By Jeffrey R. Orenstein, Ph.D., Simply Smart Travel
This autumn we will mark our twenty year anniversary since we moved from Ohio to Florida. One of the things we missed during our first few years in the Sunshine state was the annual abrupt change that marked each autumn in northern Ohio. Like clockwork, the tress put on their gorgeous display of color and the weather turned sharply colder, even though so-called Indian summer warm spells were frequent. Unfortunately to this warmth-loving writer, frosts and even an occasional snowfall that tuck were also part of an Ohio October. They were the inevitable harbingers of the long winter to come.
But now that I am an honorary Florida native (a curious cultural phenomenon that seems to happen to transplanted residents after about a decade), I have come to appreciate that there is a change of season each fall in Florida. Admittedly, it is more subtle than what happens up north but it is real and it is perceptible.
Our first clue is usually that the early morning temperatures become noticeably cooler. Instead of a overnight low in the upper 70’s (and occasionally the lower 80’s), the overnight low is in the high 60’s and lower 70’s. Today, for example, the overnight low was 67 and the prediction is for a high of 84 with another low in the high 60’s for tonight.
Another sure sign of autumn is that the annual migration of what we affectionately call snow birds (northerners who winter in Florida) is beginning. The auto carriers that ferry their cars down are in evidence in increasing numbers, dropping off their Lexuses, BMWs, Audis and Mercedes Benz sedans and SUVs. The restaurant lines are a bit longer and the traffic is a little heavier, though nothing what they will be like when the flock is in full force between early January and Easter and Passover.
Still yet another sign that fall has arrived in Florida is that the humidity is lower-in the 50% to 60% range instead of the 80% to 90% range. The difference is huge-the level of summer soggy air discomfort is gone and usually won’t return until April.
Another tip-off is that the summer rainy season that started in June is over. The sun is shining brightly and the set-your-watch regularity of late afternoon thunderstorms is a thing of the past. While there are occasional rainy days in the fall, they are few and far between. It still may be hurricane season but it is winding down and well past the peak weeks for storm development.
What says Florida fall to me most of all is the rainbow of colors from freshly-planted annuals that will bloom until spring, the brilliant yellow and then orange blooms on the numerous rain trees that dot residential areas and the median of one of the main streets in our neighborhood. Along with them, the bright yellow blooms of the Tabebuia trees contrast with the fluffy white clouds in the omnipresent blue skies. They don’t call it the Sunshine state for nothing!
Yes, there are seasons in Florida and Autumn is one of the best. It is a colorful, mild and delightful time of the year in Florida. It’s good to be here. When you visit us, keep your eyes open for signs of all. They’re here. When are you going to be?