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    MacDill AFB, FL Local Information

    Tampa is the closest major city to MacDill. It has about 346,000 people, and is in Hillsborough County, which has a population of about 1.3 million people. The other nearby city is St. Petersburg, a community of about 245,000. There are other somewhat nearby communities, including Clearwater and Brandon, both cities of over 100,000, and several smaller communities, but none within reliable 30 minutes commuting range of base.

    It is about 10 miles from downtown Tampa to MacDill; this takes about 21 minutes to commute, but the city can have thick traffic, and the peninsula can be jammed, so travel times can vary significantly. The average commute in Tampa is about 23 minutes.

    The Tampa Bay area is a major metropolitan area with a full set of businesses, but the local economy is dominated by marine, aviation, and defense support industries, information technology, medical device and equipment design and manufacture, and financial firms.

    Local Housing Rental Prices: The average apartment rent in the Tampa area ranges from $700 to $950 per month, with a median of about $825 per month.

    Local Housing Purchase Prices: The average price for a house in Tampa is about $180,000, compared to $183,000 for Florida.

    Short Description of the Area: Tampa is one of three cities making up the Tampa Bay metro area, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater. Tampa is the third largest city, and the Tampa Bay area is the second largest metro area, in Florida. Tampa Bay is on the west coast of Florida, about at the midline of the state. Depending on which version you accept, the Tampa Bay is either all of the cities on the coast of the Tampa Bay, or a larger area, the counties on Tampa Bay, making the population somewhere between 2.8 and 4.3 million people. Overall the area is generally sunny, humid, with regular short rain showers.

    MacDill AFB is on the South Tampa peninsula, between Old Tampa Bay and Hillsborough Bay, somewhat isolated from the rest of the Bay area, but still in the middle of everything.

    Climate and Weather: The area has a humid, subtropical, warm climate, with winter temperatures of the low 70s to low 50s and summer temperatures of the low 90s to mid-70s. The area has four seasons, with actual differences. Winters are relatively dry, with about 6 inches of rain a month, and mild days with cool nights; freezing temperatures are uncommon and snow is very very rare. Springs are warmer, and progressively drier until a sudden reversal in June. Summers wet and hot, with up to 16 inches of rain a month and stormy weather. Falls gradually cool off and dry off to winter levels.

    Tampa is well known for summer storms, driven by powerful thermals off the Gulf and Bay. Storms here can range from simple rain and heavy downpours to thunderstorms and tropical storms. Tampa Bay has very frequent lightning strikes, and is called the Lightning Capital of North America; new residents will want to be sure they have serious surge protection, insurance, and regular data backups. Tampa storms also include small tornadoes and waterspouts and small gauge hail; the hail is not very large, and neither are the twisters, but be aware. Despite all this storming, Tampa Bay has not taken a direct hit from a hurricane since 1921, although some have drenched the area. Be prepared anyway, and have an emergency kit on hand.