Autumn on Anna Maria Island

It’s the best time of year again. Finally the summer heat and humidity ends. During September through October there are a few days of thunderstorms that bring downdrafts of cool air relief, but when the first cold front from the north pushes far enough south to bring a cold air mass with it, autumn has signaled its arrival.

By cold I don’t mean frost on the pumpkins or blasts of arctic air. Some times the temperature difference is minimal – going from high 80’s to low 80’s. But the change is noticeable especially because the cooler northern air has less moisture in it. That means lower humidity.

Halloween marks the time to look forward to cold fronts and the zonal climate change from tropical to temperate. Even if the official hurricane season is supposed to last through November, the first cold front brings a sigh of relief that the weather pattern has changed. The summer’s predominant moist air from the southwest reverses to dry air from the northeast. Time to turn off the air-conditioning and open the windows.

The grass has stopped growing as fast but flowers come alive again with renewed vigor:

Suddenly it’s comfortable to stay outdoors longer and start looking at those deferred projects that are too strenuous in summer’s humid heat. Or perhaps linger longer on the patio and deck for lunch without no-see-um bugs. The days are still long enough to find time in the evening to tackle neglected tasks. Then when daylight-losing-time begins, the tasks move one hour forward. Instead of the sunset walk at 7:30 it moves to 6:30 and slowly earlier as the days shorten.

Cooler nights bring out an extra bed cover and rediscovering long-sleeved tops and jeans, cast aside so many months earlier. The bugs go into hibernation and cars don’t need washing as often.

But autumn in Anna Maria can hardly be called cool at all. Daytime temperatures of 80°F and 70°F at night are just perfect for outdoor activities and comfortable sleeping. The water still retains its warmth; great for boating, sailing, kayaking, paddling and fishing. The clearer skies offer better bird-watching by day and star-gazing by night.

Now thoughts turn to Thanksgiving and Christmas, family, guests, and snowbird visitors.

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