Winter Reaches the Gulf

The Arctic Blast that spread across the Great Plains and Midwest over the past few days pushed into the Deep South overnight.  This morning, temperatures hovered near 20 degrees F along the northern Gulf Coast and had dipped to 40 here on Longboat Key, off Sarasota; the afternoon high is forecast to reach 60 but a strong northeast wind will make it feel much cooler.

Bundled up for a walk on the beach this morning, we encountered only one other group of humans and found that the beach was devoid of birds.  The latter discovery was more a reflection of low tide on Sarasota Bay than it was a result of the cold weather; indeed, the expanding shallows and mudflats on the bay had attracted ospreys, gulls, terns, pelicans, cormorants, mergansers and a wide variety of wading birds, including the first roseate spoonbills and wood storks that we have observed on this visit to Longboat.

The unseasonably cold weather is expected to persist for a couple more days before winter retreats back to the north.  By then we will follow in its wake, returning to Missouri after the heart of the Arctic air mass has (hopefully) moved on to the north and east.