion. 

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Parrish, FL

Zone 9B

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Elevation is more important on radiational nights. You can be a couple miles from Tampa Bay but  in a low spot and get nailed while people 2 meters higher had a non event.  

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Parrish, FL

Zone 9B

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Latitude matters. The farther south the better. It can briefly get colder farther south from here on any given night but they recover much faster so overall chilling hours are less, less palm damage. And warmer overall which means palms don’t go night night. They keep growing. Important for Florida palm growers anyway. I know our pacific coast friends can get away with palm dormancy in the winter but that don’t work here.  Palms that go dormant here in winter rot.  

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Parrish, FL

Zone 9B

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As far as zone maps, I encourage all of those willing to do the work to continue: it is fun and interesting. I personally have taken the stance of looking at what grows near me as a guide to what I might try. Ficus grows naturally within a kilometer of me. We’ve all pointed out how the resolution of these maps fail for one reason or another. We are enthusiasts and can bend the rules a little using our knowledge of microclimates 

Edited by ruskinPalms
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Parrish, FL

Zone 9B

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And…for the record coconuts grow all over the place in manatee county. There is a thin sliver of true (ok..I know…) zone 10 close to the coast and bay anyway. There are plenty of native tropical plants native to that sliver…there a lot of the same plants native to the southeast side of Florida…

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Parrish, FL

Zone 9B

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11 hours ago, JJPalmer said:

Not sure which thread this fits best, but yesterday an atmospheric scientist and meteorologist went viral on Twitter with his ‘Weathergami’ graphics.  Each dot represents the high and low temperatures for a specific day in the time period listed on the graph. Seeing the diurnal spreads, along with outlier days (hotter or colder than normal) I found very interesting.  Hope others enjoy as well! May try to recreate these in the future. 

IMG_6514.jpeg

IMG_6516.jpeg

IMG_6515.jpeg

IMG_6487.jpeg

IMG_6488.jpeg

IMG_6489.jpeg

IMG_6490.jpeg

Very cool! Let me know if you want any help reproducing these, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be especially challenging to accomplish using Python.

5 hours ago, ruskinPalms said:

It takes the multi thousand acre lakes on the lake wales ridge to make a true difference with inland bodies of water in central and south Florida in my opinion. 

Positioning on the lake seems to make a huge difference too. In the Tampa area, Lake Tarpon is the only lake I’ve conclusively seen creating favorable microclimates. The only part of Lake Tarpon that seems to get a boost is the western stretch from Al Anderson to roughly where the red marker is. 
IMG_2254.thumb.png.6e1673305a6647686981fe5c4c2f0522.png

I think the reason for this is on cold nights the wind is from the NNE so that western stretch is downwind of the lake on cold nights. Meanwhile, I haven’t seen evidence that the eastern side of the lake gets any benefit whatsoever. 

I’m getting off on a tangent here, but it’s actually a very interesting area. The east side is flat and swampy and 9b by all indications, while the west side is hilly and 10a. There are a lot of ficus growing on the west side that I’ve never seen on the east side roughly a mile across. Here’s one from Al Anderson park I saw a couple weeks ago:

IMG_2213.thumb.jpeg.634b52fd674192b88e742e6685850ab9.jpeg
 

It’s growing on the lake at the base of a ~40ft hill. 

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Westchase | 9b 10a  ◆  Nokomis | 10a  ◆  St. Petersburg | 10a 10b 

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6 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

Very cool! Let me know if you want any help reproducing these, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be especially challenging to accomplish using Python.

Positioning on the lake seems to make a huge difference too. In the Tampa area, Lake Tarpon is the only lake I’ve conclusively seen creating favorable microclimates. The only part of Lake Tarpon that seems to get a boost is the western stretch from Al Anderson to roughly where the red marker is. 
IMG_2254.thumb.png.6e1673305a6647686981fe5c4c2f0522.png

I think the reason for this is on cold nights the wind is from the NNE so that western stretch is downwind of the lake on cold nights. Meanwhile, I haven’t seen evidence that the eastern side of the lake gets any benefit whatsoever. 

