No one wants someone's vacation spoiled, but I think the people of the Crystal Coast have breathed a collective sign of relief as afternoon thunderstorms and a more normal summer weather pattern have returned to our area.
The last two summers, 2010 & 2011, were extremely dry in Carteret County. At our dock just off the White Oak River, the 2011 rain total for May, June, and July was under two inches. In 2011 any corn crop in our area that wasn't irrigated was a complete failure. Many residents were stuck with expensive water bills just trying to keep their yards and gardens alive.
We were so dry that swamps were burning. There also wasn't enough moisture around to generate afternoon thunderstorms which are extremely important in the south during the summer. It actually took Hurricane Irene to break our 2011 drought.
This year started off differently. We did not have a real coastal winter like the one which brought us three snows in 2011. March 2012 started very warm, but we finished with some weather that came close to bringing frost to the tomato plants that I put in the ground in mid-March.
Still spring was nice in 2012, and April 2012 brought us strawberries a week to ten days earlier than the previous year. During the spring we really did not suffer from drought, but we did get dry a few times. Then at the end of May we got visited by Tropical Storm Beryl which brought us inches of rain and spawned a tornado that grazed our neighborhood.
June 2012 brought us some great beach weather and just enough rain to survive. July ushered in hot temperatures for everyone on the east coast including the Crystal Coast. With strong coastal breezes helping to temper the heat, so far the summer of 2012 in our cove has been pretty nice with the exception of a couple of very hot days.
There is no doubt that heat has been our biggest challenge in July. Last year we also had a hot spell in July, but it felt much worse because we were so dry. There were even some fires burning in the swamps to the northeast of us near Alligator River.
Having more rain this summer has helped keep things green compared to the previous two summers. Even with the heat there have been several peaceful mornings in our cove that were perfect for for enjoying my kayak. The ocean breeze was strong enough that I managed to fish in relative comfort even in the peak heat during the middle of the day on July 4 and 5.
Over the last six months our weather has been nice with the one serious exception being the less than one minute when the tornado passed by us. This year it was even nice enough for us to wander out into the ocean waters beyond the beaches in April. Some springs the winds blow so much, it is hard to regularly get on the water before May much less out in the ocean
So perhaps we can ask you indulgence if you show up at the beach and end up with a little rainy weather. It is hard for our area to be what everyone expects it to be without adequate rain to keep our forests growing and our fields and yards green.
Rain rarely hangs around here very long, and most of the time in the summer, it is just another welcome visitor.
Even on those odd rainy days there is plenty to do here on the Crystal Coast. If you need more details check out the new book that my wife and I recently published. The book's title is "A Week at the Beach, An Emerald Isle Travel Guide."
Our book of 87 pages has a chapter on what to do on a rainy day. It is available now for the Kindle for $4.99. You can read it on practically any electronic device with the free Kindle reader software.