It’s still winter here

Check the calendar. It’s hard to believe, but true. South Florida really does have a winter, right there where it belongs (between December and March). This one seems to be longer than previous ones. We’re in the middle of yet another week of cold temperatures. Seriously! Daytime highs in the 60’s, nights in the 40’s. If you don’t think that’s cold, you haven’t spent a decade of your life down here bringing hundreds of capillaries to the surface trying to purge your body of unwanted heat. This adaptation to the heat, coincidentally, greatly improves the menu choices for the unofficial state bird, the saltmarsh mosquito (or Asian Tiger, or house, or whichever mosquito species you most abhor). But then, the cold pretty much takes the mosquitoes out of action, too, so it’s a mixed blessing.

Those of you from snowier climes may well chuckle at the cold sensitivity of us south Florida folk. That’s OK; we chuckle a lot longer and a lot louder during the 2–3 months of a normal winter when we’re enjoying our typical mid-70-degree days and mid-60 nights, with a delightful dryness in the air the only hint of the frostier weather you temperate folks get.

It’s so cold down here I actually dragged out a down vest this morning, only to rediscover for the tenth time that I need warm sleeves to be warm. Apparently skinny arms lose heat faster than larger ones. Maybe I need to head to the gym.

Day 28 moon clouded out

As expected, I was unable to get a shot of this morning’s waning crescent moon. The clouds from the approaching cold front were just too thick.

Try to see the moon through this!

So I’ll look forward to another opportunity to image the days I missed this go-round: 16 and 28. Not bad for my first attempt!

The Great Backyard Bird Count starts today, and runs through Monday, so I’ll be splitting time between the boy and the boids this weekend. Enjoy!


Well, after that last post, which was fairly hardcore, let’s get back to something light and fluffy: clouds! Monday afternoon on the drive home, I was captivated by the fairly high clouds over Fort Lauderdale, just barely blocking the sun.

Unfortunately, while the clouds were captivating me, I was also a captive of the traffic. Couldn’t stop, couldn’t pull over, to get a better view. The best I could manage was this shot while stopped at a stop light (that has just turned green by the time my cell phone camera managed to process the shutter activation button):

I’ll get around to a real post later this week, perhaps.

If it weren’t for all the rain…

When my wife and I visited Scotland more years ago than readers of this blog are invited to think about, we got great enjoyment from a weather reporter reminding us, in her bonnie Scots burr: “Remember–if it weren’t for all the rain, there wouldn’t be so many rainbows.” As tourists, we were still able to enjoy the spring showers, pedaling up Arthur’s Seat on rented bikes, gazing out over the Firth of Forth, wishing we had the budget to rent a car and really get a feel for the countryside. The rain didn’t dampen our spirits at all, even though it did curtail our activities a little bit.

And I got a reminder of that time this morning, driving in to work. The morning drizzle had the freeway backed up, but at least the cars were moving. The sun was out, playing peekaboo through the clouds, the rain was coming down through that delicious sideways illumination you can only get early in the morning or right before sunset, when the rays from the sun shine horizontally through the cloud deck. And even though I was a bit late for work, once I did arrive, I got to see a sight that always brings a smile to my face: a rainbow!

Seems I only ever get a chance to snap rainbow shots with my cellphone camera, through some seriously reflective glass! This shot is taken from the plane as I’m about to return from Boston last year:


For more on rainbows, see my earlier post. For those of you who are technically minded, you might enjoy this page with a Java applet demonstrating the physics of rainbows, or this one that provides a narrative account of those physics.

The wet season is upon us!

After a long, dry winter, it looks like the rainy season has come to south Florida a bit early. May 21 is the median date of onset of the summer season, with a good chance of it being up to 10 days early or late. Yesterday the house rain gauge showed nearly a tenth of an inch, and it rained again today, so perhaps our long dry spell is coming to an end. Rain is forecast for the weekend, too:

The rainy season arrives at last

The rainy season arrives at last