Summer arrives as Cindy bears down on Gulf Coast

June solstice

Fun facts about the summer solstice from the National Weather Service. (Credit: NWS-Miami)

The summer solstice slipped into South Florida without much fanfare, arriving Wednesday at 12:24 a.m. EDT for an extended stay until Friday, September 22.

From a visual perspective, there aren’t`many changes to South Florida seasons. If you take a photograph of outdoor foliage on June 21 and compare it side-by-side with a picture of the same area from January 21, you’d be hard-pressed to say which is which, unless you see poinciana trees in bloom or mango trees heavy with ripe fruit.

There are, of course, some subtle and not-so-subtle differences, the main ones being summer’s ultra-high humidity and dew points, and the other being the length of the day.

You would think that the sun sets latest on the solstice, but for various reasons it does not. Sunset in West Palm Beach on June 21, for example, is 8:17 p.m., but there’s a stretch of days from June 27 to July 6 in which the sun sets a minute later, at 8:18, before it begins the long march backward toward the winter solstice on Thursday, December 21.

(In Fairbanks, Alaska, the sun rose Wednesday morning at 2:59 a.m. and will set Thursday morning at 12:47 a.m.)

Temperature changes throughout the Florida summer, especially on the coasts and in the Keys, are almost imperceptible. The normal high in Miami on June 21 is 90, and that falls to 89 on September 21. The normal low on both days — both the start of the summer and the end of the summer — is 76.

Nature, of course, always has some surprises in store, generally in terms of tropical weather.

But otherwise summer’s arrival is a sure sign of lighter traffic, shorter waits at restaurants, and an overall slower pace that can be refreshing despite the heat.

And speaking of summer heat, the National Weather Service says high pressure building in from the east will bump up temperatures over the Florida peninsula for the rest of the week, with highs in the low 90s around most of the metro areas. The next chance for rain is Monday and Tuesday when a cold front stalls over North Florida, NWS forecasters in Miami said.

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TS Cindy 062117

Most of the heavy rain from Cindy will be to the east, stretching from Louisiana into the Florida panhandle. (Credit: NHC)

TROPICAL STORM CINDY — The system in the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t look much like a tropical storm at all on satellite, but it’s packing winds of 60 mph and could unleash torrential rain on southern Louisiana, the National Hurricane Center says.

Cindy could cause life-threatening flash floods as it makes landfall in Louisiana early Thursday morning, with the bulk of the precipitation stretched out to the east.

Parts of the western Florida panhandle could get 6-10 inches of rain, forecasters said.

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Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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