Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy's Gone, All's Quiet in Florida

The wind finally has stopped

After three weeks of rain, a near miss by Hurricane Sandy and the outer feeder bands, and just general blustery days, we're in winter.  Winter for us is a high in the 70s or the low 80s.

There's no wind.  No rain.  No clouds, OK maybe a few Simpsonian Clouds floating by in the distance but that's it.

Having gone out to unlock the fence and give the yard one last pass before the arborists arrive to repair the landscape after the storms, the overwhelming feeling here is nothing more than normal.  The strangest thing about the neighborhood today is that I roasted coffee earlier so my back yard has the smell of a fine Costa Rican roast on the general Floridian organic scent.  It's even cool enough to have had Iguanas falling from the tree, but none of those green monsters are around.

No complaints, Normal is good.  After all I could have been at the Jersey Shore or that neighborhood in Queens, NY that burnt to the ground due to the power station that went up in explosions and flames.  

For us, this was the storm that got away.  At least here, it's a good thing although Fort Lauderdale's Beach got chewed up and flooded which is very rare normally.  Having grown up in South Jersey, I know what a rogue storm like this would bring.  Neighbors of my old home in Philly said "meh. no big deal.  Let the roads drain and back to work".  I'm still waiting to hear how it went closer to the shore.

Here in Florida, we are used to a storm like Hurricane Sandy coming through and being annoying.   The soil is like sand in a colander.  It is actually hard to call it anything other than the Beach Sand it will be again.  Trees have evolved to let the wind flow through them.  When they let go of their foliage, they'll grow it back.  Trunks are in general softer wood so they'll bend before breaking.  In the Northeast, trees don't get storms like this often although the Nor'easters are getting more powerful each winter.   The Ice Belt has moved North and we were saying that winters were more like North Carolina than South Jersey.  I never saw an Ice Storm before the 90s, now you expect one or two a year at the beginning and the end of Winter. 

That Ice causes its own problems.   The Northern forests end right around Philadelphia.  50 miles North or South, the forests are a different mix of trees.  There is a blending there and you can actually still grow certain Palm Trees in sheltered conditions, although the only people who do are obsessed individuals who want something different.   Those hardwood trees like the Pin Oak and the softer trees like the White Pine tree would get glazed and snap under the weight of the winter coat.  Since it is warmer, once past the ice, the snow cover isn't quite as dry as before and there is more of it.

Of course that's all a falsehood since, as the Republican Party says, Global Warming doesn't exist.  It's "Climate Change" now.

Whatever it is, things are a changin'.

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