Thursday, August 11, 2016

August in Florida

There are many places in this nation where folks look forward to summer; it's time to go outside - maybe for the first time in months, enjoy warm, glorious days; garden, bike, picnic; maybe enjoy a book while lounging on the beach.  Songs like Nat King Cole's classic "Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer" come to mind.

That's not here.  Here, summer is something to be a bit more reserved about.  If you live here, you can keep up with your regular life.  If you were from a moderate place, not used to our heat and humidity, running or other outdoors activity could conceivably kill you.  August marks the Dog Days of Summer; everything outdoors slows.  Fishing slows - sure the fish have to eat, but they become more active after dark.  Animals are more sluggish.  Ordinarily, it can be nasty here from about mid-July to almost the middle of September.  The worst stretch is August. 

When we first got an HDTV in '05, Mrs. Graybeard and I naturally spent most of our TV time searching out HD programming.  One of the first movies we watched was "The Chronicles of Riddick".  You have to understand this is not even particularly good scifi.  It's a fun movie to watch, it's a visual treat, it's a fantastic display of special effects perfect for HD, but don't pay too much attention to the story.  To quote a review, "Furyans, Necromongers, Elementals, The Underverse, the so clearly wants to be epic that it forgets to tie all of these disparate worlds, universes and civilizations into a coherent story. (Director) Twohy clearly makes the mistake of not realizing that there is a huge difference between being grand and being simply confusing and the more ideas that are introduced, the more lumbering it becomes…"  

A large portion of the movie, and one of the longest action sequences, takes place on the planet Crematoria (yes, all the names in the movie are that cheesy) .  Crematoria is a planet that has a tremendous temperature variation with daytime temperatures of 700C and night time temperatures far below zero.  When the sunrise terminator sweeps through, the force of the heat gales that come with it is literally enough to blow you apart, disintegrating flesh and blowing pieces off until you die.  There's a scene where a character (Purifier) destroys himself by walking into the sunrise terminator and self-immolating.  That's him trying to stand up to the gales while being set afire and having pieces of burning flesh blown off him.
The first time I saw that scene, I said, "I've been out on days like that".  Mrs. Graybeard said, "Oh, yeah.  We've been out on our bikes when it's like that". 

And that's what life here in Central Florida is like in the summer, for August plus or minus a week or two.  Sometimes, like last week, we get a few cloudy days that block the sun, but usually you just need to stay out of the it.  Do your outdoor activities near sunrise or sunset.  Don't expose bare skin to the sun any longer than necessary, and even then use sunscreen if you need to be out when the sun is intense, say from 9 AM to 5 PM.  SPF 3 million is adequate.  Without air conditioning and mosquito control, a technological civilization could not exist here.


  1. Oh, yeah!

    Where I grew up in Illinois was like that.

    90* and 50% humidity.

    My Dad's hous was air conditioned, and I'd get up in the morning, take a shower, and get dressed for work.

    By the time I walked out of the house and to where I parked my car I was soaked....

  2. Today , here in southern NH It was 101 and the "feels like" temp was 107. Crazy.

  3. Coming originally from Iowa, I once scoffed at what he's getting at. Surely the numbers would not lie, Iowa had heat and humidity numbers which were similar...

    The numbers DO lie. 90˚ in Florida is somehow HOTTER than 90˚ in Iowa with similar humidity. I think it's because Florida does its heat without a breath of air. The midwest has winds nearly all the time and a thunderstorm will carry a break in the heat where Florida it's a harbinger of even thicker air.

    1. Could it be the latitude? The more direct angle of the sun on your skin? I'm around 28 degrees north; Des Moines is almost 42 North (to pick one centrally located place). The sun will be more concentrated in Florida.

      I live within 5 miles of the Atlantic, so the afternoon sea breeze is an almost everyday thing. It really cools things down when it gets going. Still, I remember feeling really hot down in the Keys, and not just in mid-summer. The latitude down there runs around 24.5 to 25.

