If you’re a visitor to our part of Florida, especially in Spring and Summer, it’s important to pay attention to the weather. While we don’t have big cold fronts colliding with warm air and producing gale force winds or tornadoes, we do have in interesting climate. Obviously, we’re close to both the Gulf of Mexico (we have five coastal counties) as well as the Atlantic Ocean, and both affect our weather on an almost daily basis.
Our part of Florida isn’t tropical, but when the sun shines for days on end, the air temperature on the land can easily hit the 90-degree (F) mark. But even on the hottest days, Gulf and Atlantic water temperatures are sometimes ten to fifteen degrees cooler than the land. That mean’s easterly and westerly sea breezes, many of which top 20 miles per hour and some of which hit each other right over the middle of the state. Interstate 75 seems to the the point where the most late afternoon summer storms build up.
When it comes to severe weather, those of you venturing to our many springs, rivers, golf courses or to our Gulf Coast need to be aware of the potential of the weather, and be careful not overlook its potential fury. Remember that while there may be bad storms in morning hours, that afternoons can be tricky. A good radar app for your smartphone (try Weather Bug or Storm–both available with your phone) can give you a good look at storms building nearby. And don’t forget that big thunderstorms bring with them the threat of high winds, hail and lots of dangerous lightning. Remember, too, that lightning can be a threat well in advance of any rain, especially if you’re on the “dry side” of the storm. If it just starts to feel “tingly” with the appearance of static electricity, get indoors and out of the way. DO NOT think that your boat’s T-top or Bimini top will protect you. If possible, run to shore and get under a bridge or a dock. And be sure to get your rods and radio antennae down, and have kids lay down on the boat’s floor!
Luckily, our “storms” don’t often last long, and pass within a few hours. Sometimes, in late afternoons when the land is wet from rain, you’ll find the most beautiful sunsets and scenes to photography. Just relax, and wait–all will be back to perfect soon!