Weather Drop

Wrong way clouds?
Winds shift and unleash from the west

South Florida’s clouds are larger than life …

And unleash torrential rains.

You know it’s a strange day in the swamp when the summer afternoon clouds are moving from West to East

And most of all …

They move the wrong way.

Unlike properly-behaving clouds on up the continent that predictably move from West to East (i.e. the Westerlies), south Florida’s summer clouds migrate from East to West on the wings of the Trade Winds.

But it was a lucky day, too, judging from this lucky pond apple find!

Except today.

As for why?

All I can say for certain is that I got thoroughly wet.

weekly wave banner

Meteorologic Mystery
Are wet season and monsoon season the same thing?

A friend informed me before I moved to Florida:

“You’re going to love the summer monsoons.”

Twenty years later …

I haven’t heard that word used since.

Could it be that wet season and monsoons are simply …

Different words for the same thing?

Summer clouds rising over the swamp, but are they monsoonal?

Or is there something more intrinsic that sets them apart?

Official Answer

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big weather

Hurricane Alley
The true heart of the tropical storm season

Technically speaking, hurricane season is 6-months long …

Running from June 1st to November 30th.

Calendar chart of hurricanes that made landfall in Florida

Then there is the heart of hurricane season.

It last for 3 months from August through October. That span accounts for 75 percent of Florida’s hurricane strength storms.

Monthly distribution of hurricane-strength storms to make landfall in Florida

October is surprisingly a high probability month, accounting for 25 percent of Florida’s hurricane-strength landfalling storms. September leads all other months with 40 percent. So yes, technically speaking, we’re already a month and a half into hurricane season …

But in some ways hurricane season hasn’t even begun.

Of course, a storm doesn’t need to be hurricane strength to bring a deluge of rain, as did TS Eta last November.

One final note: Our fixation with where hurricanes make landfall …

Often obscures the origin story of where they formed.

Animated map showing seasonal trends in storm formation and paths

Read more

Rainy season table set

Clear signs …

That summer is here:

a. Empty tables at local cafe
b. Royal Poincianas are in bloom
c. Pouring down rain.

Looking towards 5th Avenue
in downtown Naples

Caveat on the rain:

It usually doesn’t start falling until after midday.

big weather

Rain mechanic (at work)
Parts on order

The good news is …

We finally figured out the problem.

As seen at John Stretch Park

The only catch is …

It could take a week or two for the part to come in. In a nutshell, there’s a high pressure system forming over the southeast United States. That will pump dry air into Florida into next week.

Zen and the art of rain machine maintenance

After that, around Memorial Day, expect the rain machine to start cranking up.

flood and fire

Extreme repeat loop
Rise and Fall of Flood and Drought

Explaining the seasons …

Is rarely easy in the swamp.

Hydrologic Seasons of the Swamp

On the one hand …

There’s the wet and dry season. That sounds easy enough. But that delineation is based on rain from the sky, not the lay of water on the land. Wetlands hold onto water weeks, even months, after the spigot from the sky turns off.

That’s where soil moisture comes in handy.

Soil Moisture History of Big Cypress National Preserve

Or you may be interested in when the sheet flow season starts up, as shown in blue, purple and black on the on the calendar chart below.

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