Sarasota News Leader

01/25/2013

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SKY HIGHWAYS 'BOWS AND FLOWS OF ANGEL HAIR … AND FEATHER CANYONS EVERYWHERE'* Story and Photos By Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer On the heels of a cold front, highways course across cumulous-nimbus clouds spill over in deluges puncthe sky. There are no lanes, no lights, no signposts. tuated by thunder and lightning. Our thunderheads Except for birds and the occasional plane, the skies are said to be the highest in the world. are free of traffic. The storm passes. Patches of blue appear and in But much of the time in winter, Florida's skies are a quiet coda to the day, the reds and golds of eveazure from horizon to horizon. The sun holds sway. ning's last light floods. In spring, clouds come and go, with intermittent Glowering hurricane skies with their drab grays of rain, a dress rehearsal for what is to come. T. S. Elliot's "patient etherized upon a table," are like none other. With their counterclockwise cirFlorida's humid summer with its continuous cycle culation, a hallmark of tropical storms, they weigh of warm air rising and cooling to form clouds in heavily on earth and soul. different shapes and sizes provides a textbook example of thunderstorm formation. Mere "puffs of In late fall, clouds go to ground. Fog drifts in from smoke" in early morning grow to great proportions the Gulf of Mexico, painting everything luminescent as the day progresses, and by late afternoon, huge white. * Thanks to Joni Mitchell, who wrote Both Sides Now.

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