Archive for ‘Observations’

Slippery When Wet

When I arrived at Highlands Hammock State Park yesterday afternoon it was humid and 90 degrees. Not surprisingly, there weren’t a bunch of people out and about. It was muggy but I was excited to explore one of Florida’s oldest state parks.

There were about a dozen short trails to choose from so I decided to hike them all. Though, coming from the rugged terrain out west, I don’t really consider this flatland stuff to be hiking. As I strolled along I kept noticing pops of color in shades of red.

The biggest issue of the day was water. Some of the trails were flooded but it wasn’t deep or flowing, so I happily splashed along. By the time I was halfway through, I was glistening (women don’t perspire, right?). I was grateful for the cloud cover until it started to rain. Not just a gentle, soft drizzle but an actual downpour.

Thank goodness I brought my rain jacket! Darn shame I left it in my car, in the parking lot at the other end of the park. On the upside, I did have the entire place to myself for the rest of the afternoon. The downside? I was soaking wet and chilly (the storm had dropped the temperature into the 70s), and there was water in the lens of my camera (here’s hoping it dries out soon).

Regardless, I had a lovely time wandering through this special, protected area.

Summer Storms

The weather down here is temperamental this time of year. I have three weather apps on my phone to help me plan my day. Most afternoons there are towering clouds and sometimes it drizzles, rains, or even downpours. The precipitation doesn’t bother me, I don’t mind getting wet.

It’s the lightning that concerns me. Florida is the lightning strike capital of the country, averaging 223 per square mile. And considering that lightning can travel at least 12 miles from the storm, I’m cautious to say the least.

Even though the weather can interfere with my beach walks, it certainly makes up for it with some striking sunsets!

Mercurial

If there’s anything I’ve learned in my two+ years living here, it’s that summertime weather in Florida is unpredictable. It will be sunny and hot and humid – that’s a given. But at any moment a storm could blow in. The thing that I’m the most concerned about is lightning.

Shortly after I moved here, a dad and his son were lounging on my favorite beach one sunny afternoon. They were struck by lightning, which killed the son and put the father in ICU. There was a distant storm far to the east that day. Here’s a PSA for you, did you know lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from the storm?

As a result, I check the forecast first thing every morning, I have two weather apps on my phone, and I’ve signed up for severe weather alerts from Pinellas County. Even with all that information, I only truly know the weather when I step outside. And, as they say down here, if I don’t like it, I can wait 15 minutes.

The Passage of Time

I drove up to Ohio last month for my second cousin’s high school graduation party. The passage of time flabbergasts me, how in the world is Frankie old enough to head off to college? I definitely wanted to help celebrate that milestone, especially after a (non-voluntary) three year hiatus.

It was lovely to be back up in the farm country visiting with family, if a bit too brief. Hopefully it won’t be another three years before I return!

Welcome to Summer

I have a joke for you on this wonderful summer solstice:

“What’s Irish and comes out in the summer?

Paddy O’Furniture!”

Yeah, I know, I won’t quit my day job. Weather-wise, the first day of summer means nothing to me since I live in Florida. It’s been hot and sunny for months now, the only difference is that hurricane season has officially begun. It kicked off earlier this month with Tropical Storm Alex, which thankfully passed well south of me.

I’ve collected a few memes for you that may help explain summer in Florida: