Everyone wants a perfect week at the beach. While glossy tourist brochures often seem to hint that we never have anything but blue skies, the reality is a little different.
It does rain at the beach. Many of us have vegetables and yards that need regular moisture. We actually need rain a little more often than some areas because of the sandy nature of our soils.
We had a very dry May but we have received some welcome rain since the first of June. We are headed towards our summer weather pattern but we are not there yet and as is often the case, the weather will be what it will be. Forecasting the weather here on the coast is extremely difficult.
Some of the severe weather which looks to be on a direct collision course with us dissipates as it hits the coastal air mass. Then sometimes storms which no one had in their forecast will spring up just off shore and make their way to land. Our big coast rivers can attract and enhance storms or move them in different directions.
We have a complex environment for weather systems but we also have weather forecasts that are pretty generalized for an area with so many factors that can radically impact our weather. There was a forecast for severe storms on June 17 and 18 in North Carolina. From reading the forecasts it looked like the Crystal Coast might be hit by some of the strong storms on the afternoon of June 18 which happened to be the first day of our granddaughter’s visit to the beach.
Being a typical five-year old granddaughter, she was determined to go to the pool in our neighborhood as soon as possible. A few dark clouds could not change her determination so just after breakfast we headed over to the pool across the cul-de-sac from out home. It was a little cool in the water at first because of all the clouds, but it certainly was not bad. We had a great time, and as noon got closer and closer the sky got more friendly. The sky eventually turned almost all blue and the sun warmed us up nicely.
Our morning at the pool was one of those times we gambled with the weather and won. The pool is so close to our house that it is pretty easy to go home if we see a storm headed our way. That is exactly what we did after three hours of playing in the pool when we noticed the dark clouds that looked like they might be headed our way. It was time for a welcome lunch break anyway.
The clouds turned out to be a false alarm for our neighborhood in spite of the continuing forecasts for the potential of stormy weather. Stormy weather visited eastern North Carolina, it just missed us. There were some severe storms in the Greenville area and around Albemarle Sound which is to the north of the Crystal Coast.
We actually headed back to the pool a little later in the afternoon for another hour or two. When we watched the local weather forecasts just before dinner at 6PM it appeared that the severe weather and any rain accompanying it had missed us. Since some dry spots were starting to show up in our yard, I set our irrigation system to run on June 19 before we went to bed. The late night forecasts seemed to indicate that we would have an even better day for enjoying the beach on Wednesday, June 19.
I had one of those nights when I fall asleep and wake up an hour later. It was 12:30 AM as I I sat down at my computer for a few minutes. While checking the weather maps, I noticed that a storm system was almost on top of us. It appeared to be coming from the water. In less than five minutes, I heard rain on our windows. It was such a nice night that I went out to my perch on the front porch and watched it rain for a few minutes.
It did not take much of the sound of the falling rain to make me ready for some sleep. I did manage to go turn off our irrigation system before I made my way back to bed. It drives me crazy to see irrigation systems running just after it rains.
This morning when I checked the rain gauge, we had received .7 inches of rain. That should be enough so that I can take watering tomatoes off of my schedule today. We seem to have a fair amount of rain during the very early morning hours before sunrise. My plants are happy to get the rain whenever it comes and I am sure our visitors are happy to have the rain confine itself to those bedtime hours.
So far the clouds are hanging with us today, but things are supposed to improve after 2 PM. Maybe my favorite bathing suit will be dry by then and a little nicer to pull on before we head back to the water. We will make the best of whatever weather that we get.
If you get stuck at the beach and are looking for something to do, our book, A Week At The Beach- The 2013 Emerald Isle Travel Guide, has a whole chapter on rainy days and what to do for fun.