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Florida

Post by Tom Supergan » Fri, Jul 03 2009 11:05 pm

I discovered last year (2008) the reason it rains so peculiarly down here. It's because Florida is south of the subtropical jet stream. It's about 50% higher than the polar jet stream.

The diagram linked to below is out of proportion, but it actually shows pretty much how it rains down here. The rain clouds down here look like tall pillars, and the rain underneath them can be less than a quarter mile in diameter. It looks so funny to watch a downpour off one side of the road and still have it dry on the other side. Watching the water on the surface behind my house, if it isn't too windy, it can be glassy smooth on the right, then just six inches to the left, a complete downpour. I got it on video because I couldn't believe it was happening the first few times I watched it.

Took me nine years to find out why: we have Hadley cells down here instead of Ferrel cells.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Jetcrosssection.jpg
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Florida in January, 2009

Post by Tom Supergan » Fri, Jul 03 2009 11:52 pm

The citrus ripened in November, a month earlier than normal. I have an orange tree, and a lot of the neighbors have grapefruit trees. They pick up the ones that fall on the ground and stack them up by the road for people to take. I usually grab 5 - 10 grapefruits whenever I see them.

The grass stays green in winter, but it goes semi-dormant, so it only has to be mowed about once a month. But this past week it started growing again, so may have to start mowing every 2 - 3 weeks for the next couple months. Then every week until November.

The trees started budding last week. We haven't had any freezing days yet. It usually frosts 3 or 4 days a year, during December and January.

My favorite thing about this time of year is that the days are getting longer! The difference in the length of the daytime is more constant down here than up north. I don't know exactly what the variance is, but it seems like dawn to dusk lasts 11 hours in the winter versus maybe 14 hours in summer. When I was in England in winter, it didn't get light until 8AM and the sun set before 4PM. Now those are short days.

The temperature is more regular, too. Now it is varying from 50 degrees at night to 70 degrees daytime, which is pretty warm for this time of year. During summer, it is 75 at night and 90 daytime almost every day through the summer. Sometimes the temperature stays constantly above 82 degrees for a couple weeks straight, but it hasn't been over 100 degrees in decades.

The dolphins usually come through once or twice a day during July and August, but this year I've seen them every month since summer. Last month, 3 or 4 juveniles were chasing each other, playing some sort of game, around 4AM. They're supposed to sleep at night, like manatees do, floating at the surface with their blowhole above the waterline.

We get to see the space shuttles launching on the other side of Florida, 150 miles away. Fifteen minutes after launch, we can hear the launch, but just barely. And we can hear the sonic booms (small boom from nose, and larger boom from tail?) when it is landing. Being on the Gulf of Mexico coastline, the tops of clouds over the Atlantic Ocean 150 to 200 miles away appear just over our eastern horizon.

Five years ago, the largest fire recorded in the U.S. blotted out the sun, and cut visibility down to 100 yards throughout half the state. The fire was over 200 miles away, in a swamp on the Georgian border. No one died, so it didn't make the news. I was shocked how oblivious people were to what was going on. It took over a week for me to find another person that knew it was smoke from a fire. I gagged whenever I went outside. It smelled just like a campfire, as most of the fuel was pine trees. The people I asked just thought is was a strange, long lasting fog, or simply didn't notice until I pointed it out to them: "Look at it, you can't even see across the street." "Oh, yeah, I guess it isn't normally like that." It took 6" of rain to put it out after burning for weeks.
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Central Florida, Sep 30, 2009

Post by Tom Supergan » Wed, Sep 30 2009 9:39 am

This morning the weather finally cooled down. :D This has been the longest summer in the ten years I've been living here. The hottest June and September made it especially long, hot, and humid. But today the season changed.

It dropped from 92 degrees and 90% humidity yesterday to 70 degrees and 65% humidity this morning, and it's holding so far at 9:30AM. Most mornings since June it has been near 100% humidity, so 65% feels quite refreshing.

The seasons change quickly here, usually only having low humidity for 2 - 4 weeks in May and another 2 - 4 weeks in October. So it's pretty much just two seasons: hot and humid summers and chilly and humid winters, with a month or less transition in between. It's typical all through summer to have temperatures between 80 degrees at night and 92 - 95 degrees during the day. So the temperature only varies 15 degrees for 4 months straight.
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