To south, and nearly as many miles from east to west. Florida has the
65 snakes. Florida is relatively flat, especially in south Florida, rising no
Higher than 230 feet above sea level. More than 1700 rivers flow through
Florida, while 7800 natural lakes fill the states interior, including Lake
Okeechobee, the second largest lake in the continental United States. Florida
has nearly 1350 miles of coastline, more than any other state except Alaska.
The Florida Natural Areas Inventory distinguishes eighty-one different
Communities in Florida, ranging from beach dunes to tidal swamps. No state
Things and natural systems.
What gives Florida its many remarkable differences are the warm,
Helps to contribute to the wonderful mixing of temperature and tropical life
Forms. In south Florida and in the Keys are several different species of
Tropical invertebrates and many birds from the West Indies and the Bahamas.
Tropical trees and vegetation dominate the southern half of the state, with
Tropical plants extending into northern Florida beneath a canopy of temperate
The Florida peninsula extends into the warm waters of the Gulf of
Water, it has not become desert like many other land masses at the same
Latitude, such as northern Mexico or the Sahara Desert. Instead, Florida’s
Climate ranges from temperate in north Florida to tropical in extreme south
Marked wet season of May through October and a dry season of November
Florida averages forty to fifty-five inches of rain annually most falling
In the summer from afternoon thunderstorms. These thunderstorms produce
Tumultuous downpours and frequent lightning. More lightning strikes occur in
Florida than anywhere else in the world except certain areas of Australia.
Although the northern half can receive significant rainfall from cold fronts
Pushing down from the north. The amount of rain decreases as the fronts
Move into the central and southern parts of the peninsula. After a cold front
Has pushed through, freezing conditions sometimes occur in the Panhandle
Northern Florida, while temperature may dip into lower forties in central and
Southern parts of the state. Regardless of how cold the north wind blows,
Temperatures in the Keys rarely sink below the lower fifties.
June through November is hurricane season in Florida. Tropical waves move off the western coast of Africa and begin their journey across the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea. Some die out, but others continue to strengthen as they drift west and become tropical depressions. If conditions remain favorable for strengthening, tropical depressions can develop into tropical storms with wind speeds of 39-74 mph and hurricane speeds greater then 74 mph. The peak time for hurricanes is September and October, when humidity is consistently high and ocean temperatures are their warmest.
High winds and flooding caused by the storm surge, heavy rain, and storm driven waves and tides cause the greatest damage during hurricanes. Islands can be torn apart, thousands of acres of mangrove swamp can be destroyed, pine forests leveled, and hammocks of giant tropical hardwoods shredded. Coastlines are eroded and dune systems erased.
In spite of the damage hurricanes can cause, natural communities in Florida evolved with hurricanes and recover with time, provided if we give them the chance. Hurricanes are thought to have transported many of the tropical plants found in Florida from the Yucatan peninsula and the West Indies , washing them ashore with waves or bearing their seeds aloft on high winds. Hurricane winds blow down large trees and hardwood hammocks, providing new plant life on the forest floor that speeds up extra light and nutrients resulting from the tear in the forest canopy. Florida Bay depends on periodic hurricanes to mix nutrient-rich waters and help regulate the bays salinity.