When a freeze “outlives” its ice

South Florida can count on cold air dropping down from the “north” every year, which we invariably think of as “up” when watch from the map.

But usually in the days that follow warm air wells up from the “down” low,

Otherwise known as “south.”

It was a “freeze for the decades” in terms of depth – the last comparable being Christmas 1989 – and on the “short list of the century” – comparable to the likes of 1895 – when you add on its length.

How long did it last?

The whole entire of the new decade … so far,

Which in straight-forward talk is more easily stated as “two weeks”.

Iguanas famously fell from trees while snook sadly surfaced – cold shocked – to the top.

Manatees plunged down into the ground-water warmed realm of their deep water haunts, as farmers pumped up all the groundwater they could to cover their plants with an insulating coat of ice …

Causing new sink holes to collapse and shallow wells to dry up.

We’re used to fire in the Everglades – Not ice!

But stay tuned:

The plants that froze won’t melt, but instead be reborn as dry tinder in the spring wildfire season to com.

The freeze’s long-term effects will linger as long as its ice melted quickly.

I’m reminded of a time long ago – on April 1st no less – that I got caught in the middle of a freak blizzard, in transit from Ithaca New York and Cape Cod Massachusetts, up in the high country of the Berkshires Mountains. I spent the first night snowbound in a rest area living on Milk Duds and Pepsi, only be caught in the slow-moving storm again on the second day as I approached Boston.

That detoured me for a second straight night into unexpected quarters on the road for the night – this time at least a nice hotel (and what a relief it was to finally brush my teeth).

Fifty six hours later I finally pulled off the exit and minutes later arrived at my door. The roads were all but cleared and snow near completely melted.

It was April 3rd, spring again, and warm.

Had I the strength or the inclination (plus the money – I was due in at work the next day), I could have retraced my path in four hours flat.

Now it’s January 15th with warm Florida air returning.

It was never a question of Florida getting its climate back …

We did.

A freeze lives on long after its ice has melted.

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