Paving Over Paradise

Looking at the calendar, one can see we are making our way to the middle of June. May is finished and school children will soon be free for the summer, if they are not already out of school. The days are longer.

And drier.

At this time of year, fifty years ago, Florida was, well … tropical. In the months of May and June, everyone counted on rain sometime from about 3:30 to 6:30 in the afternoon. This was when the phrase, “Don’t like the weather? Wait 30 minutes – it’ll change,” became popular.

Sometime ago, Florida seemed to hold more moisture in the atmosphere over the peninsula. This allowed for a natural cycle of early morning and afternoon heating, which permitted the water to evaporate into the atmosphere. There, the molecules of moisture collected until they were heavy enough to adhere to one another and rain down from the sky.

The afternoon rains were wonderful – the moisture cleansed and cooled the atmosphere. The water rejuvenated life. Before the rain, it was difficult to do anything outside due to the heat and horrible humidity. Remember, this was before air conditioning became common. Every living creature suffered during the earlier part of the day.

And then the late afternoon rain came.

After the rain began, everyone would take a break from their outdoor activities. As noted above, the little break lasted only 30 or 45 minutes, no more than an hour.

This was a daily occurrence. Now, no more.

Why? Climatologists have their various theories. Keep in mind, there are other ideas about the causes of the loss of afternoon thunderstorms. Perhaps the loss of afternoon rain showers is due to the excessive population consuming the natural water supply. Almost anything can cause the loss of the afternoon rains.

Perhaps Joni Mitchell’s theory is correct – they cut down the trees and paved over paradise.


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