This is a touchy subject when you've got people Up North under unprecedented lumps of snow and services shutting down. And there again people laugh when residents of the Keys complain about sixty degree weather. I find myself constantly trying to explain that it isn't snobbery or stupidity or vanity that makes sixty degrees (15 Canadian degrees) seem so freezing to people who live here.
Consider this: the average normal regular temperature fluctuates between 75 and 95 degrees. Summers are not as hot as a lot of places and winters are never as cold as anywhere else. Key West never gets frost as the lowest recorded temperature was forty one (5 Canadian degrees). This means most people don't have proper winter clothing. You may also be surprised to learn a lot of homes don't have heat. And furthermore all those leaky houses with loose window frames become ice chests when the north winds start to blow.
This next point is a tough one to get your head around but 60 degrees in Key West is a lot colder than many other places. It's a function of the same watery effect that makes summers cooler than much of the central plains. 110 degrees is not uncommon in Kansas say in August and I've felt it and it's disgusting. Dry heat it may be but it's hot, just as it gets burning hot in Arizona or New Mexico or any of those deserts. In the Keys the cooling summer breezes off the ocean keep temperatures below 100 (usually) and make it surprisingly pleasant even if very humid. Not everyone likes summers here and I do always mention that liberal use of air conditioning in the home and car is a requisite. My wife and I spent a couple of years sailing through the tropics breathing only God's super heated humid air and I have learned to appreciate the joys of modern technology. Some people think living without air conditioning improves their Keys street cred and they may well be right but I do things my way.
So in winter sixty degrees can be damp and chill, and when the sun comes out the wind blasts across the islands from the north east bringing all that salt laden humid air with it. Combine that with lack of proper clothing, lack of heating and low physical resistance and you can see why it feels a bugger sight colder here than you might imagine sitting in your snow drift Up North.
And let's not forget that we live her because we like the heat, we want sunshine, we prefer never to see snow again. Conchs are in a special category here and I never speak for them, as they are a law unto themselves and I always defer. But for anyone who chooses to live in the Keys and then complains about the heat, all I can say is stupid is as stupid does. It's like choosing to live in the desert then bitching about the lack of moisture. So when it gets cold here as it does from time to time, pardon us if we feel it and moan about it.
The people I do feel sorry for are the visitors who have come to the Keys hoping for a sunny break under the palms in the middle of their winter fiasco Up North and they get gray skies, strong winds and chilly temperatures. They look pale and wan and say with a brave smile that sixty degrees would be a heatwave at home and they make do. Brave souls.