A winter story about the coastal climate

July 7, 2008

A winter story about the coastal climate

Bettersunrise_2 This was written on February 12, 2008.  It is a good story on how climate varies on the east coast.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Roanoke.  The sun rising over the mountains is pretty hard to beat even when it is so bright that it is almost impossible to photograph.

Still Roanoke’s recent weather has not exactly been kind to those of us who love warmth.

It also seems that the cold air gave Roanoke a wedgie.  At least a wedge of cold air running along the foot of the mountains seemed to get trapped in Roanoke on February 12.

On that Tuesday afternoon the thermometer up on the mountain at our house read 31 degrees.  There was also some moisture starting to fall.

Since I recently subscribed to the idea that February should not be a cold month, that 31 degrees at 4 pm was not what I wanted to see.

We took off on our regular trip to the coast in search of warmth.

For the first hour of driving down 220 through Rocky Mount and Martinsville the temperature remained fairly constant fluctuating between 31 and 33 degrees Fahrenheit.

As we crossed the border into North Carolina just south of Martinville and headed towards Eden on Route 14, the temperature finally climbed to 34 degrees.

Gooddecision2 By the time we got down Route 29 to Greensboro, the temperature had risen to 37 degrees. Driving another 30 miles south on Route 421 got us to 39 degrees at Siler City.  We turned east and in seventeen miles passed by Pittsboro where the temperature had risen to 42 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pittsboro is about the half way point in trip to the coast.  We had already picked up 11 degrees in spite darkness arriving.

Another twenty four miles and we were in Cary where things were starting to feel a lot nicer at 49 degrees.  We stopped to shop at Whole Foods which often makes me feel as if we’re part of the Roman Empire because of all the far flung places which fill their bins.  We went away with some nice looking United Kingdom Salmon, lots of neat cheese, and some great bread.

We headed east on Interstate 40 from Cary and as we passed the Smithfield exit about thirty miles later, the temperature zoomed to 54 degrees.  I started smiling at my wisdom for bailing out of Roanoke.

About two miles later, I could not believe what I was reading, the air temperature hit 65 degrees just about ten miles east of where Interstate 40 crosses Interstate 95.

I did not dare hope for any further rise, but we did see a few reading of 66 degrees until we pulled into Swansboro a couple hours after passing Interstate 95.  There by the water within sight of the Intracoastal Waterway, the temperature slipped back to 63 degrees.

As we drove through Cedar Point and turned in Cape Carteret to head a couple of miles up the White Oak, the temperature rose back to 64 degrees.

Even an hour later at well after midnight, it was still 64 degrees at our home.

We got about 1.25 inches of rain during the night, but when I got up the temperatures were still holding in the mid sixties.

I talked to my son in Reston, and he said they were seeing some freezing rain which apparently also touched Roanoke in the higher spots.  I don’t miss having to put on the chains for my feet just to get the newspaper.

Today was even better than last night.  This afternoon about three pm I went for bike ride wearing a tee-shirt and short.

Now that is my idea of good weather.

For those that think there isn’t a much of a difference in temperature on the Carolina coast during the winter, all I can say is keep believing that if you want to stay chilled in February.

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