    2. I'm less than a mile from The Gulf of Mexico, also about 28˚N. From just before noon to near sundown there's hardly a breath of wind.

      We don't get a heat break unless we get a sundowner shower.

  4. I live in the upper south. I tell people all the time, if I had to choose between a 90 degree day with the 60-70% humidity we get, and a 3 degree day in January. I'll take the 3 degree day.*

    I know I'm probably in the minority on this.

    *That doesn't mean I *like* the 3 degree day. Actually I prefer a nice balmy 60-70 degrees with low humidity. But I *hate* hot, humid weather and where I live, we get a lot more of those 90 degree days than I care for.

    1. Maybe I'm crazy on this, having only been in weather as cold as about 10F a few times in my life, but it seems to me that you can always add more clothes when it's 3. Add another layer.

      When it's 95 and the sun literally feels like it's slapping your skin, you can't take off more clothes.

    2. I live in Winnipeg and there has only been one time that it has ever gotten up to 40C or 104F.
      It's the height of summer so it's currently topping out at 30C.
      Nice days.
      Six months from now, with La Nina happening, I expect it to be -30C.
      The coldest it's ever been here in my life is -40C.
      With such an extreme range of temperature I can tell you that I never ever complain about the heat.

    3. It also gets so humid here in the summertime that you can't leave a bag of chips open because they will get soggy.
      In the winter it gets too dry.

    4. What sold me on the 90˚+ days with 70% humidity wasn't the temperatures but the transition from fall to winter.

      Iowa had freezing rain for a solid month from mid-october four years running. That's hell on your commute and trying to get around in general. Honest winter I can take, bring on the cold and snow!

    5. I think every part of the country has weather they'd rather skip. I'm sure people in the northern tier would just as soon skip January and February and have more July and August. That's completely the opposite from here.

      When the Montanans are going out to enjoy the weather, I'm staying in the shop more. When I'm outside enjoying a gorgeous January day, they're putting up with a blizzard. As Roseanne Rosanna Danna's Grandma used to say, "it's always something".

  5. Yep, that pretty much sums it up!

    And with modern insulating materials, you don't need all that many layers unless it's really cold, and the wind is blowing.

  6. I know most won't agree with this but I think it's all more about attitude. My wife is too cold if the temperature is below 70. Except when it's hot outside and then she can't get the air conditioning cold enough. On the other hand she is too hot if the temperature is above 78 or so. Except in the winter when she keeps turning the heat up. And she makes sure everyone around her knows if she is too hot/cold. Me, I just don't care. I lived in Mississippi without air conditioning and except for the fact that you sweat a lot and are always clammy - wet it's no big deal. I lived in Ohio where the summer humidity is always 95% and the temperature always too hot, no big deal. I lived in Alaska and enjoyed -40 and sometimes 90's in the Summer. I lived in Las Vegas and would run my three miles at noon temp 116. Southern California with 105 temps and smog. Here in Oregon I woke up on a camping trip on July 4th to 6 inches of snow. It's all good. I ordered my new car without air conditioning (because of some special requests they had to build it on the line there weren't any already built). For whatever reason they put the air conditioning in anyway (dammit) but didn't charge me for it. The dealership said to not put it in would cause them changes on the assembly line that they weren't prepared for (I call BS, I think they simply forgot what was ordered. I never did use the air conditioning (that's what all those windows are for. I once had to walk home in a blizzard (two feet of snow, blowing winds, sub zero temps) in a sports jacket and penny loafers (don't ask, I was 19...). Worked on cars all day where I had to dig them out of three feet of snow.

  7. I spent six months as a millwright in a steel rolling plant. The summer heat seemed more tolerable because you didn't work in the sun, and the mill was mostly open at the top and the sides. Convection created some amount of breeze. Winter was another story. The same convection breeze meant that unless you were near something hot you were freezing.

    I spent most of my Navy time in enginerooms. Yes, it was hot, but there was no sun, and huge supply and exhaust fans moved a lot of air through the spaces.