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Top 10 must-know signs of fall in Florida

From changing colors to chilly swimming pools, there are numerous things that signify fall in the Sunshine State.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Pumpkins on a farm in the fall during harvest time. Autumn colors.

It won’t look like Vermont, or even Iowa, but Florida does have a fall season. So what are some signs that fall has come to the Sunshine State? Here are the top 10 you’ll want to look for and enjoy.

1) Cold fronts. Cold fronts rarely make it to Florida during the summer season. This keeps us hot and humid for a long period of time. But as fall arrives, cold fronts start to make it farther south. When they make it across Tampa Bay, we see the humidity and temperatures fall, giving the feeling of living in a different climate. 

2) Open windows. As the cold fronts start to trickle in from time-to-time, the dry and comfortable air allows Floridians to turn off that overworked air conditioner and open up the windows to enjoy the cooler air inside.

3) Early sunsets. You’ve already likely noticed the pre-8 p.m. sunsets in September. By Halloween, the sun will be setting at 6:45 p.m. The next night, due to the time change, the sun will set at 5:45 p.m.

4) Pesky hurricanes. Fall is the peak time of the hurricane season. For the west coast, including Tampa Bay, October is an especially busy time as tropical development in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico become more likely. The hurricane season comes to a close at the end of the meteorological fall, on Nov. 30.

5) Rainy season starts to wind down. The rainy season in Tampa Bay generally begins in late May and runs through mid-October. This is when cold fronts stop making it this far south, allowing low temperatures and dew point temperatures to be consistently between 67-70+ degrees. Almost daily showers and thunderstorms form, mainly along the sea breezes colliding. Once the cold fronts start to return in mid-to-late fall, rain becomes less frequent. 

6) Breaking out a jacket. During the first part of fall in Florida, this idea seems ridiculous. Before you know it, a cold front comes barreling toward the state and temperatures fall into the 50s. To a native Floridian, this is usually as exciting as anyone’s favorite holiday. For the record, the average high temperature to start September is 90-degrees. By the end of November, the average high drops to 75-degrees. 

7) Chilly swimming pools. Your pool water is getting colder even if the temperatures remain in the mid to upper 80s. As the days shorten in the fall, the water isn’t exposed to as much sunshine. If you have a pool heater, it’s likely time to start using it.

8) Snowbirds. Fall is usually when we start spotting snowbirds, our northern friends who take residence in Florida to stay warm for the fall and winter months. 

9) Pumpkin patches and corn mazes. 90-degrees, or not, pumpkin patches and corn mazes start to open up across Tampa Bay. 

10) Fall colors. Yes, we get fall colors in Florida. You’ll have to drive north to see the best though. From late October to mid-November, places like the Torreya State Park, west of Tallahassee, have 150-foot bluffs over the Apalachicola River. You’ll find southern sugar maple, sweetgum and sourwood trees blaze red, orange and yellow beginning in late October. 

There is also the 30-mile Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail starts north of Daytona Beach and stretches along the beach and Halifax River, with color provided by red maples and pignut hickory trees, through canopies of moss-hung oaks.

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