Seasonal signals are different in Florida

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 9, 2020, 9:05 PM | comments: 0

People famously claim that they couldn't live in Florida because they love seasons. OK, sure, I can kind of get on board with that, if it weren't for the months of horrible soul crushing gray skies that come with winter in places like Ohio. I actually enjoyed the cycle in Seattle, because it didn't snow very often, which is to say it's pretty, it melts, and then you enjoy it from a distance in the mountains. November to January could be intermittently damp (it mists, not rains), but it was never a deal breaker. But just as Northern Ohio or Western Washington had its indicators of season changes, so does Central Florida.

In Ohio, I always knew when we had our last summer thunderstorm. I'm not sure why, but you could tell. Then the leaves turn colors, Cedar Point would bust out the Halloween decorations, jacket weather started promptly in September, and for a few weeks at least, it was very pleasant. The summers there were not radically different from those we have here in Orlando, honestly. And when winter was finally done, the deadness turned to green seemingly instantaneously.

Central Florida is a little more subtle. The downside to being right in the middle of the state is that we don't get the regulating features of the ocean or gulf. Going to the coasts or the Bahamas is kind of a relief when it's mercifully just under 90 degrees. We have what I call swamp ass season, basically late June to early September, when for three months the humidity and heat is high, with daily afternoon thunderstorms. Being outside isn't great. The mosquitoes get bad after dark, too, and they suck into November.

Swamp ass season starts with the first few genuine, wrath-of-God downpours, when the air is so juicy and energy coming from the coasts converges. The end of this season has weird indicators that we just now realized were a thing. The first is that it seems to be the primary time of year when cockroaches manage to penetrate the pest control measures and get into the house. Yeah, it's creepy and gross, but we get one or two every year, and most of the time it's in September. They can't survive long in the air conditioning. The storms turn into rain showers, and you don't have to run the irrigation as much. Rocket launches are delayed less often for weather. It's all very Florida.

The other thing you see, in normal times, is that the Halloween decorations go up at the theme parks, and the fireworks schedule changes to match the special ticketed events at Magic Kingdom. And like magic, all of the decorations go from Halloween to Christmas overnight from October 31 to November 1. Christmas is by default a two-month affair here, and we're OK with that.

Jacket weather, especially in the evenings, lasts into early March, when spring arrives with virtually perfect weather every single day for three months. School ends at the end of May, and the next few weeks remind you that swamp ass seasons is returning.

We have seasons here, they just come with different signals and degrees of extremeness.


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