It’s hard to believe, but in four short days it will be Labor Day weekend. For most of you, Labor Day means a day off from work, maybe some fireworks at the ballpark, a can’t-miss telethon, and the start of little Johnny’s school year. But for us here in Florida, Labor Day means one thing: the end of summer.
Somewhere along the way, you might have heard that Florida is the southernmost of the continental 48 states. Maybe you’ve even visited our state, and stayed in one of our many three-star hotels. In either case, you are aware that Florida’s climate can generally be categorized as “warm”.
Alas, this tropical paradise is not without certain flaws. Each February, the sun begins its journey north and brings with it the start of summer. As the air — and the Gulf of Mexico, the shallowest of the world’s seas — begin to warm, the humidity level rises, which can heighten the sensation of warmth in some affected individuals.
To the left is a graphical representation of summer temperatures in Tampa, Florida. As you can see, the shallow warm waters of the Gulf help to keep temperatures at a consistently high level beginning around Easter. You may also notice that the temperature has never reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Most scientists believe this is both a function of the water levels in the air, and also strong evidence that there is a God.
But all of that changes on Labor Day. On Labor Day, the “unofficial” end of summer as we say down here, we say goodbye to summer, and hello to autumn!
Autumn (also called “fall” in some parts of the country) is the season between summer and summer, and is characterized by the start of football season, the arrival of Octoberfest beer in Publix, and the presence of jacket-wearing people in television shows.
Remember those summer mornings in the swimming pool? Well, you’re going to need to wait until after 8 AM to get in the water in autumn. And with the Gulf temperatures dropping from the high-80s to the mid-80s, you might want to put that trip to the beach on hold until next March.
Don't forget about the foliage! If our trees had normal leaves, I can only imagine how yellow and orange they’d be when the temperature changes.
What’s that you asked? Oh, I almost forgot – autumn also brings cool temperatures. The muggy days of August are a distant memory once September rolls around:
Look at those lows! Low 70s by the end of the month? Time to go into that one drawer where I keep my two long-sleeved shirts. Fortunately, in autumn, stores like Target can special order you the jacket that you saw in the commercial, so you can still stay warm.
And if September caught you off guard, get ready for October:
If I had a fireplace, you better believe that once every 100 years, from the hours of 10 PM to 4 AM, I’d start a fire in October! It really makes you appreciate central heating on those nights when the temperatures dip into the 60s. And while most of the month will still certainly be in the 90s, it’s a dry heat – I bet the dew point doesn’t even get over 76 most of these days.
I’ve heard some people in the national media say, “For God’s sake, stay the hell away from Florida”; these are undoubtedly people who visited us in the summer. But with Labor Day just around the corner, I’m here to tell you that just as Florida welcomes the arrival of autumn, we welcome you! Come join us, won’t you?
And bring a windbreaker! (Autumn is also hurricane season.)