Here in Southwest Florida, on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, winters are wonderful. Everybody knows that. But I’m here to tell our readers up north and around the world that our summers are darn nice, too.
No, I’m not having a heat stroke. On the water, our natural air conditioner, summer temperatures are not as warm as the temperatures you see posted for the inland areas of Florida.
On your typical summer day here in paradise, you’ll wake to a thermometer reading 75. Mornings are nice. Lots of boaters do their cruising and fishing from daybreak to lunch, then will duck in to a marina for shade and protection, a swim in the pool and a shower.
By late afternoon temperature will have risen to 92. Clouds grow spectacular formations and darken. It rains. I mean it really rains. Then the rain stops and the sun comes out again. Everything is clean. And you say to yourself, “Wow, it’s so much cooler. That was a good rain.” The clouds move out into the Gulf. The sun sets behind those clouds and shoots colored beams across the wide horizon. It’s a good time of the day to be on a boat or a beach.
I’m not saying that our summers are nicer than summers in many other places. Vic and I have boated up and down the Atlantic Seaboard and will testify that summers from North Carolina to Maine are generally terrific. I have lived in Indianapolis, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Detroit and remember ideal summer days in every city. But I also remember some 100-degree days. (I also remember some 40 below zero days, but that’s another story.)
I hope this doesn’t sound catty, but I sometimes wonder if Midwestern summers were really that nice or did it just seem that way after brutally windy winters and sodden, drizzly springs.
I’ll acknowledge that weather, like beauty, is decided by the comfort zone of the beholder. For some, Florida’s summers are just too warm, I understand. All I’m saying is make up your own mind. I’ve heard it said that Florida summers are an acquired taste. Some Florida residents I know who moved from other states tell me they had to live through a couple of our summers before they learned to appreciate them.
What about hurricanes? Yes, from July to November, we have to keep an eye on them. Once I noticed a graphic in a newspaper with arrows showing where the major hurricanes have come ashore in the previous 100 years. The east coast of Florida had dozens of arrows. I saw arrows pointing at all the states of the Atlantic Seaboard from Georgia to Massachusetts. The Gulf Coast of Florida had only two or three arrows. Frankly, hurricanes that enter the Gulf of Mexico are more likely to head toward Texas or Mexico.
Hurricanes are not to be taken lightly but, my point is, neither should the remote possibility of a hurricane veto your summer trip to Florida. Statistically, there’s an equal or better chance of a hurricane striking North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New York’s Long Island, and Massachusetts. The point is, if hurricanes hold that kind of power over you, then you shouldn’t take summer vacations near any of the Atlantic states either.
I’m sure you know that some TV reporters tend to overstate the case on weather. We’re still smarting down here by Dan Rather’s report during Hurricane Andrew that Fort Myers was going to get a direct hit. In fact, Andrew struck the other coast of Florida. But the damage was done. Loose lips sink tourism.
Here’s what I think. Decide for yourself. I decided long ago that summers in Florida, like the winters, are darn nice. Ah, paradise.
Barb Hansen manages Southwest Florida Yachts, yacht charters, and Florida Sailing & Cruising School, a liveaboard yacht school. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 1-800-262-7939 or visit http://www.swfyachts.com/
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