Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Here's to Warm Seas, Fighting Deer Flies

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Here's to Warm Seas, Fighting Deer Flies

Article excerpt

My brother used to say that when you start talking about the

weather, you must be out of things to say. Many of you suspected

that about me a long time ago.

The weather turned me into a liar. After my club beach column,

the ocean water temperature dropped and stayed well below normal

for all of April. I said that by that date, it should have been

74 and rising. I know; I measure it for a TV station. Measuring

ocean temperature is not as easy as it sounds.

The depth at which it is measured and the time of day combined

with wind direction can make it vary within hours. One TV

station only accepts the fishermen's view, which is measured

well below the surface. The weather service buoys are more than

10 miles out to sea. I not would expect any surfers or swimmers

to be in either location.

I believe my version is more useful to the largest number of

people. It comes from a thermometer dragged about 10 feet behind

me during a swim. Swimmers and surfers more than 10 feet deep

or several miles offshore deserve the temperature they are

getting. Divers will likely be wearing wet suits on offshore

dives to the reefs.

On March 29, my useful water temperature was 74 degrees. One TV

station claimed that evening it was 60. By March 31, I enjoyed a

swim without a wet suit. The next morning, April Fools' Day, it

was again just 70 degrees. It went to 68 and hovered only around

70 during April.

Southeast winds can raise the water temperature as much as 6 to

10 degrees in 12 hours. West winds can then drop it the same in

just a few hours from March to November. Clean, blue-green water

and southeast winds usually bring warm water. Turgid, silty

water with west winds generally whisk away warm surface waters

quickly. Back in July 1994, we had a monthlong cold spell of low

70s. Normally, it should be about 82.

May 11 found me in my full hooded wet suit for my predawn swim.

It was more than I needed, but I was in a hurry and did not want

to feel any chill. My motto is still "Too old to be cold. …

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