Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sanibel and Environs: The Upside of Electrical Storms

Florida is known as the lightning capital of the world, and for good reason. Lightning bolts are as common on late afternoon summer landscapes as are Palm Trees, and, quite honestly, just as pretty.

Though the Sunshine state has a flat topography and does not offer spectacular views (as in Grand Canyon) in other ways, the electrical storms on and around Sanibel are awesome.

They provide a sound and light show not to be seen in most of the other states and they do have a pattern that is fairly predictable so one can make ready for the performance.

Somewhere between 4 and 6 p.m. from June to October, the clouds roll in, the sky darkens to deep gray bordering on black and thunder can be heard rolling at a distance. Because there are no mountains and barely any hills to obscure the view, the show can be seen (and heard) from miles and miles away. And a unique feature of these gala events is the chiaroscuro of shadow and light that they present. The sky can be nearly pitch black, but rays of sunshine will be breaking through highlighting and making buildings appear "lit" in orange or yellow florescence. It is quite a sight!

These phenomenal storms are memories in the making, and worth every dime spent in travel to Sanibel Island or almost anywhere in the state of Florida.

And if you have found the water in the pool at your vacation rental a bit too luke warm for your taste, the secondary benefit of the afternoon "visitor" is the cooling off the heavy rains bring with them----- refreshing the pool with every visit.

But caution should be taken with each passing of a new storm. Mother nature can be deadly and you need to abide by her rules.

Here are some simple guidelines to help make your summer stay on Sanibel and the area as safe as can be during lightning storms:

  • Follow the 30/30 rule. If the time between seeing the flash of lightning and hearing the thunder is less than 30 seconds, take shelter. You are in a strike zone.

  • Immediately get away from pools, lakes and other bodies of water.

  • Get off the beach.

  • Never use a tree as a shelter.

  • Avoid standing near tall objects.

  • Keep away from metal objects including bikes, golf carts, umbrellas, fencing, machinery, etc.

  • Get indoors if at all possible or get in a hard-topped vehicle.

  • Remain in shelter for 30 minutes after the last flash of lightning.

Once secure, enjoy. You won't find visions like this most any place else!


Tootie said...

So right! I love the beautiful clouds we see during this time of year.

Samba said...

There is an upside to the whole summer season and the interesting cloud formations is one of the factors. The nice thing about most summer rains is that they come late in the day, don't last long and leave everything greener.