Florida The Sunshine State - Florida is blessed with a warm climate, with plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with the northern part of the state experiencing a warm temperate climate while the south is subject to a tropical climate. It can get very hot during the summer months, with humidity around 70% or even higher. Fortunately air-conditioning is ubiquitous and you would be sensible to ensure that your accommodation has air-con installed. There is a definite tropical based rainy season, running from June through to September, so it might be wise to take a poncho or two if visiting the parks during this period.
Focusing on Orlando, the average temperature runs from a January low of around 60F to an August high of around 83F. Temperatures peak in July and August with both months averaging 25 or more days where the maximum temperature exceeds 90F. Conversely, there are only ever a handful of days in the year where the temperature falls below freezing.
From a rainfall perspective, as mentioned above, the rainy season runs from June through to September, with most months in this period experiencing 6 to 7 inches of rain. While the rainfall can be heavy it also appears to be regular with roughly half the days in this period experiencing at least some rain. The winter months are much drier, with April getting less than 2 inches of rain, on average.
Orlando doesn’t get that many days with clear blue skies, due to its tropical climate. The best months for clear days are outside of the rainy season with most months getting around a third of clear days, while for June-Sep there are hardly any! That said, the rain tends to come in short, heavy bursts thereby keeping inconvenience to a minimum.
If you are looking for the time of year when rain is at a minimum and yet the temperatures are reasonably high (at least compared to the UK), April/May would appear to be your best bet, with around 2 inches of rain and temperatures in the mid seventies.
Check out this site, Climate Zone, for more detail
People who visit Florida come here for the fantastic climate, the many parks and attractions or other leisure activities, such as golf. However, while you are enjoying all of the above you might like to know a little of the history of the state. The following is a brief overview of the key historical events which have occurred in what is now known as the state of Florida.
The First Floridians
The first Floridians appeared on the Florida Peninsula well over 10,000 years ago, and would have witnessed a landscape roughly twice the size of what we know now, due to the significantly lower sea levels then in existence. Many of the mammals they would have shared the land with then would be familiar to us now, but a few have become extinct such as the saber-toothed tiger. The early Floridian populace were essentially hunter-gatherers and would rarely have attempted to hunt large game.
Early European Explorers
The first firm evidence of Europeans arriving in Florida, occurs in 1513, in the shape of a Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, who is believed to have landed somewhere on the northeast coat, and who christened this new land La Florida, in honour of the Spanish festival ‘Pascua florida’, which translates as ‘Feast of Flowers’. Ponce de Leon returned in 1521 in what was the first in a number of failed attempts by various Europeans to set up permanent colonies, culminating in the setting up in 1564 of Fort Caroline by Frenchman Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere.
The Spanish became the first European power to establish widespread colonies, although this frequently involved conflict with other European nations including France and England (in the person of Sir Francis Drake). Until around 1600 Spain were undisputed rulers of what we now know as the south-eastern United States, but over the next 150 years or so both the British and the French gradually encroached on their supremacy, until in 1763 Spain lost control.
The British in Charge
Following the Seven Years’ War, which ended in 1763, Britain exchanged Havana, in Cuba, having captured it from Spain during the war, for control of Florida. Spain evacuated the state, leaving the British to pursue ambitious plans for colonisation which were rudely interrupted by the War for American Independence, curtailing British Control after just 20 years. Spain regained control in 1784 as part of the treaty which ended the war. The second period of Spanish control was to see a large increase in the population but was ended in 1821, with the Adams-Onis treaty, which passed control over to the United States.
Florida as a Territory
Florida was now governed as a Territory, on behalf of the United States, and a new capital city was established at Tallahassee in 1824. There then followed a period of population increase, which indirectly led to conflict with Native American Indians, particularly the Seminole, over land ownership, resulting in the forced migration of some Indians. By the 1840s the people of Florida were making strong efforts to develop the area with the eventual ambition to become a State.
Florida as a State
These ambitions were finally realised when on 3rd March 1845, Florida became the 27th State of the United States of America and by 1850 the population had grown to 88,000 with nearly half being African American slaves. The slavery issue was to have a big impact on Florida, as with everywhere else in the US, and not long after Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 presidential election victory, Florida seceded from the Union and joined several other southern states in the Confederate States of America. During the subsequent civil war Florida managed to avoid suffering as badly as other southern states, but was occupied by federal troops when the Confederates lost the war. Many plantation owners attempted to continue production after the slaves were freed, by paying them wages, but this did not prove particularly successful, and much of the land was turned over to tenant farming.
Following the Civil War, Florida continued to develop, with industry such as Citrus growing beginning to flourish and the first tourists arriving in 1870s, attracted by the climate and natural beauty of the landscape. The next few decades saw the state flourish, with a particular focus on property and land development, leading to inflated prices and a property ‘bubble’.
This ‘bubble’ burst in 1926, leaving the state ill-equipped to face the Great Depression when it arrived a couple of years later and hard times were made worse by a series of natural disasters, including a fruit fly infestation which led to a 60% reduction in the citrus crop.
The Second World War and Beyond
The Second World War provided a huge boost to the state with much training of American forces taking place, which led to a surge in infrastructure development. This in turn encouraged further development in the post-war years leading to a steady increase in population which today makes Florida the fourth largest state in the union, in people terms. Further development continues with a huge expansion of tourist attractions and theme parks around Orlando, as well as the expansion of the space program, centred around Cape Canaveral
If you wish to dig a little deeper into Florida’s history this link is a good place to start.