it’s still a waiting game before autumn starts to kick in.
Daytime highs are still in the high 80s and night time lows are still above 70 degrees.
According the book Florida Winter, fall in Florida officially commences with the onset on two consecutive nights that drop below 60 degrees. The animated map below shows that typically happens around the fourth month of November for south Florida.
If that seems like a long wait,
Not to worry: Fall doesn’t happen in one fell swoop.
I know everyone’s excited about cold air about to move in.
But let’s put it in perspective, too.
Yes, it will be cooler (and delightfully crisp).
However, it will not meet the criteria for “official” Florida Fall. For that to happen, nighttime low temperatures need to drop below 60° F for two consecutive nights in a row (source: Winsberg’s Florida Weather). That’s when fall in Florida begins.
Nor will it meet the standard for an “official” Florida Winter Day.
For that to happen, daytime temperatures have to stay at 70° F or below.
For the first front of cool continental air to arrive.
Chart showing the frequency distribution of when the first “official” cold front arrives in Naples FL, by decade
The problem as of late:
Starting in the 2010s, the arrival of the first official cold front has slipped from October to November. Or in other words, it’s happening later than normal. The good news is a front of cooler air is finally on its way. The bad news is that it will not count as an “official” front.
For that to happen, nighttime temperatures have to drop into the 50s for two consecutive nights.
Just as the arrival of apples ushers in fall up north,
Oranges are Florida’s tell-tale sign that winter has begun.
One month ago: all apples
One fall long ago I visited my brother in the HudsonRiver valley.
I had just returned east after living a few years in the Sonoran Desert corner of the Great American Southwest studying (you guessed it) water.
The back story is that Arizona didn’t have any (water), or not much of it – the few drops they did have were more precious because of it. Also conspicuously absent were “seasons.” The natives always scoff indignantly. “Of course we have seasons!” they’d sternly rebut …
Followed by a subtle litany explained in condescending overtones.
Up on the continent in late fall
Regardless, I found myself routinely pausing in thought during my entire stay in Arizona trying to remember what month it was; “Is it April or August?”
“Oh that’s right, how could I forget – it’s January!”
In any event, I arrived at my brothers doorstep after a five-hour drive from Cape Cod, not so much in a state of “time out of mind” as I wasa “mind out of season.” Opening his fridge, I was shocked to see apples packed everywhere – up on the egg racks, behind the butter, in every unused drawer.
I grabbed one instinctively and proceeded to wash it under the faucet.
“Is it alright if I eat an apple,” I asked.
“They’re pretty good,” a voice deadpanned from the other room, “unless you want to wait until spring for them to get really ripe on the vine!”
Today: Move over apples!
Confused, a bit embarrassed, but hungry – I ate that apple. Thinking about it days later I broke out into riotous laughter (and for a few years running it became a standard joke between my brother and I): Of course the apples were “alright to eat” – it was October, in Dutchess County, orchards everywhere: