If there is one thing we can say about the weather in Tampa Bay, it’s that it’s completely unpredictable. One morning we can wake up to a chilly 52 degrees, and by the evening we can be in shorts and a t-shirt again. Depending on the season, we might also be battling thunderstorms, lightning and the occasional funnel cloud. Are you prepared for Florida’s crazy weather? Read on to find out.
Oppressive heat and suffocating humidity
Even in the middle of winter, it can still get into the 80s, and it’s not unusual to be over 100 degrees in the summer months. Combine that with an average relative humidity of 60 percent and you’ve got a recipe for heat exhaustion if you’re not careful. Be sun smart and plan ahead, especially if you’re tailgating with children. Generously slather on some SPF 30 sunscreen at least a half an hour before the party starts, and be sure to re-apply it every four hours or so as needed. Also provide yourself and your family with some shade, whether it’s a tent (10′ by 10′ or smaller to meet Raymond James Stadium’s requirements), a beach umbrella or at the very least, hats and sunglasses. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks, and go easy on the beer. If you drink too much alcohol, you can risk dehydration, which in turn can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Tampa residents are no strangers to thunderstorms, and it takes more than a little — or even a lot — of rain to crash a Bucs tailgate party. However, for your safety, follow storm advisory statements given by Raymond James Stadium in the event of severe weather. If a storm appears to be particularly nasty, you will be asked to seek shelter within your vehicle. Some of the lots around the stadium may even be closed temporarily until the storm passes. There is no reason to panic — just be sure to follow any directives that are given.
Funnel clouds and tornadoes
Funnel clouds and tornadoes are fairly common, particularly during hurricane season. They tend to be weak and short-lived during the summer, and stronger — though far less common — during the winter months. While it’s quite rare that tornadoes cause significant damage in the Tampa area, it helps to know what to do if you see one. Stay inside your car with the windows up. If you’re not near your vehicle, seek shelter in a restroom or other area with sturdy walls. At the very least, remember to stay low. If you are caught outside while a tornado is approaching, lie down while covering your head and neck. Most importantly, don’t panic — most funnel clouds and tornadoes dissipate before causing any real damage.
Tampa Bay is know as the lightning capital of the nation. Around here, lightning is not something to take lightly. If you can hear the thunder after seeing lightning, that means you are most likely within striking range and safety precautions are necessary. The first thing you need to do is seek shelter, either in your vehicle or inside the stadium. If you are in your vehicle, keep the doors and windows closed. If possible, avoid trees, high ground and open spaces. If Raymond James Stadium gives a directive to remain inside your vehicle, stay there until further notice.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.