Hydrologic Holidays

What’s a hydrologic holiday? It’s the inside water scoop of our major holiday milestones. | Florida’s cycle Weather | Wet season | Dry season | Endless summer | Waiting for fall | Coolish winter | Spring drought | Hydrologic holidays

Intro - Water Cycle Holiday Guide

Traditional holidays redefined to fit into the water cycle

By Robert V. Sobczak

Behind every regular holiday …

Is a water-cycle spin on the day’s events.

Same great holidays with a water-cycle spin

A hydrologic holiday doesn’t replace the old meaning of the term. For example, Groundhog Day is still Groundhog Day, especially if you live up north. But more properly conceived for the water cycle of south Florida, Groundhog Day is better understood as occurring on Labor Day. The first Monday of September, not the second day of February, signals six more weeks of grueling heat and humidity in south Florida.

Other examples include shifting New Years to May 1st to coincide the annual calendar with the start of the first month of the wet season, coopting St. Patrick’s Day as the green out of the cypress trees, and use of Memorial Day as the official start of the summer afternoon rains.

Question: Is there a water holiday, and do you think it will ever rival Groundhog’s day?

Does every holiday have a water-cycle spin? Some more than others to be sure, but without a doubt there’s something to be said about the weather patterns and water cycle happenings that occur on or around that date. The holidays and their hydrologic counterparts are convenient milestones to tune into the natural world around us.

Florida Groundhog Day occurs on Labor Day

Here’s a list of some of the major water holidays:

  • May 1st – Start of the water year
  • Memorial Day – Start of the summer afternoon rains
  • July 4th – Start of the mid summer lull
  • Labor Day – Florida Ground hog day (6 more weeks of summer)
  • Columbus Day – End of the summer afternoon rains
  • Halloween – Last day of the 6-month wet season
  • Veterans Day – Clear skies of the dry season ahead
  • Thanksgiving – A time to be thankful for the water cycle
  • January 1st – Start of the calendar year
  • MLK Day – Water retreats to the cypress domes
  • Groundhog Day – see Labor Day
  • Valentines Day – A day to profess our love for water
  • St. Patricks Day – Green out of the cypress trees
  • April Fools – Start of spring drought season in the swamp

Most of all, hydrologic holidays are fun. Who doesn’t love and look forward to a holiday or the holiday season? Adding water to the mix just makes them all the better.

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And how I found it by chance

I didn’t expect to find …

A seal of Florida in Belgium.

As seen at the Henri Chapelle American Cemetery

But there it was plain as day, and engraved on a smooth limestone column, as were all the other 49 territories and states. The reason: I had biked upon the cemetery where 7,992 American soldiers are buried, all killed in the line of duty during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

Some views from the memorial

The cemetery is located on top of one of the areas highest hills, with a breathtaking view, and was probably of great tactical importance from a military standpoint. I stayed long enough to pay my respects, take a few photos and then stare out into the expanse. I thought about all those soldiers, what they gave up, and what their lives could have played out had they not given the greatest sacrifice. Most of all, I was overwhelmed by the peacefulness and beauty of the spot. It was almost heavenly, there at the time and now thinking back.

Happy Memorial Day!

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Fact: The Battle of the Bulge was a four week battle that resulted in 75,000 US casualties including as many as 20,000 dead.

wet season

Mystery: Summer wet season’s botanical clue?
Hint: Think country mouse, city mouse

The start of fall is easy to see in the swamp: Look no farther than the needles of the cypress trees turning brown then falling off. But does the swamp have a similar botanical clue that signals the start of the summer wet season?

a. Pond apples start to ripen and fall

b. Gumbo Limbo’s bark peals

c. Royal Poinciana’s bright orange flowers

d. Sawgrass blooms begin to appear

e. Brazilian Pepper berries turn red

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Click “Read More” to find the answer: “Nearly 97% of the world’s water is salty or otherwise undrinkable.” Overheard

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Summer’s two bookends?
And how they usher in tropical humid and crisp cool air

If summer is a shelf of books …

Memorial and Labor Day are its two bookends.

Available on Apple Podcasts and Podbean

Why?  Up on the continent, the end of summer and Labor Day go hand in hand.  Not that you need go immediately from a swim suit to wearing a scarf from one day to the next, but its pretty close — if not like clockwork.  Labor Day definitely favors on the summer side of the divide, serving as its de facto “last hurrah.”  Then there’s the case of Memorial Day down in south Florida.  Just as Labor Day may usher in a freshet of cooler and crisper air Up North, Memorial Day typically is the tropical (not polar) opposite: greeting south Floridians with a chinook of humid air at their door, suddenly giving urgency to the old expression — “Close the door you’re letting the air out!” — and leaving one to wonder if per chance he or she didn’t mistakenly put on a heavy down sweater instead of a T-Shirt.  Yes, it’s that warm and humid.  There’s another saying in Florida: “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”  Between Memorial Day and a solid six weeks after Labor Day, the expression especially applies.  

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Little Known Fact: Just because it’s humid, doesn’t mean the shade isn’t cool. Says locals

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Start of Water Year?
Not to be confused with the "calendar" year

The calendar year isn’t so much “wrong,” as it has the wrong start date — at least from the perspective of a water drop. Can you guess what day the new water year starts in south Florida? Hint: Think of it as the water cycle’s birthday.

a. January 1st

b. November 1st

c. June 1st

d. May 1st

e. February 29th

[social_warfare ]

Read more to find out the answer

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