Last light on the White Oak River

Last light on the White Oak River

If you don’t like the weather that NC’s Southern Outer Banks has enjoyed this fall, please don’t bother talking to me because it is obvious that you are impossible to please.

It is hard to believe that I was only wearing shorts and a tee-shirt when we went walking on the beach the afternoon of December 6.  It was as pleasant on the beach as any October day. October days on the Crystal Coast are often spectacular.  December can be nice, but this year is a good one to banish the memories of last year when we even got some very rare snow just after Christmas.

By the time we got home from our December 6, errands and beach walk,  it was 4:30 PM which is well past the warmest time of the day.  Even at that late hour, I stayed with my shorts and only put on a light wind breaker over my tee shirt and life-suspenders for my evening ride on the river.

It was so nice out on the river, that I almost had to force myself to head home. I am still pinching myself over the fantastic weather that evening when I stood in our skiff and enjoyed the beautiful sunset that is the picture for this post.

There was almost no wind, and the tide was coming in as the sun slipped down behind the trees and spilled some amazingly colorful light across the White Oak River.  My mind knows that winter is coming, but my heart doesn’t want to let go of this lingering warmth from fall 2011.

This year’s December 6, was a great day to be outside even for yard work.  I finally pulled up the last of my tomato plants.  Damage from Hurricane Irene kept them from breaking my December 19, last-tomato-picked record, but it was still a fantastic year for tomatoes.

This weather is not atypical for North Carolina’s Crystal Coast.  We’ve seen great weather like this for four of the six winters that we have lived here.  However, this is an especially nice early December that Mother Nature has given us.  Last year, December of 2010,  was certainly not like this year or even one of those earlier warm years.

A year ago we fell into a deep freeze early in December, and the upside down weather gave us some cold temperatures that are very rare here on the coast even in the depths of winter much less before the official start of winter.  Actually by December 8, 2010, the water behind our house was frozen, as I wrote about in my post, Nothing but Ice.

When I dropped my skiff in the water for my December 6, sunset cruise this year, the water temperature in Raymond’s Gut behind our house was 62.5 Fahrenheit.  It was really no surprise since the air temperature on our deck that same afternoon reached almost 78 Fahrenheit.  It will take a while before we see any ice in the gut this year.

Back in 2009, after we came through a very rainy fall, it only took us until December 11, to get down to 34 Fahrenheit and start looking like winter.  Even then I still had hopes of breaking my December tomato record.  That last-picked-tomato record of December 19, just might last a while.

As I go back even farther to December 2008, I find that we had a siege of cold weather which resulted in temperatures falling into the twenties on December 8.  The cooler temperatures didn’t keep me a way from the beach, but I do remember thinking that I might have to start wearing gloves, but the only problem is that I have yet to find them.

As long as we don’t have the December snows like we did last year, I will be a happy camper.  Every day that I get to walk on the beach in shorts is one day less of winter, and after all, most of us moved to the coast to avoid winter and enjoy the beach.

Just maybe this year will be like January of 2007 when we only had nineteen hours of below freezing temperatures, and we had eleven January days when the high got above seventy degrees.  We can always hope.  I wouldn’t  mind breaking those records.

More pictures from the beach and river taken on December 6, 2011 are posted on the web.