"Winter in South Florida"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013

Somebody has upset the space gods and the weather gods both at the same time. The problem this presents is:

We don’t know what to expect. Do we watch for rain or snow?

Wind will usually accompany both of them. Temperatures are totally unpredictable, running wild all around the country.

We talked to friends in Michigan and complained about the temperature being down to 50. No sympathy was offered as we were advised the Mitten State had a high of 17 that day.

It’s boat show time in South Florida and the Convention Center in Miami Beach had hundreds of boats from 14 to 60 feet on the main level. Equipment displays occupied the second level: electronics, clothing, safety items such as inflatable PFDs and specialty items. There were sun glasses that allow you to spot deep under the water’s surface — fish, eels and gaters lying on the bottom.

Behind the center is a paved area full of tents and additional boats from offshore high-speed types to small, rubber row boats. I had to wonder what a 30-foot fiberglass center console with four 250-HP outboards would be used for. Everything associated with boating was on display and boat show special deals were being made.

Three other areas were available to visit in an in-water marina location. You may take a ride on a power boat of your choice by indicating intent to purchase. If sail is your interest, they are displayed at dockside to tour and special arrangements could be made for a demo sail. Special equipment booths accompany each of the in-water shows.

A final show was located on the intercoastal waterway a few miles distant but available via shuttle. This show is referred to as the brokers’ sale area and it contained the mega yachts. All the boats were much larger and so were the price tags which ran into the millions. There is never a lack of lookers at this show, those dreaming of winning the lottery and being able to afford a luxury yacht. Sales people are patient never really knowing if a prospective sale is among the gawkers.

The entire show is simply too big to see in one day, most visitors plan on two or three days to see it all. It is intended to be a warm-weather getaway outing and the first two days this year went well. Dealer meetings and business transactions took place and VIPs enjoyed warm weather. Rain, which is common during the show, hardly dampened the crowd. They moved into the tents if they were outside and continued to browse until it let up.

On the third day of the show, when most meetings and hand shaking were over and it was time for the public to rush in, disaster struck. Heavy downpours of rain, high winds and a drastic drop in temperature covered south Florida all the way to Key West. Numbers registered in the 50s early in the evenings and colder over a three-day period. Records were definitely set.

Those numbers may seem ideal to those toughing it out in winter areas but keep in mind, average temperatures in South Florida this time of year are 75 to 80. Visitors visiting the Miami International Boat Show arrive from all over the world with small carry-on luggage containing shorts, T-shirts and sandals. When the weather had its tantrum, these people thought it was a winter storm – minus snow.

As I see it, I must agree a cold spell here is uncomfortable. Add high winds, weird things flashing across the sky and it gets concerning. The meteorite disaster in Russia, followed by unexplained sightings in California and Arizona plus bright objects streaking across the Florida skies added to horrid weather, really made us wonder what was next.

We are hoping the weather gods and space gods will settle down after their show of superiority and let us get back to enjoying life in South Florida.




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