Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)
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Sunday, 10 January 2010

Chilled oranges and marmalade.

Dick Puddlecote has a piece about snow in Florida, it's here.

Mrs Rigby couldn't, of course, ignore the linked articles which set her off on a happy wander round the internet.

This report says

Viewers in Flagler and Marion counties reported seeing snow flurries just after 5 a.m. Another viewer in Brevard County reported flurries along the beach at Cape Canaveral. Ice reports were also received from Volusia, Orange and Osceola counties.

and this report says

North Florida continues to face one of the coldest winters in its history. (my bold) Wednesday, the NWS center in Jacksonville braved 21 degree (-6C) weather, the city’s coldest temperature on record, Schuler said.

“It hasn’t been that cold since 1884,” he said.

"History" - now there's an interesting sort of word. People write about "history" as if history is something that never gets changed, but Mrs R recalls reading somewhere or other that history is always written by the winners, by the people who end up in charge.

If she was being really picky she'd contact the person who wrote that article to ask them when, precisely, the weather 'history' of North Florida started.

She'd ask if it started in fourteen hundred and ninety two when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, or if this history started in 1513 when Juan Ponce de León y Figueroa called it Florida (because of the nice flowers) or if it was in 1531 when Tristán de Luna y Arellano landed at Pensacola, or if it was a bit later and after usable thermometers had been invented.

Maybe she'd be told that the weather history of Florida started earlier than that, maybe it was so long ago that there weren't any ex-Europeans to see the cold snow and ice and write about it, and maybe she'd be told that weather happened before man was around to experience it - and clever 21st century record keepers and analysts use things like tree ring data to work out whether was cold or not (the annual growth rings are close together when it's too cold for a tree to grow very much) - a bit like the chap who used information tucked away in tree growth rings to make a graph.

Because of all these 'maybes' Mrs Rigby has tried to second guess what the journalist means, and she thinks they're actually talking about the fairly recent history of Florida, and only about the weather in one little part of it, otherwise, being really picky, 'one of the coldest winters in its history' would be cross referencing against weather way back when it got to look like Florida because of continental drift, erosion and so on - which was millions of years ago.

The best thing about history is that it includes yesterday, and most people can remember yesterday. They can also remember things that happened earlier in their lives. So, although Mrs R wasn't around way back in 1884, (we're back to the article in case you're confused), she was around when there were some awful snowstorms in Florida that wiped out the orange crops and made orange juice more expensive - and she knows it's happened more than once.

There are a few sites that mention things like that, and earlier snow storms too - they were very easy to find but Mrs R is resorting to Wikipedia which might not be the most accurate of sites because articles are often written by ordinary folk who have a lot of spare time, but it does at least give a general idea and has everything all in one place.

Here's a quick quote, before somebody gets in there and changes history :-

Snow in Florida is a rare occurrence, especially on the peninsula. During the Great Blizzard of 1899, Florida experienced blizzard conditions; the Tampa Bay area had "gulf-effect" snow, similar to lake-effect snow in the Great Lakes region. During the 1899 blizzard was the only time the temperature in Florida is known to have fallen below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (−18 °C).

The most widespread snowfall in Florida history occurred on January 19, 1977, when snow fell over much of the state, with flurries as far south as Homestead. Snow flurries also fell on Miami Beach for the only time in recorded history.

A hard freeze in 2003 brought "ocean-effect" snow flurries to the Atlantic coast as far south as Cape Canaveral.

The 1993 Superstorm brought blizzard conditions to the panhandle ...

Mrs R does note that the temperatures mentioned are not the same as those in the newspaper article, but thinks it helps make her point. You can read more here and here .

There's more about the snowy "Superstorm" of March 1993 - which made some snow land on Florida - here , and something from NYT about the Blizzard of 1888.

As for the weathermen and women and their, ahem, forecasts, how about this :-
Mark and Barbara Willard were at home in Wickford, England two weeks ago checking the weather forecast on the Internet before packing for their trip to Orlando — sunny and 70 degrees.

On Saturday afternoon they had the hoods on their brand new coats pulled tight around their heads as the walked down the International Drive tourist strip. The weather: 35 degrees and cloudy with a chance of icy rain or even snow.

Maybe these weather forecasters, who've been busy telling us we're all going to fry in 10, 20, 30, 40 or more years time, are now being a bit less warmist, because some of them have said it's going to snow in 'much of Spain'.

If they're right then they've given us enough warning to stockpile some marmalade.

2 comments:

White Death The Blizzard of '77 said...

Yes it snowed in Florida in January 1977, just prior to the arrival of the Blizzard of '77 on January 28th etc in other parts of the USA and Canada, the only blizzard in American history declared a major disaster by President Carter.You can hear the energency radio broadcasts and see some classic disaster pics of snow on my website http://www.whitedeath.com
Beware of snowflakes!
Erno Rossi

Mrs R said...

Good video, easier to watch on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-gRb_MuUgg
And more to see if you search a bit
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=florida+snow&search_type=&aq=f