Florida summer is here: months of soaking, smothering, sizzling

Clouds and rain approach downtown St. Petersburg during a recent storm. SCOTT KEELER | Times
Published May 30, 2014

Air conditioner groaning: "Humma-humma." Repairman says "I've got bad news." Write check and listen to thunder in the distance. One thousand one. One thousand two. Unplug the television, unplug the computer. Lightning. Frog-strangling rain.

Mosquitoes whine on the patio. Banana slugs slide down the dripping fence. Ice cubes melt in the Coke Zero. Late afternoon clouds climb above the beach like bruised cotton candy. Sand too hot for bare feet — gulf only a little better. Listen closely: Shuffle while wading in. Stingrays, mating, wait mischievously on the bottom.

Laughing gulls with jet-black heads mock human caution.

Poincianas celebrate the season with red-orange blossoms. Palm trees bend but don't look like they'll break. Find a generous neighbor who has a mango tree. Ninety-two degrees in the shade. Your kid smells like wet bread.

Ten minutes to the hour.

On the Weather Channel, Jim Cantore says a low-pressure system has just drifted off the coast of Africa.

Florida's longest season is here.