The snow is gone but the memories are still with us
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A Memorable Dose of Winter

Seven degrees Fahrenheit is not normal here on the Crystal Coast

On December 23, 2017, we hosted a Christmas party.  Just before 4 PM when the party started, the temperature peaked at seventy degrees Fahrenheit. I never bothered to change from the shorts that I was wearing while getting ready for the party.

On Sunday morning, January 7, 2018 just hours over two weeks later, I took a picture of our thermometer.  It read seven degrees Fahrenheit. The previous day, the morning temperature was nine degrees Fahrenheit. The morning before that it was ten degrees Fahrenheit.  For three days we were almost certainly under freezing.  To understand how much of a shock this is, I have to remind myself that during the winter of 2006-2007, our first winter here, the temperature only dipped below freezing for a total of nineteen hours.

The cold temperatures followed a snowstorm that delivered around four inches to our area and coated all the trees with ice. It was beautiful and It was our first snow since January 2011. Almost all of our snow comes as a surprise and leaves before we can even adjust to the idea of snow.  This was a different storm.  The snow came and it stayed. I even had to shovel a path out my driveway.  It took two warm days with the temperature approaching seventy Fahrenheit for the snow to disappear six days after it arrived.

Even now, the waters in our marsh are still frozen. The spotted sea trout season has been closed by proclamation until summer.  A lot of small bait fish died and the expectation is that fish that did not make it to the ocean had a hard time surviving in waters that got down to thrity-four degrees Fahrenheit.  We did not receive any mail from Friday until it resumed on Tuesday.  School was out even longer. Fortunately our area did not suffer any power outages.  I did create an online photo album of our winter wonderland

I consider myself lucky to have lived in Canada long enough to have plenty of cold weather gear including an invaluable Canadian snow scoop. I finally had to bring out a down jacket that I had not worn in years and put on long underwear pants and snow boots. It was a big change from the shorts, t-shirt and crocs that I wore on December 23.

Life has not all been about snow since our last newsletter. We had a very special visitor show up on December 15, Frank 29X.  Frank is a Great Egret that was born in the marshes of Canada on Nottawasaga Island during the summer of 2012. This is the sixth winter that we have enjoyed the company of Frank in our marsh.  The journey is nearly 900 miles each way.

Other than Frank's three day visit, our marsh has been populated by other great egrets and two or three great blue herons.  All the egrets and herons were overwhelmed by seagulls when the cold weather stunned hundreds of bait fish. For a week or two, the sky in Raymond's Gut was filled with seagulls.  I even created a movie of the gulls and posted it to YouTube.

In area news, apparently the new Beaufort bridge is open.  We have not been over to try it out yet but will try to do that before spring.  Bojangles in Cedar Point has opened. As one might expect, it has been very popular. We have been a few times and enjoyed the food.  There is a new restaurant in the space that Trattoria used to occupy.  We have not tried it yet.  The new Swansboro Walmart is scheduled to open on January 24.  The Publix on Emerald Isle is rapidly taking shape and there is a detour on Emerald Drive (Highway 58) to accommodate the construction of a roundabout (rotary) that will provide access to the Publix. My guess is that things will look great before the annual Emerald Isle Saint Patrick's day festival in the middle of March.  Lowes Foods in Cape Carteret is also undergoing a major renovation which will not be done until later in the year.  I understand that they will be adding a beer garden. For those who have not heard, Neuse Sporting Goods is planning to open a new location in Cedar Point.

For more reading about the area, check out my prophetic post from December, Not the Last Warm Day and a later one about our January storm, The Crystal Coast's Real Winter Weather. If you need to dream more about warmer weather, you might check out this page, Summer 2017 Wraps Up.

My intention is to get another newsletter out before the beginning of the spring festival season. As the weather warms, we will be wandering farther from home and getting some updates for the upcoming tourist season. One thing is for certain. Our beautiful beaches will be here waiting for those who know the secrets of the Crystal Coast.

It is a great time to start planning your summer beach vacation.  There is no better tool than our newest travel guide edition,  The Emerald Isle Travel Guide - A Week at the Beach.  Print versions and the Kindle version are now available from Amazon. Locally Emerald Isle Books and Toys at Emerald Plantation is carrying the B&W version and The Emerald Isle Town Office carries the color version.  A copy is available for viewing at the Emerald Isle Tourist Bureau. Our book also contains information about becoming a Facebook friend so you receive daily updates and photos from the Crystal Coast.

David Sobotta
Copyright © 2018 Crystal Coast Life, All rights reserved.

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