White Oak River late one warm August evening

White Oak River late one warm August evening

Where you live and the weather you enjoy or endure becomes a very personal thing. Some people never get to pick where they live. Personal circumstance dictates where home is. My wife and I have tried several places and have definite opinions about what we like in weather, what we will tolerate, and what we try to avoid.

Life has given us the chance to live our dream which brought us to the western side of Carteret County. Luckily the area has just enough warmth to fit us very well.

As the WeatherSpark site says, “Over the course of a year, the temperature typically varies from 33°F to 85°F and is rarely below 24°F or above 89°F. The warm season lasts from May 21 to September 10 with an average daily high temperature above 78°F.…The cold season lasts from December 22 to February 25 with an average daily high temperature below 57°F.”

I like to sum it up by saying that most winters a cold day is one which does not reach fifty. Even when we have a cool spring things usually turn out pretty well and beach season always seems to arrive.

It is a pleasant climate with not enough cold, hot or hurricanes to chase us away. After some background, I will explain our reasons for loving the warmth that keeps some folks for settling here.

You cannot understand why we value the warmth of the Carolina coast without knowing what we have experienced in weather. We have enjoyed living in places as different as Tay Creek, New Brunswick and Columbia, Maryland. Tay Creek was a small farming village in the hardwood hills just twenty miles north of the provincial capital of Fredericton. We lived in Tay Creek for ten years and saw temperatures as low as minus 40 in January and as high as 100F in June. Snow was a part of daily life there for over five months a year. The snow plows did not even bother running unless we got over six inches of snow.

Columbia, Maryland which was our reentry point into the United States was a completely planned community halfway between Baltimore and Washington. Even the service stations had to be hidden in Columbia. We only lived there a couple of years, but the humidity and heat just about cooked us. Columbia was the only place we have lived that I never mowed our yard. We found life much more tolerable for the next twenty years on a breezy mountainside in Roanoke, Virginia.

While Roanoke is a place that can get hot, cold, and very windy, I mowed the yard there many times at the beginning and end of the season. The beautiful bluegrass yard was just a bonus in an area that was certainly a good place to raise a family in spite of some snows worthy of Canada as you can tell from these snow pictures.

We ended up in Carteret County next because we wanted to be here. The weather in the county was part of our decision to move here. One of the things that really attracted me to the county was the lack of clouds. Cloud cover ranges from a median value of 15% to 34% depending on the time of year. We do have a lot of blue sky in the county. While hitting our blue sky numbers in the rainy midsummer of 2014, might be a challenge, I will look forward to the time when we will catch up.

Beyond blues skies, we value warmth. I shoveled plenty of snow even after we left Canada. Snow is pretty to someone who has moved as much of it as I have only when snow does not have to be shoveled. I can handle a little ice on the water as long as it goes away relatively quickly. So far in our eight years here, I still have not had to worry about clearing snow from our driveway. The infrequent snow and ice storms are just a reminder of the many winters we survived. A little snow and ice really does not mean a lot here in the flat lands of Carteret County where I work from home anyway. There is no worrying about driving down an icy mountain like was often the case in Roanoke.

Warmth means something besides purely decorative snow. It means that we get to live in our world without walls for a good portion of the year. I can safely be out on the water or in the water for nine or ten months out of the year. October when most people start thinking about winter is often like summer on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina. It is not unusual for me to go kayaking in our inlet in December.

Warmth also gives us a gardening season that extends through most of the year during a normal winter without a wandering polar vortex. We love working outside and this year we got our first ripe tomato on May 25. We were close to getting peas in January last year before the severe cold hit. Most winters we enjoy January lettuce.

Warm weather can bring the challenge of the muggies but even at its worst, the hot and humid weather can always be conquered by a dip in the surf.

This year we seem to be skipping the hottest part of the summer. We have had some classic heat but not enough to get the folks from up north grumbling about how hot it is here.

Whenever I hear someone complaining about the heat, my mind floats back to the days before air conditioning when I was youngster in North Carolina’s Piedmont. Shade trees and dark woods were the only refuges from the heat. You got out of your home to escape the heat and hoped some of the heat left the house before you had to try to sleep.

This strip of beaches along the North Carolina coast is a special spot and the heat that comes with it makes this watery world just the right spot for us. There is so much more here than one can imagine at first glance. Having some heat most of the year makes it easier to enjoy it all including a late evening kayaking trip like the one when I snapped the picture at the top of the post.

Our most recent Crystal Coast newsletter went out a few weeks ago and can be read at this link, Stunning Weather.  Summer Is Here was the previous edition of the newsletter.  You can also read what has been happening in the last few months on our Southern Outer Banks site or visit my my homepage for more links.

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