While much of the east coast has been enjoying some recent nice weather, here on North Carolina's Crystal Coast, it has been an especially nice fall. While we are enjoying this warmth, in the back of our minds, we're hoping for a nice winter also.
Our weather has been near perfect with the exception of some persistent winds that have made for some interesting changes on the beaches here in our coastal paradise.
Still the winds have to be considered a minor annoyance when the temperature is over seventy degrees Fahrenheit in the middle of November.
In late October we were still seeing some almost summer-like warmth. I went for an excursion on the beach and checked the temperature to find that it was seventy-seven degrees Fahrenheit. With fall, there is little humidity in the air so this year with warmth in the mid-seventies or better, our weather along the coast has been perfect for outdoor activities.
There have only been two or three cool mornings and only two days which felt really like winter was on the horizon. Those couple of days when we didn't make it out of the fifties, New England was suffering through a snow storm so I will not complain about our weather.
Our forecast for this middle week of November 2011 looks fantastic. Even when the temperature is only in the upper fifties as it will be later in the week, you can still have some great fun out on the water because the water temperature is holding above sixty degrees.
When you can walk out to get the morning newspaper and wear shorts without the hint of a chill, there is not much more that you can request from Mother Nature in November.
With the middle of the month upon us, I have been out on the White Oak River three of the last four days in my kayak. One of the things about a kayak is that you really notice the water temperature. There is very little plastic between you and the water so when the water gets into the lower fifties, riding around in a kayak is a little like sitting in half a chilled glass. However, as long as the water remains in the sixties, kayaking is just refreshing.
The cooler but still pleasant days make for great hiking and biking in addition to the boating. Sometime being surrounded by the 158,000 acres of Croatan National Forest, the 56 miles of pristine beach of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, and the over 20 miles of family oriented beaches on Emerald Isle requires some tough choices on what activity to undertake. Plenty of practice makes me up to the task.
I tend to alternate between taking long hikes at the Point on Emerald Isle, shorter beach walks with my wife at Third Street, boat rides to Swansboro, White Oak River fishing trips by kayak, hikes at Croatan trails, and bike rides in our neighborhood.
Because the beaches are always changing, I never get bored with my walks. It is hard to tell what you will find. In 2007, the Point was under water. It took a year before the sand was back, but the beach continues to evolve.
Walks that I took after Irene on Emerald Isle's Point showed some massive changes. Even at my favorite small beach, Third Street, we found a lot of sand gone on one of our recent trips. Less than a month later, the sand was back but piled on the beach slightly differently.
There is one thing for certain, this lingering warmth makes beach exploration and mapping a whole lot more fun than it is in January when the water has cooled, the air is chilly, and a cold north wind is blowing.
Each trip to the beach that I take while wearing shorts this time of year amazes me, but the truth is that the weather we are enjoying is not that abnormal. My fascination with weather results in some interesting charts. I keep track of the morning low temperatures in several locations, including the Cape Carteret area.
If you check out this table and graph of morning low temperatures, you will see that November 14, 2008 had an even higher low temperature than we did this year on the same date. October and November can with some rare exceptions be magnificent months on the Carolina Coast.
I still remember the image of a wedding party standing in the surf on October 10 last year. All you have to do is to look at the album of photos that I took that evening to convince yourself how warm it was in October of 2010. That was the case even with the winter of 2010 turning out to be a colder than normal one.
A look at the average temperatures for the area shows that we're just a little above normal, but the difference is really not that much. The kicker is that if you already have pretty nice temperatures, and you're running a little warm, things can seem almost summer-like which is what we are seeing this November.
While we are scheduled for some cooler weather later in the week, it doesn't look like I will even have to cover my tomatoes which will hopefully make it into December once again if we are lucky.
The North Carolina coast, especially the Crystal Coast, is a wonderful place to spend fall and even winter. Last winter which was the coldest in one hundred years, resulted in just a little snow for our area. People were excited to see some snow, but I was pleased that for the most part it melted before lunch. I don't mind a little snow on the grass, I just don't want to get into shoveling it.
So far the warmth on the Crystal Coast has kept my snow shovel relaxing in a corner in the garage for the last five years. That's fine with me, and I will continue to enjoy any of these fall days where the sunshine and warm air combine to make us wish this weather would stay forever. Every warm day in November and December is one less winter day. This November is one of those times when we don't listen to heat pumps. None of us will be complaining about that.
More information on visiting the area is available at Crystal Coast Life.