I’ve never experienced a spring that came without some wind. While all areas can be windy in spring, both the coast and the mountains seem to get more than their share.
Over the last week, my wife and I have had a full tour of spring. We spent the last couple of days of March and the first two days of April in Roanoke, Virginia on the side of Twelve O’Clock Knob Mountain. When we arrived the temperatures were close to sixty degrees Fahrenheit. The next few days were spent mostly in the thirties with mist and fog. I had to go back to blue jeans and my winter coat. When we left Roanoke, there were threats of more cold temperatures and strong winds.
For someone used to living on the coast, those thirties we saw in the mountains are very cold winter temperatures. We get cold when it gets in the fifties. April 3 we packed up and headed to North Carolina by way of Interstates 81 & 77. It is a trip we often take, and sometimes the trip itself is a tour of spring in various stages. This time the trip through SW Virginia was mostly a way of watching the clock roll back on spring. By the time we got to Pulaski, Va. many of the Roanoke area signs of spring were muted or missing. It was certainly no better when we reached the top of the mountain at Fancy Gap before heading down the mountain into North Carolina.
When we reached our final destination on the shores of Lake Norman just a few miles north of Charlotte and the South Carolina border, there was no questions that spring had sprung. Dogwoods, azaleas, tulips, and most spring flowers that you can name were blooming. Bradford pear trees had given up their blooms for a full coat of leaves.
The Bradford pears were still blooming in Roanoke when we left and just starting to bloom along part of our mountain valley journey to Cornelius. Like the Lake Norman area, our coastal Bradford pear blooms were gone before we even started our journey to Virginia.
On our trip back to the coast, we saw heads of grain on some of the winter wheat in the middle of North Carolina. The next morning after our arrival back on the coast, we found that the winds had followed us from the mountains to the coast.
April 4 was continuously windy here on the coast. Fortunately it was a warm wind which allowed me to start the day in shorts and tee shirt. When I went for my afternoon hike, I started with a wind shell, but I quickly jettisoned it.
I did catch one good shot that shows the strenght of the wind on April 4. A young girl had ridden her bike down to our community’s boardwalk and parked herself on the bench directly in line with the gut leading to the White Oak River. She was sitting facing the wind blowing right into the gut.
While seeing the herons hiding in the trees might give you an idea of the wind’s strength, it is not like being in it. This picture of the girl’s ponytail does a much better job of letting you virtually feel the wind.
The next day, the morning of April 5, the front driving the winds passed through our area and dropped about one half inch of rain on us. We had a little lightning but nothing serious compared to what other areas got. The winds have briefly quieted down a little, but real relief is still several hours away.
Once the temperatures warm back up again, I am looking forward to getting back to walking on the beach, and I will perhaps even find a day nice enough to get back on the water in our skiff
So far the temperature trends for April 5 are headed in the right direction here on the coast, and perhaps our tiny garden of lettuce and radishes will finally start to grow. We might even see some strawberries ripe in the next week or two.
Our friends in State College, PA, Fredericton, NB, Halifax, NS, and Edmonton, Alberta are still waiting for signs of spring. Our Alberta friends recently tried shoveling the snow off their deck in hopes of speeding the arrival of spring. I hope it works for them.
Spring on the coast even with wind is a great way to forget this past winter.