Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rainstorm notations

Florida is continuing to have weird weather—as is the rest of the world—but DON'T say climate change!

When Jim and I moved from SC to FL in 2000, that first winter was so cold in our beautiful yet poorly insulated 1917 duplex that we had to close off the bedroom at night and keep the cat with us to stay warm.

Now we get a few cold days of winter—and my brother in Western Massachusetts had almost no snow—almost none, that is, after the powerful nor'easter in late October in which three people died and at least 700,000 lost power.

We have also noticed in recent years that the first sign of spring in Northeast Florida is the smell of smoke. That's because GA and FL are in an ongoing drought, and the water levels in the Okefenokee Swamp and the Everglades are too low to stop Florida wildfires from lightning-strikes and other causes.

(Florida is developing itself to death...but DON'T say climate change.)

Finally, it's normal in NE Florida to have late winter through spring temperature swings from the 50s to the 80s or 90s and back, but this week is a bit late for a drop back to the 60s (comfortable as that is).

In any case, we had lots of welcome rain in the last few weeks, and there was a nice overnight storm leading up to Sunday, April 1st.

The rain left this interesting though cryptic message on the back stoop where I sometimes spend my time off.

Rainstorm notations, by Mike Shell
And so it is.

Blessèd be,
Michael


A friend of mine who is a former Floridian sent me the following testimony:
We arrived in Florida in 1978, and I can tell you—the climate has changed indeed. It used to rain every afternoon—rain that was much needed in a subtropical area....

Florida [had] a delicate ecosystem, and really wasn't designed for human habitation..., because it originally consisted of a sultry, humid swamp. It was so hostile to human habitation that Native Americans fled to Florida to evade the white man's onslaught....

[But Florida had] a wonderful system devised by nature itself. Lake Okeechobee and that "River of Grass," the Everglades, would evaporate to a certain extent, giving off enough moisture to form rain clouds that would gather and flow up north where the rains would fill the rivers, which in turn would flow south to refill Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades.

The aquifers served as a natural filter. You couldn't get any better system of potable water than that.

Until development reared its ugly head [and] Jeb Bush took the reins, destroying this beautiful ecosystem with his massive, uncontrolled development, including highway construction.

Now a land that was once a swamp, is becoming a desert, plagued by wild fires. And potable water is so scarce, Tampa has to use desalinated water from its expensive desalination plant it built on the Gulf of Mexico.

Ah, civilization!

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