A Different Fall on the Crystal Coast

Submitted by OcracokeWaves on Sun, 11/04/2012 - 12:22.
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It took a little while for the changes this fall on the Crystal Coast to register with me.  For the first time in several years, my wife and I took a break and went to visit some friends in Canada.  We, or at least I, got to feel morning temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.  I pretty sure my wife observed the cold temperatures from the warmth of a comfortable farmhouse.

We managed to slide down the East coast just after Hurricane Sandy left North Carolina.  Now that I have had some time to check out my favorite spots including the Point over on Emerald Isle and the White Oak River both by kayak and skiff, I am pretty certain this fall is not working out like the previous three falls.

I keep detailed daily air temperature records based on the temperature early in the morning.  This morning, November 4, our temperature was around 45 degrees Fahrenheit.  I hate to admit it but that is the warmest morning temperature that we have seen in the last few days.  The previous day, Saturday, our early morning air temperature was 36 degrees Fahrenheit.  Most of the week we have been around 40 degrees or slightly below that.

For comparison, the morning air temperature on November 4, for three prior years has been between 53 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit with an average of 59.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is pretty easy to say that the temperatures in late October and early November are running much colder than we have experienced over the last three years. This is probably not any news to the people in the Southern Appalachian Mountains who got a couple of feet of snow early last week.

The impact on water temperatures has been dramatic.  Before I left for Canada, my last water temperature check on the White Oak River was on October 14, 2012.  The water temperature was 72.5 degrees Fahrenheit.  I did my first water temperature check after my Canadian trip on November 3.  My depth finder thermometer registered 56.4 degrees Fahrenheit.  That is a pretty severe drop in water temperature which we can likely blame on Hurricane Sandy one way or the other.  However, we have not recovered even though Sandy is long gone.

I checked some old records and last year it was November 18, before the water temperature got down to 54.7 degrees Fahrenheit.  On top of that by December 6, we had warmed back up to 58.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the river and 62.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the marshes.

It is hard to say what is going to happen this fall, but with the prospect of a Nor'easter forming off the coast next week, things do not look very promising for a warming trend.

For comparison on November 20, 2011 the weather was so nice that I wrote an article, "Don't pinch the weather might change."  It got up to seventy degrees Fahrenheit that day by 10 AM.


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