I’m getting off on a tangent here, but it’s actually a very interesting area. The east side is flat and swampy and 9b by all indications, while the west side is hilly and 10a. There are a lot of ficus growing on the west side that I’ve never seen on the east side roughly a mile across. Here’s one from Al Anderson park I saw a couple weeks ago:

IMG_2213.thumb.jpeg.634b52fd674192b88e742e6685850ab9.jpeg
 

It’s growing on the lake at the base of a ~40ft hill. 

It's absolutely the wind direction and the lake.  Up here I'm closer to the Gulf than they are, but have dry sandhills inland all the way that cold NNE wind comes from and on radiational nights, which will slowly migrate to the coast and drop the last three hours or so to inland temps. That pattern used to hold all the way down to lake tarpon but with the city there now it's muted.  Before development it was more common to see regular mid 20s in Elfers (new Port Richey)on normal events and the area now is pretty much zone ten.  Add dry soils and sandhills away from water and cityscape, and you get some crazy readings like weeki watchee has from the 80s freezes. Mornings are radically different up here than Pinellas anywhere and south Pinellas is even warmer day to day. Our landscape work made it noticable each winter. I'm not looking forward to frozen dew.

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17 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

It’s growing on the lake at the base of a ~40ft hill. 

That does look really good... definitely not something that experienced the 24F at the water plant reported.

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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20 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

That does look really good... definitely not something that experienced the 24F at the water plant reported.

I think that reading was wrong. There are a few of them at that station on different events, and all say 24 degrees and don't seem to fit with the other readings around it.  Damage too is not like a 24 would indicate on the street views around it.  No idea what would cause that type of issue though.

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1 hour ago, kinzyjr said:

That does look really good... definitely not something that experienced the 24F at the water plant reported.

 

1 hour ago, flplantguy said:

I think that reading was wrong. There are a few of them at that station on different events, and all say 24 degrees and don't seem to fit with the other readings around it.  Damage too is not like a 24 would indicate on the street views around it.  No idea what would cause that type of issue though.

What year was this? It’s not in the warmest part of Tarpon, but should be 9b at worst. The lakeshore and points west of Pinellas Ave are probably a half zone warmer than the water plant.

Edited by RedRabbit
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Westchase | 9b 10a  ◆  Nokomis | 10a  ◆  St. Petersburg | 10a 10b 

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1 hour ago, flplantguy said:

I think that reading was wrong. There are a few of them at that station on different events, and all say 24 degrees and don't seem to fit with the other readings around it.  Damage too is not like a 24 would indicate on the street views around it.  No idea what would cause that type of issue though.

 

17 minutes ago, RedRabbit said:

What year was this? It’s not in the warmest part of Tarpon, but should be 9b at worst. The lakeshore and points west of Pinellas Ave are probably a half zone warmer than the water plant.

We all three agree that this is likely erroneous or taken in some kind of cold wormhole.  I think we determined on another thread that the Wunderground data tended to coalesce around a much higher number. 

One of the threads where I mentioned other stations in the area - leading me to believe it was closer to 32F vs. 24F:

https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/topic/66320-florida-freeze-and-weather-station-data/?do=findComment&comment=1113509

The records for December 2020 are shown below as this is when that annual low is set.  Several of the other seem suspect as well.  I don't even remember my low temperature for that year, but since I don't remember, it probably wasn't anywhere under 30F.  This site should have at least the same readings or better.
image.png.7b925b7672b5584839885b17656e8669.png

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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56 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

 

We all three agree that this is likely erroneous or taken in some kind of cold wormhole.  I think we determined on another thread that the Wunderground data tended to coalesce around a much higher number. 

