The weather has been almost as mixed up on the Crystal Coast as this picture I took Friday afternoon of the sunset reflecting off the ice and and dark waters of Bluewater Cove.
We are just a few miles up the White Oak River from Swansboro, NC, and we rarely see days when the temperature does not get out of the thirties even in the depths of winter.
Normally the Southern Outer Banks along the coast of North Carolina is a fairly warm spot in December. Our average high temperature is 58F. Our average low is 35F. I have picked tomatoes here as late as December 19. I know that I have done a Christmas eve boat ride a couple of times without exceptional clothing.
December 2010 did not start out badly either. On December 1 we were hosting friends from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Though the temperatures had dropped from the 76F that we saw on the last day of November, a high temperature of 68F is nothing to sneeze at on first day of December.
Our December warmth was short lived. By the end of the week our high had slipped to 48F. We had clients from California flying in on Saturday. Unfortunately we were on a downhill trend. We only made it up to 43F on Saturday.
In our earlier years we lived in Canada so we are no strangers to cold. Our farm was north of Fredericton, New Brunswick. Often the temperatures there would settle into the single digits the first couple of weeks in December and never really recover until February. Our youngest daughter was born on a cold January day when the temperature dropped to minus 40.
Yet things were a little different this last week.
While we were at 43F and falling on Saturday, December 4. Fredericton, NB in Canada was at 48F and seeing rain. We saw rain Saturday evening, but we were lucky it was rain since the temperature dropped to 33F. Areas west and north of us got snow on Saturday. Pulaski, Va. where we have friends managed to get 4 inches of snow.
Our New Brunswick farm was a cold spot and in 1984 we moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia from the Fredericton area. It was like moving to the banana belt compared to the New Brunswick snow belt where we saw 23 feet of snow our first winter there in 1974.
Well it turned out that Halifax was a banana belt compared to the Crystal Coast early last week. On Tuesday while we were only managing to make it to 35F degrees which is normally our average low temperature, Halifax made it all the way up to 39F. There is just something wrong with that picture.
Fortunately we seem to have managed a temporary rebound to more normal temperatures. We made it to 55F today, and if we get there again on Saturday, I might take my boat just to prove that winter is not going to destroy my spirit even if I have to turn my skiff into an icebreaker. I will be in the boat unless the rain in the forecast moves in earlier.
I did notice that Fredericton only made it up from their low of 6F to 21F on Friday. They are already back down to 12F already. I don't wish them cold weather, but I would rather they have it than us.
Of course things aren't perfect. We have another bout of cold weather coming next week. I don't begrudge my Canadian friends a little warmth when they can find it, but I sure wish they would push that cold weather a little closer to the center of the country.
After all that area expects to be cold in the winter. We expect to be relatively warm except for a few days each winter. We are already close to being over quota on cold days.
I am hoping that the open water that we saw Friday will be a good sign for our fish. We can take wearing a coat once in a while but if you start harming our fish, we might have to build a border barrier to deflect the cold Canadian air to British Columbia.
I just don't want any more icing penalties.