Sunday, September 18, 2011

Key West rain, why it’s fun and 4 astounding KW rain facts

It's September, I’m back in Key West, and to say hello Nature brutally delivered several doses of rapid rain this morning. It was great!

Today’s rain was typical for Key West and its wet season. Tropical rain (i.e. rapid rain, heavy, with big, warm drops) is the best: all the drama and it it's quick.   Oh! that all rain were like that.   (Contrast this to UK/European/northern USA rain....Hours and hours of  dismal, low intensity drizzling. Boring!)

Today it rained a few times over night - which woke me up with the crashing. Later, at the start of the morning, we had a couple more tropical downpours at 9 and 10.  They lasted 15 minutes and you would have been utterly drenched if you’d been out in it. 

The last shower was 10am and we didn't get any rain for the rest of the day.  Here’s some of my ‘puddle pictures’ around Old Town from about 10 to 11am. 
After the rain has gone.  Some debris on Fleming Street.
The skies above Key West at 10.15, soon after the rains had stopped.  Not a lot of sun getting through.  Was not looking good.
A nice looking puddle but there were far bigger ones than this.
An impressive puddle on the corner of Simonton and Eaton Streets.
By 12 noon the clouds had cleared sufficiently to allow for sunbathing.

And there was a happy ending.  By 3pm the sky was back to normal – a few scattered, interesting clouds and none of them rain threatening.  The temperature was back to seasonal norms - a hot and sticky 89 degrees (that’s 32 degrees C). Here's the proof:
3pm the same day - on Frances Street and the view to the north...
...and then Frances Street, to the south.  Beautiful! (What rain?!!)
Such a pattern is a typical day in the rainy/wet season (= May to October inclusive) in Key West.  On average (in the rainy season), it rains at least every couple of days but it’s almost always short and then over and done for the day.  So it’s nothing to worry about and certainly nothing to stop a potential visit during this season.

On the plus side, the city is very lush with amazing foliage and flowers on the trees.

The bigger 'issue' is the humidity which does not break until November.  Until then it’s hot and sticky.  But again, most things you’ll do are air conditioned (except sun bathing, we don’t seem to have cracked how to AC that, thank god!) and so the humidity for most will be become something that makes the vacation different (rather than annoying).

Key West gets 39 inches of rain on average every year and let’s end off with some amazing facts about Key West rain!....        
  •       Key West is the driest place in Florida (for example, Miami gets 60 inches a year, that 54% more rain than KW)
  •       In Key West most of the wet season rain falls in the morning; in mainland Florida it’s in the afternoon and evening.
  •          Key West gets almost the same amount of rain per year than Boston, Chicago and Dallas
  •          Key West is hot, hot, hot.  The temperature of the falling rain, just before it hits the ground, is the hottest in the entire USA**.


Here's my rain-ometer:

KEY WEST GETS 39 INCHES OF  RAIN  PER YEAR ON AVERAGE 
NEW YORK is 7 (or 18%) INCHES WETTER 
LOS ANGELES is 24 INCHES  (or 62%) DRYER 
BOSTON is 3 INCHES (or only 8%) WETTER
CHICAGO is only a tiny 1 INCH (or 3%)   DRYER 
DALLAS is also only 2 INCHES DRYER (or 5%) 
MIAMI 21 INCHES WETTER 54% LONDON 13 INCHES DRYER 
LONDON, UK is 13 inches dryer!

Here's when Key West's 39 inches of rain fall - the % are how much of the year's total falls in that month (data: Weather Channel):      

 Jan 2.22 6% 
 Feb 1.51 4% 
 Mar 1.86 5% 
 Apr 2.06 5% 
 May 3.48 9%  - rainy seasons from May to October
 Jun 4.57 12% 
 Jul 3.27 8%
 Aug 5.4 14% 
 Sep 5.45 14%
 Oct 4.34 11%
 Nov 2.64 7% 
 Dec 2.14 5% 
 TOTAL 38.94 100%  










**OK, I made this last one up (but the others are true) – and I bet it’s true anyway!