If you don't live in Florida, or don't live here year round, you've probably heard tales of what it's like to live here in the summer. Some of it's true. OK, a lot of it probably is.
What you hear: Summer starts in March. Uh, well, yeah, sort of. Like the rest of the northern hemisphere, summer actually does start officially in June. But to tell you the truth, it feels like summer much earlier--for sure by April. Snowbirds aren't fools. They're out of here by the beginning of May, if not sooner.
What you hear: Humidity in summer is legendary. Okay, that's true. When I was growing up here, and this is giving my age away, nobody we knew had air conditioning. It was mostly for stores and movie houses. Those places had signs out front that said "Come on in! We're Air Conditioned!" As teenage girls, we owned those bouffant hair dryer things with a cap hooked to an air hose and sat under them to get our hair (wrapped around plastic rollers) to dry. It would never air dry in summer.
Summer humidity is still high--that hasn't changed. Sometimes on an August afternoon there's so much moisture in the air I feel like I'm leaving a wake when I move, like a boat does through water. Florida makes up for this by having a beautiful dry season in winter and into spring.
What you hear: It rains a lot here in summer. Pretty much true, too. We can pretty much measure rain in feet. Statewide, we average about 54 inches a year. That's a fairly large amount. We are also the lightning capitol of the world. Just about every single day during the rainy season we have at least one thunderstorm, maybe more, but they usually happen in the afternoons. Mornings and early afternoons are great beach days. We welcome the storms because the air cools down very noticeably while it's raining. A rainstorm can start suddenly and go from zero to car wash heavy in seconds. One thing to remember, though: If you even think you hear thunder, get inside right away. Our parents and grandparents drilled that into us, and I still abide by it.
What you hear: Florida is famous for summer hurricanes. Yes we have them. Not every year and not all of them are destructive. Sometimes, they're little more than tropical storms. Most of the time they miss us entirely and fizzle out over the Gulf or the Atlantic, leaving us with something that resembles an afternoon rainstorm, but with some palm fronds down in the yard. One thing we do not take for granted is that we won't get one. If you live here year-round, you have a hurricane kit and restock it every spring with water, non-perishable food, batteries, and the like. We're like the Scouts: Prepared.
Don't let me scare you off from visiting our beautiful state in summer. Come to our beaches, where it's simply stunning white-sugar sand for miles. The breezes off the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean are wonderful, making Fort Myers, Sanibel/Captival Islands, and St. Petersburg beaches amazing. Tampa and Orlando have all those outstanding theme parks (everyone knows about Disney, but there are tons more, like Busch Gardens in Tampa). I didn't even get into Daytona or Miami. I'm sure they are great, but I'm from the west coast and more familiar with those.
We love tourists here. Come experience our Southern Hospitality. Just don't laugh too much when we say, 'y'all.' If you stick around long enough, it'll rub off on you!
You can leave a comment below, if you like. I'd love to hear from you, especially if you have a great Florida summer or vacation story.