Can we engineer a cold front?

Trees changing colors, a first frost, the smell of burning wood in the air …

Up on The Continent the signs of fall are impossible to miss.

S-12A as seen two days before its closure on October 29th

Here on The South Peninsula, fall presents itself in much more subtle ways.

Among them are:

  • Consecutive nighttime lows of 60 degrees or less, or in other words — our first cold front. We’re still waiting for that one.
  • Shutting down the gates of our water structures to conserve water for the dry season ahead. One of the first to get closed is the S-12A. It was closed on November 1st.

The S-12s are progressively closed starting in the fall and running through the spring as a precautionary measure, and per a multi-agency accord, to protect the endangered Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow in downstream Everglades National Park. This year was a low flow year for the S-12A.

When I was there last, on October 29th, the gates were opened all the way (see photo). Two days later they were completely shut.

Or in other words, one down and one to go:

Now, who’s going to open the meteorologic gate and let that cold air down?

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