Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Florida Summer Wind- 50 Shades of Not All Bad

Florida summer is not like normal summer. For those unfamiliar with the difference, I shall explain it...

First, let's define "normal summer" as those months of the year where the average high is between 75 - 85 Fahrenheit (24 - 29 Celsius). By this definition a normal place like New York City has summer from June through September, and by the same definition Florida has summer from November through April.

 photo FloridaSummer_zpsfd79dfd9.jpg

What Florida has from May through October is not summer. It's something above and beyond summer; a season of consummate heat and saturating humidity, boiling over every afternoon with thunderstorms from horizon to horizon. Indeed, the May through October period in Florida may be more properly called "the wet season" than "summer." The scientists I work with at the South Florida Water Management District actually do divide the year into Wet Season / Dry Season because there's such a strong difference in the amount of rain we get during our summer-like winter and our rainforest-like summer.

Anyway, temperature and precipitation are alright, but what really matters here at James' Blog is WIND. The winds during Florida's overheated wet season are notoriously light. Perhaps it's because there's little difference between the air temperature over the land and the ocean. Perhaps it's because no cool fronts can penetrate from the north. Perhaps it's because the thunderstorms mess everything up before a consistent wind pattern can take shape. It's probably all these factors and more.

That said, there IS some wind during Florida summer. It's most consistent in far Southeast Florida and the Florida keys, which dip into the zone of tropical Caribbean tradewinds. The rest of the Atlantic Coast of Florida also gets some easterly and southerly wind flow, but not with the strength and consistency of far southern Florida. I initially thought that the West Coast of Florida would have the least wind of all during Florida Summer since it's on the wrong side to get the tradewinds. But we actually do ok with our little seabreezes- maybe even better than some of the Atlantic side of Florida.

As evidence, I present two short (I tried to keep them under 2.5 minutes) videos of my summer windsurfing in SW Florida.

Summer Wind 6-30-13 from James Douglass on Vimeo.

WagnerBoard POV 7-13-13 from James Douglass on Vimeo.


Beric said...

Bonita Beach vid is beautiful! Thanks for sharing the day...

Anonymous said...

Oh thank you for this graph. It is so hard to explain to people why running in Florida summer isn't that fun. Every year on my training notes my times start to slump and well meaning northern friends offer me tips on hydration, rest, speed work, chia seeds, and then like automagically in about late september to mid october, I am suddenly again running along...so hard to explain... I'm not a fan of wind but I can see you kind of have to be!

James Douglass said...

Mizuno- Thanks for the comment. :) I'm glad my Florida weather analysis reached further than just to windsurfers. I can definitely see how the usual summer running tricks wouldn't work here.