In my first month as a Florida resident, I’ve learned the weather changes in a heartbeat here. It literally can be pouring buckets on the left side of a road and be sunny and dry on the right.
In the mountains of North Carolina, it can rain quite a lot, too. The Blue Ridge Mountains are actually a temperate rainforest, meaning it can rain for days on end, especially in the summer. And, we always know when it is coming. The weatherman will predict 10 days of rain, and it will rain … and rain … and rain. If it’s not rainy, the overcast clouds make you wonder if you’ll ever see daylight again. Every two weeks, though, there will be a brilliantly sunny day that makes the green in the leaves look like something out of a movie. You’ll soak in the sun and think, “Life doesn’t get any better than this.” The next day, it will pour rain again.
When I first took this job, Arcadian Editor Steve Bauer prepared me for the move by telling me numerous tips and quirks about the area. One of those things was that it would rain daily during the summer. Although it hasn’t been as constant so far as he described, when it does rain, it pours — as in it’s time to invest in an ark pours — but then stops in about 20 minutes. The sun comes out, and the water evaporates so quickly you would think it never happened.
To me, it’s a crazy phenomena. This past weekend, I drove down U.S. Highway 17 toward Punta Gorda, and it was dry. The other side, however, was soaking wet from the recent rain. I’ve also had it pouring rain on my back windshield but not the front.
It reminds me of that scene in Disney’s “The Lion King” after Mufasa appears to his son, Simba, in a giant cloud over the African plain. Before, it had been a clear night, and then suddenly a giant roll of clouds filled the sky. Rafiki the baboon makes a joke after the clouds and Mufasa disappear: ‘What was that? The weather, very peculiar. Don’t you think?”
A similar phenomena with the weather happened here when I took my boyfriend Jonathan, who was visiting from North Carolina, on a sunset cruise in Charlotte Harbor. As the cruise started, we were wowed by how clear the sky was and how we had the perfect view of the sun. The boat captain even commented how the conditions were beautiful and that the sunset would be worth $1 million that night.
At the time, it was quite warm under the sun out on the harbor, and I think all of us were wishing it would hurry up and sink below the waves. The captain took the boat down the several canals, showing us fancy houses and telling us a lot of history about the area. He pointed out two dolphins that appeared, and his assistant came around the boat and took pictures of everyone.
By the time the sun was ready to set, we were all so distracted by the enjoyment of the trip that no one noticed what had been happening in the sky. As Jonathan and I were passing the time talking, I heard a fellow passenger gasp.
“Where’s the sun?” she asked, pointing in the direction of the sunset.
I turned and looked. The sky was suddenly much darker than before.
The top sliver of the sun was still visible, but the rest was hidden by a huge bank of clouds that seemingly appeared out of nowhere. No one had noticed any clouds anywhere on the horizon during the first hour of the trip, and now, the sun was gone. Even the captain was baffled as to how the clouds just popped up so quickly. He sadly announced that the sunset wouldn’t be as beautiful as he believed it would be and apologized for how incorrect his guess was. But, that’s just how the weather works in Florida. “Very peculiar.”
Even though our view of the sun was blocked, the sunset still cast amazing colors against the clouds, turning them into pink, purple and orange swirls. The surrounding sky morphed from light blue to a sea of orange and pink hues.
No matter the weather, I have been amazed by the beauty and power of Florida’s climate. I have never seen such brilliant sun nearly every morning or felt the power of thunder shake a house before. I will admit, however, that I’m ready for the summer heat and humidity to end, and am excited to see what fall and winter wonders are in store from the Sunshine State.