Tampa Bay weather, get a grip
Storming for hours? Burning hot? Humid? Rainbows? All in the span of a single day?
A rainbow punctuates the sky over St. Joseph Sound at Crystal Beach on Tuesday as runner Kate Hardwick of Palm Harbor squeezes in a few miles between thunderstorms at the Crystal Beach Community Pier.
A rainbow punctuates the sky over St. Joseph Sound at Crystal Beach on Tuesday as runner Kate Hardwick of Palm Harbor squeezes in a few miles between thunderstorms at the Crystal Beach Community Pier. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Sep. 14, 2022|Updated Sep. 14, 2022

It is impossible to catch, let alone maintain, a vibe right now.

Here we languish, caught in a sodden, late-summer Florida weather whirligig. Does this perpetual rainfall signal climate cataclysm slow-cooked in a tasty marinade of infrastructure collapse? La la la, don’t want to talk about it.

Let’s instead gaze upon hysterical forecasts like this:

Let’s nervously side-eye “tropical disturbances” in the Atlantic. Let’s obsess over phrases such as “low-pressure system” over the Ohio Valley. Why does Florida keep getting Ohio’s mess? As someone from Ohio, I am allowed to say that. Let’s repeat “moisture” three times until a ghost woman comes out of a mirror covered in blood.

You ask, what do these meteorological terms look like in a practical sense? Like so:

The morning resembles a warm bath just before it turns your ankles eggplant. Not yet “sitting in my own putrescence,” not yet “Oh, &%#$, my iPhone is wet,” not yet “turns out baths aren’t like in the movies.” Still, toasty. Dogs don’t want to go outside. Humans don’t want to go outside. Outside is an option, but not a preferred one.

By the time the sun’s corona really gets abusive, the descent into madness is nigh. Running errands in an icy mega-mart might appear safe, but it’s not. This is an errand for fools. A fool’s … never mind, just don’t do it. You will never leave that Target, friend.

Because 94 million miles in front of your automobile, that barbarous plasma star is absolutely rocking out, spewing helium onto the hood. Glance in the rearview to find unrelenting blackness. The Pterobuzzards and Arachni-Lobsters from Stephen King’s “The Mist” are on the way. Escape is futile in either direction.

Then, rain. How much rain? Haha, silly goose! There’s no answer. It could be 15 minutes or it could be 15 hours, so reject all plans. Got it? That’s the safest way to live right now. If you are invited anywhere, say, “I would love to, but my body is made entirely of cotton candy.”

By hour six of the deluge, grass cut yesterday has been designated a national forest. All orchids are deceased, even the ones inside. Dogs who were just being a bit lazy in the balmy morning are staging a hunger strike as you drag them to the door. Or, if they are my dog, a breed with the sole purpose of keeping Queen Victoria company in her many fine robes, they blink and try to read the room.

But they cannot! There is no vibe! Is this the start of a romantic Bon Iver autumn or the end of a chaotic Sex Pistols summer? Should we look out the drenched window while clutching a mug of tea, a stack of Auden nearby? Should we dance in the cascading rain like the angel Drew Barrymore? Should we wear long sleeves and boots because, although it is 92 degrees, streets and parking lots are flooded and thermostats everywhere are set to 42? Should we pull the kids out of rec soccer, canceled due to soaked fields for eight weeks running, in favor of team gutter skiing?


We all need to be more like Drew Barrymore 🥹❤️ We must protect her at ALL COSTS ☔️💙 #drewbarrymore #happy #rain (🎥: @Drew Barrymore ) #repost

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Ah, but there is one redemption. A glorious hour will emerge right after the rain. The moment feels lightly breezy, calling to mind the autumn we’re trying to conjure with pumpkin spice. The devil’s solar furnace naps behind a hazy cloud. There may be a stunning rainbow, like the one arching over rainy St. Joseph Sound on Tuesday morning. Dogs will smile, releasing their vile held breath into Earth’s atmosphere.

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Do not be fooled. In Florida, fall comes in February. The Scorpion-Flies and the Terror-Pedes are waiting behind the reprobate sun to ruin your shoes and mood and they will win, every time.

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