Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Features and More

Head outside this summer, rainfall and all

Go outside, we said. You'll have a great time, we said.

This issue was all ready to go when Tropical Storm Emily crept up and surprised everyone. Forecasters knew it would rain that day, but they didn't know how much, a confluence of factors fooling the prediction software. You probably felt it. My shoes were filled to the top with water as I squished-squished-squished into the office after navigating some serious B-roll from the Weather Channel. A maintenance worker mopped the muddy floors, sighing.

Nothing, least of all weather in Florida, is completely predictable.

Still, despite Emily's short visit to town, we humbly offer you encouragement to step outside. Last we met, we told you to have fun in the great indoors, in that miraculous invention called air conditioning. This week, our writers have fresh air suggestions from kayaking to splashpads to dining alfresco. And because we're not crazy, each suggestion comes with a keep-cool tip.

But what about keeping dry should another Emily come to roost? Here are some ideas to take when you venture out this weekend.

Get the radar

The Times and tbo.com have a free Tampa Bay weather app called TBO Weather. It uses GPS to know your location and pulls up the radar instantly so you don't have to go clicking around to find it. Handy for that crucial moment when it's cloudy and you're all, "Should we walk 16 blocks or grab a Lyft?" Just search for it in your phone's app store.

Get new tech

Here's a thought. Why does your umbrella shut the way it does, splattering you and everyone around you with water pouring off the top? It's like some cruel joke to make you never stay completely dry. The Kazbrella is a British umbrella invention that aims to squash this, by folding in on itself instead of out, leaving the wet side all wrapped up. Don't forget to shake it out and let it dry later, though. Shudder to think of the breeding ground. It's about $60. The As Seen on TV version, the BetterBrella, is about half the price.

Get soaked

My mom likes to tell a story of my uncle, who rode motorcycles. One day, he got caught in a downpour and was soaked until there was no soaking left to be done. "You can only get so wet," became our family mantra of rain resignation (rainsignation?). Rain is what it is. Of course, make safety a priority and look out for dangerous conditions. But barring that, remember that water falling from the sky can be a little invigorating, and sometimes, it's fun to give in. You can only get so wet, and you'll always dry off in the end.

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