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Labor Day in Florida
Or should it be called a different holiday instead?

Labor Day is celebrated up North on the continent as the start of the fall season – sweater weather, brisk mornings and pumpkin spiced dishes of all sorts. Can you guess what holiday Labor Day better resembles in south Florida?

a. Valentines Day

b. Father’s Day

c. April Fools

d. Groundhog Day

e. Fourth of July

Answer: https://www.gohydrology.org

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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.

Mid-summer milestone
Why pond apples never fall far from the tree

Hearing the ker-plunk of a pond apple …

Into the center of a dome is a rite of passage in the swamp.

Holding a pond apple in Big Cypress National Preserve
Pond apples are found in the center of cypress domes

It also indicates two things:

Summer is advancing (thus it falling) and water is deep (thus the ker-plunk).

And how do you measure the worth of a pond apple?

Floating pond apple in the center of a cypress dome
As seen looking towards the dome’s lighted center

What happens next after the ker-plunk?

The pond apple floats!

And starts to drift.

In the direction of sheet flow (until a log snags on a log).

Pond apples rarely drift far from the tree they fell.

Cool shade (of the fire tree)
How Poinciana tees portend major precipitation

Needle-shedding cypress trees …

Signal the start the winter dry season. But does the start of the summer wet season have a similar botanical clue?

A row of Royal Poinciana
trees in May

Answer, yes:

The Royal Poinciana tree unleashes a fiery display of flowers each year about mid May.

Streets literally light up in their presence.

But it’s a strange red luminescence in that it does not bring warmth, rather shade … a very deep and luxurious shade. All thanks to its copious canopy of outstretching branches and fern-like leaves.

Summer rains are a welcome reprieve

June rains reliably drop the flame-like flowers to the ground.

You’d almost expect them to sizzle (given their color).

Read more

Hydrologic hoax

Fools rain
Talk about a cruel hoax

Well I couldn’t have been more pleased …

To wake up to the sound of rain!

View through my windshield (in town) this morning

It was only when I got the edge of town …

And the rain stopped that I remembered it was April 1st.

I knew it was too good to be true!

But it was fun to imagine the swamp getting a timely spring soaker, even if just for a moment …

And then grin and bear the reality of another day of no rain.

Daylight Savings effect
Cypress get an extra hour

Ever notice how shifting the clocks forward …

Mysteriously coincides with the cypress greening out?

The green-out actually takes about a month to unfold

There’s just something about having that extra hour of sun in the evening that does wonders for the cypress.

I call it the Daylight Savings effect.

Anhinga Society
Leisurely league of lawn chairs

What does the Anhinga Society stand for?

After attending several meetings, I’m still not sure.

In front of the Nathaniel P. Reed Visitor Center

For one, no agendas were handed out.

Although there were plenty of free chips, and I at a many.

Panorama of the Anhinga Society, with the new bridge on the right

As much as I didn’t want to leave early,

I had business to attend to in town.

The mythical anhinga arrives

My suspicion is that the anhinga showed up not too soon afterwards