Nov 12, 2019

Nov 8, 2019

Cooler yes, but not "official fall"

I know everyone's excited about cold air about to move in.

But let's put it in perspective, too.

Red bars indicated the five-day
forecast for Naples, Florida
Yes, it will be cooler (and delightfully crisp).

However, it will not meet the criteria for "official" Florida Fall.  For that to happen, nighttime low temperatures need to drop below 60° F for two consecutive nights in a row (source: Winsberg's Florida Weather).  That's when fall in Florida begins.

Nor will it meet the standard for an "official" Florida Winter Day.

For that to happen, daytime temperatures have to stay at 70° F or below.

Nonetheless, I'll take the cool air!

Nov 7, 2019

The waiting (is the hardest part)

The hotter (and longer) the summer ...

The bigger and better fall feels when it arrives.

A cypress tree ready for fall
(or do I mean "to fall") in the center
of a dome in November

ooler weather is almost here.

Nov 6, 2019

Fall is delayed (until further notice)

South Floridians wait in eager anticipation ...

For the first front of cool continental air to arrive.

Chart showing the frequency distribution
of when the first "official" cold front arrives
in Naples FL, by decade

The problem as of late:

Starting in the 2010s, the arrival of the first official cold front has slipped from October to November.  Or in other words, it's happening later than normal.  The good news is a front of cooler air is finally on its way.  The bad news is that it will not count as an "official" front.

For that to happen, nighttime temperatures have to drop into the 50s for two consecutive nights.

Nov 5, 2019

Appearances (versus reality)

Considering it wasn't much of a wet season ...

In terms of filling up the swamp.

Pop up shows may appear,
impressive, but don't deliver
much rain
The skies of recent sure have the look

Of the scenic summer rainy season in full gear.

But don't be deceived:

The meteorological dry season has begun.

The only thing that can save us now (i.e. in terms of keeping the water table up) is a good couple dousings from a continental-delivered northern front.

End of long summer in sight?

September was strangely rainless,

And October was unusually hot.
Summer drags on in Naples, Florida

I hear cooler weather is headed our way this weekend.

Along with it I also hope it brings a front.

By front a mean some good rain!

Nov 4, 2019

Waiting game

What happens in Tallahassee in early October,

Usually takes until mid November for Naples to enjoy.

Map showing the progression
of "when fall starts"in Florida

Well, it's November ...

And we're ready!

Note: Fall is formally defined in Florida as two consecutive days when nighttime lows drop below 60° F.

Nov 3, 2019

Damaged from daylight savings?

Call me crazy ...

But has anyone else noticed how on that first day after we turn our clocks back that the cypress needles instantly brown and fall?

Cypress trees are deciduous,
but every winter we get visitors who ask:
"Are those trees dead?"

Or has it been happening gradually over the past couple weeks?

I hope they are alright.

Oct 31, 2019

Swamps get spooked, too

Are the swamps spooky?

To the uninitiated, “yes."

All Ye Who Enter:
And who could blame them, they are wooded, dark, and watery.

Alligators lurk, and panthers too – but those worries are misguided:

The animal you really have to watch out for are water moccasins.

Not that they chase you – they won’t!

Nor do they spook – they don’t!

Can you see the spider?

If not, you'll feel it on your face
when you unwittingly walk
into the web

Rather, it’s because they don’t spook when they hear you that causes the real fright.  If you walk without caution in their path, you could be surprised by a strike when you least expect it.

And yes, that could bite.

There are giant spiders too!

But even worse is a trunk-to-trunk spanning web on your face (and in your hands as you try to remove it after the fact),

Is a spider there too, in my hair or crawling down my neck?

It rarely the case, but the thought certainly spooks!

Craggily pond apple
forests look foreboding
Hollywood-inspired legends of a Swamp Thing and local lore of a Skunk Ape may have you fearing knee-deep cypress forests alone at night the same way Jaws kept you in the knee-deep shallows of breaking saltwater waves in a crowd at the beach with the sun at its peak.

The truth is that humans evolved to fear the swamps.

They are virtually uninhabitable by modern day standards, and efforts to inhabit them quite literally ruin whatever swamp was once there by way of digging, draining, filling, cutting, and building;

The cypress are lovely,
dark and deep ...

Don't get lost!

Not to mention the real Frankensteins of the quagmire – Maleleuca trees, Brazilian Pepper, Old World Climbing Fern, pythons, plus every other invader ...

On the rapidly-spreading list of non-native invasives!

I’m here to tell you it’s not we who should fear the swamps.

They are a misunderstood beauty in need of love instead.

The truth in actuality is quite the opposite:

It’s the swamps that should fear us!

In the right light:
Cypress aren't
so spooky after all!
So tread lightly in a swamp near you, and trust in me whenever you do – by sun or night or nearing twilight – its liquid realm is a beautiful sight, from top to bottom and start to end, it’s silence is the comfort of your oldest friend.

Happy Halloween!