One of the threads where I mentioned other stations in the area - leading me to believe it was closer to 32F vs. 24F:

https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/topic/66320-florida-freeze-and-weather-station-data/?do=findComment&comment=1113509

The records for December 2020 are shown below as this is when that annual low is set.  Several of the other seem suspect as well.  I don't even remember my low temperature for that year, but since I don't remember, it probably wasn't anywhere under 30F.  This site should have at least the same readings or better.
image.png.7b925b7672b5584839885b17656e8669.png

Ah, I see, thanks! Yeah, definitely a bad reading. It’s not immune from the cold, but certainly hasn’t been that cold since at least Dec 2010. 

Westchase | 9b 10a  ◆  Nokomis | 10a  ◆  St. Petersburg | 10a 10b 

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9 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

Ah, I see, thanks! Yeah, definitely a bad reading. It’s not immune from the cold, but certainly hasn’t been that cold since at least Dec 2010. 

This conversation jogged my memory.  We had a similar reading pop up twice in December 2022.  Just looking at the siting for the water plant, it's below the Anclote River and west of US-19, which is generally where I start the Gulf Coast zone 10a line on my maps since the stations other than this one seem to support that notion.  You can all but guarantee that Ficus didn't see anything close to these numbers during the December 2022 Christmas Freeze:
image.png.a0fa295b7892b77c6fe0d8a79f85bd48.png

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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November 15 at 1230 eastern time the USDA is having a zoom press conference to talk about and release the new updated hardiness zone map.  I registered to watch but may miss it for work but I'm looking forward to seeing what they have on it.

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1 hour ago, flplantguy said:

November 15 at 1230 eastern time the USDA is having a zoom press conference to talk about and release the new updated hardiness zone map.  I registered to watch but may miss it for work but I'm looking forward to seeing what they have on it.

Hoping I can tune in during lunch:
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2023/11/08/2776624/0/en/MEDIA-ADVISORY-USDA-Agency-To-Release-2023-Plant-Hardiness-Zone-Map-on-Nov-15.html

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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On 11/11/2023 at 8:10 PM, flplantguy said:

November 15 at 1230 eastern time the USDA is having a zoom press conference to talk about and release the new updated hardiness zone map.  I registered to watch but may miss it for work but I'm looking forward to seeing what they have on it.

Great find, get your map guesses in here:

 

Westchase | 9b 10a  ◆  Nokomis | 10a  ◆  St. Petersburg | 10a 10b 

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On 5/19/2022 at 12:48 AM, RedRabbit said:

I made a quick zone map for West Central and Southwest Florida. This map is based on weather station data and my observations of what grows where. 

 

SWFL_Map2.png.df134748179aec6fda1a1fd87a354912.png

  1. Green: 9b+
  2. Orange: 10a-
  3. Brown: 10a+
  4. Red: 10b-
  5. Purple: 10B+
  6. Pink: 11a-

 

  • *Areas unshaded simply aren't rated.
  • **No guarantee of accuracy, don't plant anything based on this.

So USDA's 2023 map actually agreed with me on z11 in Lee County with almost the exact same boundaries:

image.thumb.png.19a4ff4bd3d1b1ca48f1f40807c41de3.png

Are they using our forum? lol

Edited by RedRabbit
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Westchase | 9b 10a  ◆  Nokomis | 10a  ◆  St. Petersburg | 10a 10b 

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4 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

So USDA's 2023 map actually agreed with me on z11 in Lee County with almost the exact same boundaries:

Are they using our forum? lol

I had wondered that.  Their map was a bit more generous with the zone 10a on the I-4 corridor than any of our maps, but this thread seems to line up pretty well with the new map. 

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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  • 2 months later...

For Tampa,  one theory I’ve held is that Ballast Point should have the best microclimate thinks to having water on to its northeast. This theory has held up well over the past couple of winters and Ballast Point really does appear to be the warmest spot in Tampa, not much colder than coastal St. Petersburg. 

 

IMG_2795.png

Edited by RedRabbit
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Westchase | 9b 10a  ◆  Nokomis | 10a  ◆  St. Petersburg | 10a 10b 

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