Vero Beach is often referred to as ‘where the tropics begin,’meaning that Vero is the Northern most town on the East Coast whose weather is moderated by the warm tropical waters of the Gulf Stream. Vero is also the Southern most town in which our fabled live oaks will thrive, gracing the island with moss-laden canopies that shade neighborhoods.
Looking to escape Old Man Winter? Remember the tropic line, as Northern locales north like Daytona, Amelia Island, Sea Island and Charleston have appreciably colder winters, with average temps in Sea Island 10 degrees colder than Vero and Charleston fully 20 degrees colder than Vero.
Vero’s fortuitous placement between Palm Beach and Cocoa Beach provide lucky residents with balmy winters and scant days in January dipping below 40 degrees. Frosts are a rare occurrence with snow flurries the stuff of legend! Ocean breezes maintain island temperatures year round at an average of 73 degrees.
Seasons, in Florida?!
Transplants and non-residents often presume incorrectly that there is no seasonality to Florida weather. Quickly however, residents come to discern subtle changes in our weather patterns that mark transitions from season to season.
Winter: December through February: highs in the ‘60s with lower humidity; lows can occasionally dip into the 40’s; once a season or so dire warnings are conveyed for a frost, usually for an hour pre-dawn. Growth of grass and landscape slows, requiring only bi-monthly clipping. Ocean temps approximate 60-70 degrees
Spring: February-April: highs begin to increase to the high ‘60s and low ‘70s, with lows in the ‘50s; growing season begins, with verdant green growth visible on landscape and live oaks; groves blossom, scenting the air at dawn and dusk with an intoxicating scent; scant rain
Summer: May-September: increased humidity and heat, often approaching 90 degrees during the day with lows in the ‘60s and ‘70s; rainy season with ‘changeable’ weather, translating into frequent afternoon thunderstorms with drenching rain. Heavy growing season. Ocean temps approximate 70-80 degrees. Ocean breezes maintain temps several degrees below those on the mainland.
Fall: October – December: decreased humidity and growth; daytime and evening temps begin to moderate from peak of summer.
Indigenous LandscapeVero’s unique climate provides for a diverse landscape of plants indigenous plants to both the tropics and lower Eastern seaboard including: Live Oaks, several species of Mangrove, Hibiscus, Bougainvillea, Bananas, Oleander, Gardenia, Bird of Paradise, Jasmine…And a host of Palm Tree species! Residents generally trim their palms annually.
Loggerhead turtles: Indian River County is blessed to be home to loggerhead turtles during their nesting season of May through September. Weighing over 250 lbs as adults, female turtles emerge from the waters of the Atlantic Ocean at night to lay hatches of eggs. While each nest contains approximately 50 eggs, only one egg ultimately hatches and survives through adulthood. During nesting season, oceanfront homeowners must turn off their outside lights by 10pmto avoid confusing the female turtles. Scores of dedicated volunteers roam the beaches during this time to mark nests and their subsequent progress. Disturbing a nest is prohibited; there are organized turtle walks throughout season for persons wishing to spot one of these beauties en route to laying her nest. Call the Environmental Learning Center for more details. The telltale sign that a turtle has been in the area: look for marking that looks a lot a tread from one really big wheel in the sand that runs directly from the water up to the sand dune (her flippers making the distinctive marking; the babies, running perhaps 2 inches stem to stern make the same pattern only a lot smaller.)
One more migration you may not have heard about: blue crabs. Also along the island during the summer you can expect to see gorgeous indigo blue crabs (that look a lot like something from Men In Black) migrating from the Indian River to the Atlantic Ocean to lay their eggs. These beauties are gorgeous but their claws pack a punch, reportedly able to puncture a tire!
Other critters that call Vero home include bobcats, bunnies, geckos, lots of snakes (rarely poisonous), Florida Panthers (endangered, only 75 left in existence), Pelicans, Sandpipers and yes, sharks and alligators. Found in the deeper troths of the ocean (especially at dawn and dusk), our sharks are usually bull sharks that are not known for aggression to humans. Locals quickly become familiar with the presence of often yellow-bellied ‘bait’ fish as a lure to bring sharks in closer than normal to shore. Alligators prefer fresh water, making our part-salt part-fresh briny Indian River unappealing to gators. Irrigation lakes and ponds have been known to see a gator every couple of years but they’re more commonly found in our intricate canal system along the mainland and in larger bodies of inland freshwater like Cypress Lakeout by Yeehaw Junction.