Key West weather

The weather will have a big impact on your Key West vacation. You'll get the best weather December through May but Key West does have seasonal weather and so outside of that time the weather can be challenging in terms of rain and, in particular, humidity. Nothing is worse that 2 weeks of bad weather on a vacation so is that possible in Key West? Not really: 99% unlikely. The worst I have had is rain for a few days as a storm front passes through and again, you'll likely get this in the rainy season June through November inclusive. But as I said, the weather really is different during the rainy season so read on for more information.
A typical Key West afternoon sky, complete with Key West palm tree blowing in the nice breeze. A few majestic clouds float by but it's still pretty hot. 
Well let me answer all of these Key West weather related questions. To read more about when it's the best time to visit Key West - click here.

Key West weather is fantastic

Let's start with the good news. Key West is never cold! It's never been below freezing in Key West and it's never been above 100 degrees. Yep, that's right.  Key West has never had a frost, snow or ice. The coldest ever temperature in KW was 41 degrees F (or 5 degrees C) in 1886 and again in 1981 - both in January. The hottest was exactly 100 degrees on three different days, all in 1880.

So the temperature does not vary that much. KW is, for me, an 'always shorts' destination all year round - I've always worn shorts, day and night, every single visit, whenever in the year - it's that warm.

By day, it's 74 degrees in January, which is the coolest month, and then that steadily goes up to August when it averages 90 degrees during the day.

There's not that much rain, see below.

And Key West is the sunniest place in Florida.  In fact, it's the 12th sunniest place in the entire USA, being sunny 76% of the time (between sunrise and sunset).

Just look at that sky.  Key West has more sunshine than anywhere else in Florida so the light is fantastic.  It makes taking pictures easy.
So what's the problem then? Here are the complications:

Rain

August and September are the months to be more worried. The rain is tropical (i.e. it will rank hard. But most rain in Key West falls in the night. I can't guarantee you won't have several rainy days but more of a problem than ran is high humidity.

There is a big difference in Key West between the daily tropical rain shower and a storm front.

This is actually a storm front. It rained for a few hours. But as it's Key West, some crazy guy went crazy!  This on Duval Street. This is proper tropical rain, very heavy, see the layer of water on the road.
So, if you look at the rain statistics you'll see that September has on average 15 rainy days in the month. Most of that is the tropical rain shower type. It happens in summer a lot. It's heavy rain that lasts, typically, an hour every other day, normally in the morning or overnight. It won't ruin your vacation, in fact it'll make you feel quite tropical!  Click here for my previous post of me experiencing a Key West tropical rain shower and the impact on my vacation day!

As for the other type - a storm front - well, it can rain for days! Days on end of rain, heavy, 'puddles-the-size-of-a-small-lake' rain.  Unfortunately there is no way of predicting a storm front.  If you catch one, it's just bad luck.

So, generally, rain is not an issue. Key West is the driest place in Florida - Miami is MUCH wetter, as are a lot of other American cities and vacation destinations.

What do do when it rains in Key West - click here.

This is shortly after a rain burst as you can see from the condition of the road (here it's Upper Duval Street). It's hot and humid!  But the rain has gone, it didn't last long and as you can see visitors and locals alike are soon back to doing their thing.
















Humidity

Ok, there is no getting away from this and it's the weather factor likely to impact you the most. From the beginning of July through to most of October it's hot AND very, very humid. Even popping out for a quick walk to get a cold beer will result in a very sweaty (dripping, sweat marks on your t-shirt, dying to return to the AC) you.

This does not mean you should not visit in the rainy season, in fact far from it - click this link to see here for some good reasons to visit in the off season (it's quieter, cheaper and the heat is fun for some!).

Hurricanes and Key West

Hurricane season is 1 June to November 30 every year. Hurricanes very rarely hit Key West. I mean, they do hit the Keys (and Key West) and have several times in the past to disasterous effects, but it's so rare that you should not let it be a factor in your vacation choice. Far more of a factor of travelling this time of the year should be your attitude towards the humidity issue.

Even bang in the middle of 'peak hurricane season' in October, you can plan a Key West vacation without worrying about a hurricane hitting!

The last time a hurricane had an impact was way back in 2005 with Wilma.The island was mandatory evacuated of all people.  Don't worry I've visited here 20 times, many times in hurricane season (once 2 weeks after Wilma), and I've never seen a hurricane yet!


Other interesting stuff on my Key West blog:

The best months to visit Key West - month by month guide

Planning a Key West vacation - your questions answered

Key West hotels - the best hotels, my favorites, lots of picture, lots of information on where to stay

Things to do in Key West - Conch train, harbor walk, lighthouse, Hemmingway house, bars and drag shows.  What's the best?