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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow at the Beach?

After my first two winters on the coast, I was pretty sure that I would not see snow here for a long time. This winter has proven me wrong if a dusting of snow counts. Still it is hard for anyone to get very excited about less than one inch of snow on the ground. Even that small amount did not stick to the roads. The only exception that I saw was the bridge to Emerald Isle. It has actually been a long enough time since I have seen snow, that I can smile a little at the snowy scenery. Still no one but children looking for a day out of school welcomed it. After all, this is the beach in North Carolina, we are not supposed to have to deal with snow. As usual many of us were doubtful that the weathermen were right when they predicted that we would see snow today. Now I will pay more attention to the weather forecast going forward.
On January 10 I took my boat out on the White Oak River. I did not even need a coat then for my boat ride. The idea of snow was a long way from my mind. The next day we rode around Swansboro and Cape Carteret in our car taking pictures of flowers. I took some nice shots of a camillia and some early daffodils.

However, I should have known that the weather on the coast was going to suffer since record low temperatures were being set in some places that already have serious low temperatures. When a town in Maine sets a new record low of minus fifty degrees Fahrenheit, it is hard to deny that there is a cold air mass on the east coat.

My college friend, Sally, who lives outside of Boston, has been tired of snow since before the first of the year. I think she even had to shovel the snow off of her roof. I can remember doing that in Canada during our worst winters.

We spent Friday and Saturday in Roanoke, Virginia. The low temperature each morning there managed to drop to two degrees Fahrenheit. Roanoke is only three hundred and twenty miles from Emerald Isle so it comes as only a small surprise that we have been hit with some cold weather this week.

I just did not expect snow. Even this morning when we got up the temperature was still at forty degrees Fahrenheit. It took until just after noon for the temperature to get to freezing. I had been told of the significant snow that took place in 2003 and some others over the previous decade, but I had been counting on a repeat of the last two winters when we hardly saw any cold at all.

Still if you have to endure snow, the best kind is snow that you do not have to shovel. This snow did not stick to our driveways which is a good thing since mine is very long. In Canada you would never choose a home with a long driveway unless you owned a big snow blower or a tractor.

I will admit to the snow being pretty, and I even took a number of snow pictures. I think most businesses over on Emerald Isle closed down early. The bridge over to the island was getting a little slick when we went over at 4:30 PM to take pictures, but they were also sanding and salting it.

The one thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that this cold weather will pass quickly. There are a couple of days in the upper fifties scheduled for the end of the week. Many east coast towns would give anything for that kind of temperature in January.

Just before I go to sleep tonight I am going to play this slide show taken in early fall when we beached our skiff on an island in Bogue Inlet.

If I close my eyes, I can smell the salt water, feel the wet sand on my toes, and the warm salt water on my ankles. February will be here soon, and I know we will start to feel the power of the late winter North Carolina sun.

I have read a couple of weather articles recently which are predicting that the weather patterns are going to flip the second week in February and the Southeast including North Carolina will be warmer than normal.

If nothing else it is a good dream when combined with my slides from the Bogue Inlet trip. A dream of warmth, a cup of hot chocolate, and a fire in the fireplace will get us through a few cold days and a rare snow storm.

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