By Calvin Palmer
Winter blew into northeast Florida today. A cold front passed over yesterday bringing rain and is now subjecting to us to cold air from those damned Yankee states. As with the carpetbaggers of old, Southerners are being made to suffer.
With a chilly west wind blowing, temperatures have plummeted to a maximum 64 degrees Fahrenheit. The overnight low is expected to be only 40 degrees.
I can already see the fingers of scorn being pointed from Washington state, Oregon, the Midwest and New England, not to mention Canada but the thing about temperature is that it is relative.
In Britain, a temperature of 64 degrees, or 17.7 degrees Celsius as they would call it since they abandoned Fahrenheit many years ago in order to kowtow to the continental Europeans, combined with the sunshine Jacksonville has enjoyed today, would have people out in T-shirts and summer frocks proclaiming that summer had arrived.
I remember during a visit to San Francisco in December 1994, when temperatures were in the mid to upper 60s Fahrenheit, I was dressed in a shirt and short leather jacket, commonly known as a bomber jacket. Wearing one of those in today’s climate of heightened airport security, I would probably be prevented from boarding a plane.
The weather in San Francisco reminded me of Britain in late April or September and I was dressed accordingly. The conditions were perfect for walking around and sightseeing. But the people of San Francisco must have thought I was mad — the jury is still out on that one – because they were dressed in heavy winter coats, winter hats, scarves and gloves.
Given that I have been subjected to the climate of north Texas and northeast Florida for the past 10 years, I have adjusted to the warmer climes of The South and so today was cold and it will get colder as the evening progresses.
I will not go to the lengths of those people I saw in San Francisco to keep warm but I can now fully understand why they would think a temperature in the mid 60s Fahrenheit was cold.
The great advantage of northeast Florida is that usually the cooler temperatures are but a brief interlude. The forecast has the temperature back up to 74 degrees on Tuesday and 76 degrees on Wednesday. And both days will be sunny.
People in the UK consider themselves blessed if they get a temperature of 76 degrees in the middle of July.
I do sometimes wonder whether I could still hack it in a northern climate. After enjoying warm winters for this length of time, I am beginning to have serious doubts. For all its many faults, Jacksonville’s saving grace is its climate.
All I can say to those people experiencing more traditional winter weather is, wrap up well and keep warm. Oh, and wish you were here!
Winter draws on, as Spike Milligan used to say.