You probably envision tropical beaches and plenty of sunshine when you think of Tampa. However, what else makes Tampa unique? We have created this short article about the climate, wildlife, and inhabitants of Tampa to give you a good idea of what to expect.
There are more than 350,000 people living in Tampa. According to the latest census data from 2010, people who identify as white make up over 62 percent of the population, more than one out of every four residents is African-American, one out of every thirty individuals is Asian, and Hispanic residents make up 23 percent of the population. 51 percent of the people who live in Tampa are women, and older adults aged 65 years or older make up eleven percent of the population.
Tampa has a diverse population that attracts people from across the country and globe. More than fifteen percent of residents were born outside of this country, and over a quarter speak languages other than English at home. The University of South Florida’s Center for Community Design and Research has put together the Hillsborough Community Atlas (Hillsborough County is where Tampa is located). This resource includes interactive maps that show where various ethnic communities are located within the City of Tampa.
Tampa is situated on the southern fringe of the humid subtropical climate, though the city displays characteristics of a tropical climate. The summers feature frequent thunderstorms and hot days with average highs of about 90 degrees. Rain is less common in the fall and winter, and the temperatures are mild with average highs in the low to mid-70s.
When it comes to natural forces, there are a few dangers in Tampa. The Tampa Bay area is known as the “Lightning Capital of North America” because of the frequent lightning strikes that lead to an average of ten deaths per year. With the thunderstorms, come heavy downpours and occasional hail. Tampa has avoided direct hits from hurricanes since 1921, though there are tropical storms every few years.
The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council has put a lot of thought into preparing for catastrophes in the area. In 2004, it appeared that Hurricane Charley would hit Tampa. This prompted one of the largest and most successful evacuations in Florida history. In addition, if you are concerned about lightning, avoid open fields during thunderstorms, do not carry metal objects, and unplug any electronics you are not using in your house.
Tampa is not all thunderstorms. In fact, it is home to some of the most interesting animal and plant species on earth. There are free field guides from the Southwest Florida Water Management District that you can use to explore the diversity of wildlife.
Some of the fauna include manatees, shrimp, crabs, bottlenose dolphins, and a long list of bird species, such as brown pelicans, cormorants, laughing gulls, Roseate spoonbills, heron, and more. Tampa also has many different types of wildflowers.
The biggest threat from animals in Tampa is the American alligator. They generally avoid humans, but to stay safe, avoid going near fresh water and never feed alligators.
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