The Warm Embrace of Late Summer 2016
While the summer of 2015 and especially the fall will be remembered for excessive rainfall, the summer of 2016 will likely be one that sticks in the memory because of its warmer than normal temperatures that stuck around for a lot longer than usual .

This is coast North Carolina so we expect heat and even enjoy it to a point. Usually we have some breaks between the handful of really hot days, but this has been an unusual summer.

Our high temperatures have been more often in the middle nineties temperatures than we have ever seen and there has been no serious cooling at night. The humidity has been high and that has been enhanced by all the rain. By August 3, the rain total at our place near the White Oak River was at 19.5 inches which amazingly is less than we had last year during the same period. The beaches have been drier than us but even here on the White Oak we had one period of ten days in July when we saw no rain.

The few times I made it to the beaches for a hike, there was just enough chill in the water to provide some cooling which is better than the swimming pools which are staying pretty much like bath water until we get some evening cooling.

You can enjoy the beach without a problem if you bring some shade with you. The few times that we have done outdoor events, space in the shade has been at a premium.

Both beach scenes above were taken at Third Street Beach which is one of favorites especially during really hot weather. It has the shortest walk to the beach of any of the beach accesses. You can click on any picture in this post to see a larger version.

It has been so hot a number of days that our neighborhood
pool has been pretty quiet. Still we have been cooler than inland locations and people seemed to be flocking to the beach this summer. The Fourth of July weekend brought plenty of people to the area and we stayed close to home except for checking out the delicious pancake and sausage breakfast at the Emerald Isle EMS. The heat does not seem to have slowed the steady flow of visitors.

Heat like we have had often brings wind to the coast because the land and water warm differently. It has been a breezy summer which has limited my kayaking. The winds have whipped the river up more times than I can count.

Most of the summer the river has looked choppy and not so friendly to kayakers. I have gone out a couple of time and been glad that I know the river well and do not have far to go to get home. The river can quickly get rough if the wind picks up as it has done many days this summer. The Old Town Dirigo kayak that I got a couple of summers ago has a much higher bow than my old Pungo kayak. The higher bow makes the kayak much easier to handle in rougher water. Unfortunately nothing helps but muscle if you are paddling back to the dock against the wind and current.

However, my patience paid off and I got an almost glassy water morning with little wind on the river on July 30, 2016. Even with that I made sure that I was on the water very early and came back in well before the heat of the day really hit.

My efforts resulted in my first red drum of the season which I put back since it was under my self-imposed minimum of 20 inches. I also got a short flounder on the same trip and I have high hopes of getting back on the water the second week in August as my day job eases a little with the pre-Labor Day lull.

When I came back from my most recent fishing trip, I made certain that I headed in before the hottest part of the day. Even coming in early when the kayak moved from the river with a slight breeze to our inlet with no breeze, I thought that I was going to cook. When the river water is at almost ninety degrees and the air temperature is over ninety, there is no place to escape when you are in a kayak.

Our beach season is moving rapidly as you can see from the ripening sea oats. However, if you have some flexibility in your schedule, fall can be a wonderful time to visit the Crystal Coast. If past falls are any indication, there will be some great stretches of weather. The humidity and heat will disappear as will any lingering crowd in the grocery stores. The water remains warm well into November most years. These pictures taken this summer might help persuade you to visit.