Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lightning Capital of the USA

We are still here in Stuart, Florida waiting for generator parts. We've been here since June 22nd, and according to the Westerbeke Parts Department, we'll be here until at least September 10th. It wouldn't be so bad if the water was clean enough for swimming....or we could go out sailing....or if Florida wasn't the Lightning Capital of the USA!
 
But those are the facts, so here we sit, surrounded by filthy, unswimmable water, with generator parts strewn all over the quarterberths, and thunderstorms ever threatening.
 
 
The chart above explains why thunderstorms are so common in Florida. Thank goodness we are under the grey arrow on the east coast where there are ONLY 15-20 flashes per square mile per year. That is way better than Tampa and Orlando, but every time I hear thunder I still cringe.

This next map is especially sobering. It shows average yearly deaths from lightning by county. Again, we are in a relatively safe area, Martin County, which is the yellow county just to the right of the blue blob.
 

 
 
Being from California with its clear, dry summer weather, we have found that this climate takes some getting used to. Back home we'd make a list of chores and forge ahead, confident that the weather wouldn't interfere, but here we find ourselves making frequent weather adjustments.

We plan our chores by looking to the East. If we see huge clouds, we do the inside chores first and hope the weather improves later. If its clear, we bike to the store, sand some varnishwork, or polish some stainless. And we get plenty of exercise opening and shutting the hatches several times a day.

Even with all this uncertainty I've found some beauty in Florida weather. The sky is a constantly changing tableau of gorgeous clouds. Especially at sunrise and sunset when the sun adds it's magic to the canvas. And when there's no wind, the water mirrors the sky's beauty.
 
 
I frequently sit on deck early in the morning with a cup of tea, admiring the view, watching the birds, and taking photos. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do.
 
 
 
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