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Weather Essay: When Florida Turns Pink

National Weather Service

“Why is the sky turning pink?”

That’s what my 6-year-old asked me as we watched one of the TV weather forecasts this week. We were on the couch in shorts and T-shirts, just back from the zoo with Grandma who was visiting.

The weather map zoomed out from our little slice of land jutting out like the thumb of the continent, showing a mass of pink oozing out of Canada into the Midwest where the 6-year-old was born. But he was too young when we moved here to remember snow boots, too young to remember mittens. Too young to know the deep chill early in the morning, running through your body when your alarm beckons and school, or work demands you rise and leave the thermal comfort of a thick blanket for the cold hard reality of a tile floor.

The weather forecaster put the map in motion. The Canadian pink started to spill out of the Great Lakes. The three day, four day, five day forecast, which the pink was marching through the eastern half of America, sparing no one. Thermostats were checked. Switches were flipped. Heaters -- what we called furnaces up north -- were ignited.

The pink first overtook Chicago, pushing out the familiar reds and oranges. Memphis turned white. Atlanta was conquered. Jacksonville was overrun. South Florida lost its grip on yellow and was struggling to stay a shade of green that can only be appropriately described as “key lime.”

First, long sleeves and pants, but that wasn’t enough. Soon enough it was sweaters. Sandals were put away. We had to wear shoes. With socks. Thick socks. Maybe even boots.

The pink kept coming. Jackets were found deep in the closet. They were lonely and dusty. But they were warm and ready for duty.

Seat warmers! Oh, this is why automakers put them in. How do I turn off the A/C in the car again? I feel pink. I want to be red again.  Or at least a pleasant shade of yellow.

My son assures me we’ll be orange again by next week.

Tom Hudson is WLRN's Senior Economics Editor and Special Correspondent.
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