Rumbles along the Crystal Coast from the tail end of Lee

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Thunder is rumbling along the coast the morning of September 7, 2011.  We are just catching a bit of the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.

Some of the thunder and lightning has been impressive, but we actually were in need of some rain.  Ten days after Hurricane Irene dumped over ten inches of rain on us, things were starting to dry out.  I actually ran our sprinklers yesterday and watered my surviving tomato plants.

As noon has slipped up on me, there appears to be some blue sky to the west of us over Swansboro.  The rain has stopped at least for now though the forecast says that thunderstorms might re-develop this afternoon.

The morning's rains brought us somewhere between one half an inch and three quarters of an inch of precipitation depending on which one of my rain gauges one can believe.  Likely I will just average it out and say that we got a little over six tenths of an inch of rain.

The temperature actually dropped briefly to the mid-seventies. We have not been below 80F for a number of days, and as the morning finishes we are just now recovering to 80F. It will be warm this afternoon.
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What Irene taught us about being prepared

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When a hurricane misses an area, there is always a collective sigh of relief. When one actually pays a visit there is lots of extra work and some lessons to be learned.

Certainly Cape Carteret and the beaches of Emerald Isle survived Irene.  I suspect many in the area were ready for even more than the lengthy beating that Irene gave us.

This was our first serious hurricane in the five years that my wife and I have lived along the Southern Outer Banks.  While we had a hurricane emergency kit almost from day one here on the Crystal Coast, it evolved to something much more sophisticated by the time Irene came ashore near Cape Lookout on Saturday, August 27.

There was nothing magic in preparations for Irene, mostly we used common sense and listened to the experts.
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Getting Ready for Irene

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Fall of 2011 will mark the beginning of our sixth year living here on North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks.  If the current forecast holds, it will mark our closest encounter to date with a hurricane.

Hurricane Irene is scheduled to come ashore somewhere between Cedar Island and Hatteras Island as a Category 3 hurricane. Irene will then run up the Northern Outer Banks before taking a bead on my college roommate who lives on the NJ shore. 

Of course we won't really know the exact track until closer to Friday, August 26. There seems to be more uncertainty in the forecast than ususual because some of the climatic features that do the hurricane steering are weak. Irene has the potential to make up her own mind about where she makes landfall.
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Strange Stuff Falling Out of the Sky

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I awoke on August 14 to something that I haven't seen in a long time, a puddle at the end of the driveway.  Not only did we have a puddle, we also had a trickle of water coming through our culvert.

Since May 7, our total rainfall here along the banks of the White Oak River has been somewhere around three inches.  Three inches of rain over three plus months is not much in an area that averages over an inch per week during many summers.

This morning our rain gauge had six tenths of an inch in it.  That is hard to comprehend.  It has been a long time since a single storm delivered that much.

That much liquid which I think might be called rain has already caused me to do some things which I haven't done in a while.

First I pulled the plug on boat to let the collected water drain out of it.  Our previous brushes with precipitation have been so minor that they have hardly got the bilge pump warmed up.

I even had to take my bucket of emergency gear out of the boat and drain it.
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Morning on the River

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It is August in North Carolina.  We're in the eastern part of the state,  It is the time of year that it never cools down at night.  On top of that, the water in the ocean has warmed close to shore, and the water in the river is just warm everywhere. There has been little rain since early May.

August is a time of year when you have to plan your activities and work around the daytime heat.  This is the month when I do outside things at certain times of the day.  I rarely deviate from my daily schedule because to do so means  you can be cooked alive.

We are in the heart of summer's heat. It is a moment on the calendar when we just get by and plan for times when it will be nicer outside. This has been an unusually hot summer following a very cold winter.  Normally it is rare for the parts of Carteret County near the water to see many high temperatures over 91-93 degrees.
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We get lucky on the heat

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The last few days have been brutally hot along most of the east coast.  Here on the coast near Emerald Isle managed to get through the heat wave with lower temperatures than most areas.

At a little after 3:30 PM on July 22, our temperature sensor hit 91.7 degrees Fahrenheit.  Considering that Washington, DC and the home of my college roommate along the New Jersey coast were both over 100 degrees Fahrenheit at that exact time, I am pretty happy with what we had to endure.

While this weather is hot, we have managed to have a strong breeze off the water for the last few days. Though it is hard to conceive, water at 83 degrees Fahrenheit produces a cooling breeze when interior temperatures are at over one hundred degrees.

On July 21, I went for a walk over at the Point at Emerald Isle. It was about 11:30 AM when I pulled into the Station Street Parking lot just off Coast Guard Road.  I got one of the last three parking places.
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Open window nights!

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The funny little crosshatch pattern in the post picture is not a special effect.  It is actually the screen in the open window of my upstairs office.

We have enjoyed two nights, July 15 & 16, when we were able to have the windows open.  It looks like July 17 might follow suit and make it three nights in a row.

Being able to open windows at night is something of a treat here on the Crystal Coast in mid-July 2011.  It has been a hotter than normal July here.

We have had some serious heat in the first part of July, and for a while it was combined with humidity and smoke.

That changed radically on Friday, July 15.  An east wind seemed to bring us cooler air.  Heat at night is the real enemy.  If we can cool off at night, the water temperature stays more moderate.  The east wind seemed to cool off the evenings.

Without some nighttime cooling, we start the day well behind the eight ball.  You always know you are in trouble when the morning temperature is 80F or greater.  read more »


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