When you gamble on weather, sometimes the odds are against you. There are years when you can visit the beach here on the Crystal Coast in July and see nothing but blue sky. The summers of 2010 and 2011 were like that but we had swamps on fire one of those years. We got a more normal summer in 2012, but 2013 brought us more dry weather until June when we got 7.2 inches of rain. The rest of the summer was a classic with great weather, plenty of warmth and just enough moisture to get us through.
Of course 2014 has been different. We were getting dry in June, but then our moisture returned with a vengeance. Since it started raining in June, we have accumulated over 10 inches of rain in the last thirty days. Much of it has come in significant amounts over just a few days which has kept the beach weather fairly nice.
As we begin the fourth week of July, we are all wondering if this is going to be a damp week. Most of us can take a wet day a week but even those us not planning to be on the beach every day do not like to give up much more sunshine than a day a week. With Monday, July 21, 2014, being a damp rainy day for the most part, we have already had our rainy day for the week.
With a forecast that has rain probability at 40% for the rest of the week, it looks like this might be a damper week than normal. However, we can have a forecast like that and the weather still turns out great. Then there are times like today when the forecast had a 30% chance for precipitation and it starts raining at 10AM and rains off and on most of the day.
Our coastal weather is always a riddle that is best solved at the end of the day after you have observed the weather. You never know when a front will get hung up on the coast or when we will get some unpredicted coastal effect showers.
However, there are plenty of things to do here if wet weather does strike. MacDaddy's in Cape Carteret is a good starting point. Then there is the Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores and the Maritime Museum in Beaufort. It is unlikely you will have a completely rained out day. Even today we had periods when there was no rain.
Our rain is not cold rain so as long as we are not having a thunderstorm, you are okay to get a little wet. Of course it can be very wet like the picture of my dock in this post from July 2012. Then it is a little harder to brave the wet especially since coming inside wet to overly cool air conditioning will freeze almost anyone.
One of the strategies that works if we are in our traditional afternoon thunderstorm mode is to get on the beach early and plan to be off by 3PM which is when things start heating up with storms. If we are having coast effect showers, they sometimes disappear by 10AM and you can you usually grab a few hours of nice weather around the lunch hour. You just have to be ready to pounce on the sunshine.
We can look on the bright side and declare that there is a good chance that a day with 40% probability of storms turns out to be perfectly nice. We spend most of our summer with a 30% chance of storms so 40% is no huge difference. Many of those days we see nothing more than dark clouds in the distance.
Heat and humidity are part of life on the Crystal Coast and they are the key elements in thunderstorms. While ten plus inches of rain is a little much for my tomatoes, I would rather have too much than too little. With our sandy soil and big drains like the White Oak River, we can survive even extreme rain events.
Still most of us would prefer to spend a day with the bluefish or have a perfect day on the beach than endure a rainy day. Early summer has been good to us and we have reason to hope based on past years that we will get our fair share of sunny weather for the rest of the summer.
I have already had a good dose of recent fun including a great hike on the Point last week, and a Saturday morning kayaking on the White Oak. I have not had any trouble getting in my weekly cruises by skiff down the White Oak to Swansboro and over into the marshes. I did one at the end of last week and got to enjoy a gorgeous early morning in the marshes.
If you are already down here and need more suggestions on what to do during wet weather, try my travel guide which also has lots of sunny weather suggestions.