They're not just storms
More than the cool Atlantic Ocean off the east coast, the warm waters of the Gulf charge the atmosphere over the west coast of Florida with great circulating clouds of moisture. The sky is unstable, often boiling with energy, and Tampa Bay, midway down the Florida Gulf Coast, is a meteorological bull's-eye, one of the great magnets for thunderstorms in the world. The weather has begun to be unpredictable. But the sky often turns dark on summer afternoons, as it always did. The lightning sizzles and flashes, the thunder cracks and booms, and the rain falls in silver torrents. The torn and drifting cloud formations that linger afterward can make spectacular sunsets to the west, illuminating the eastern sky with a dimmer but lovely, soft, reflected light. It is nature's theater. It gives life here an edge, imparting a sense of drama and energy to what otherwise would be the waning years.