Starting in late May …
South Florida’s air temperatures plateau.
This hydrograph compares air temperatures in Naples and Gainesville, Florida. Each graph shows the normal (light gray) and record (dark gray) statistics in the background. Despite Gainesville getting colder during the winter, both places lock into the “summer plateau” mode come the end of May. How long will it last? Answer: Into September for Gainesville, and through most of October for south Florida.
By plateau, I mean they flatline, or stay steady, at an elevated height. That height is expressed in two numbers: A daytime high in the high 80s and the nighttime low in the low seventies. So remember that the next time you’re standing knee deep in the summer swamp looking in the distance at a giant mountainous cloud (or range of mountainous clouds) rising up and approaching.
Driving into the cloud on a plateau-like levee called the Tamiami Trail
The swamp isn’t as low as it seems, but rather a summer plateau that gives us expansive views of the cumulonimbus clouds as they rise.
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Swamp History: 10,000 years ago, south Florida was in fact a peninsula, both high and dry and perched 350 feet above sea level.