big weather

Steaming swamp
Think hot asphalt after a cool rain

From the distance it looked like smoke …

Or maybe dust kicked up from the limerock road.

It looked primordial, but it was actually super chilled

Only upon closer inspection did we see it was steam.

The source?

Similar to a hot asphalt road steaming after getting cooled down by an afternoon shower, the wisps of water vapor hovering over the cypress stand were the result of an ice-cold drenching from a super thunder cell.

The super cell, looking north, about 15 mile east of the strand

As good fortune would have it, I actually took a photo of the thunderstorm about an hour before and 15 miles upwind from the steaming strand. The air among the wisps was incredibly cooled and the fragrance from the cypress intense. Landing and walking in the water was further proof.

The water was chilled as if it had hailed.

hydrologic holidays

Florida Groundhog Day
Does the groundhog's shadow portend early fall?

South Florida doesn’t have a winter, therefore by definition it can’t have a Groundhog Day?

Or is it just hiding in plain sight instead?

Groundhog and cloud
Is that a cloud,
or a Giant Groundhog?

Groundhog Day on the continent is a celebration that celestial winter is half way done. By contrast in south Florida we are content to never let winter never end.

Our summer on the other hand is another story.

What continental transplant (me included) hasn’t at some point during Florida’s unending summer craved a little dose of fall air, especially come Labor Day when friends and relatives from “up state” and “off peninsula” are just beginning to rejoice in the first of many rounds of crisp autumnal air. Meanwhile down on the south peninsula we are left to sweat out another six weeks of Old Man Summer. It usually isn’t until Mid October that finally (and at long last) a cold front blasts through.

In my mind that’s what makes Labor Day South Florida’s Groundhog Day equivalent.

Will Summer end soon? Answer: See above

Only south Florida’s groundhog doesn’t emerge from ground to look for his shadow: It appears as giant cloud (see photo above) …

Casting a shadow on us instead.

temperature check

Summer’s final stretch?
Or is it closer to the middle point?

Up north on the Continent …

August is the summer’s final month.

Compare that to south Florida where the summer showers don’t start to shut down until early October (two months away) and peak hurricane season is still churning until Halloween (three months away).

Or in other words, buckle down south Floridians:

Summer’s second half has now just begun.

Warm winter days
But save the sweater for summer!

It’s easy to confuse winter …

For summer in south Florida.

Chart showing winter warmth in Naples FLA, 1970 – present

The reason?

Around half the winter rises up to or above 80° F. That qualifies as summer-like weather if you’re from Up North.

This winter only about 40 percent of the days rose above 80° F, markedly down from the previous five winters. But look at the three-year run of cool winters from 2008 to 2010 when only a quarter of the winter days in Naples broke the 80 degree plane. Or the scorching hot winters of the early 70s when the winter mercury mark topped 80 three times as much.

My point?

In south Florida we often mistaken winter for summer, but rarely do we get it confused the other way around. (That doesn’t mean you don’t need a sweater in the summer when the air conditioning is too low!)

70 degree rule

People winter in Florida, as in the verb.

We call them snow birds.

Naples enjoys 3 weeks of winter to 20 weeks of summer

To them, without a doubt …

Winter the noun does not exist in south Florida.

But for us “year rounders” the thermometer couldn’t be more clear. We go by the 70 degree rule. What is the 70 degree rule? Any day that doesn’t rise above 70° F is winter and any night that doesn’t drop below 70° F is summer. That gives us on average 18 days of winter and 130 days of summer. As for the rest of the days, us “year rounders” call those spring and fall; or in the parlance of the northerners, “– that’s ridiculous, it’s all summer!”

End of rains

It’s a long summer in south Florida …

And then suddenly like a flip of a switch the rains stop.

Columbus Day is a meteorological turning point in south Florida

Well, maybe it isn’t that fast.

But it is in early October that Florida’s “home grown” afternoon rain machine shuts down for the year.

That doesn’t mean we won’t yet get external rain from the tropics or northern fronts.

Summer – clouds = Very hot!

Humidity and shade …

Usually help stifle back Florida’s high noon sun.

We’re now in the summer plateau:
Daytime highs and lows nineties and
nighttime lows in the high seventies
for the next 3-4 months

Not this week!

A run of mostly cloud-free days allowed the heat to build up and persist.

To make matters worse, Labor Day is still two months away.

Not that Labor Day even matters.

Comparison of Naples
to other places along
the East Coast

Summer’s grip in south Florida won’t relent until mid October.

Suffice it to say, the summer slog is upon us.

Our only hope is for the clouds and rains to return soon!

Cool summer?

The temperature chart doesn’t show it …

But doesn’t it seem like it’s cooling down?

Can you see how the
nighttime lows are rising
faster than daytime highs? 

The reason?

The regular build up of afternoon clouds and most of all the rains.

It’s a long hot summer ahead,

But it’s start always feels so refreshingly cool.

History of warm winter days

As tourist attractions go,

South Florida has its fair share.

The above chart shows the percentage of winter days
that daytime air temperatures climbed into the 80s

But who could argue that “summer like” winter weather …

Is not the number one thing that visitors covet most.

Okay, maybe its water, too.

End of long summer in sight?

September was strangely rainless,

And October was unusually hot.

Summer drags on in Naples, Florida

I hear cooler weather is headed our way this weekend.

Along with it I also hope it brings a front.

By front a mean some good rain!