Monday, February 9, 2009

Weather (or not)

Blue skies or stormy weather, it is hard to tell what to expect out on the water.  The top photo was taken after a front had rolled through the afternoon before.  Cool, clear wind came out of the northwest.  I flew across Pamlico Sound east bound past Great Island and then Bluff Point, swung northwest on my way to Wysocking Bay.  Fantastic day.  
The photo below IS the front rolling through the day before.  I had been anchored in a creek off of Mouse Harbor doing a little fishing and reading when I decided to check the weather radio.  The clear skies didn't seem to match the alarms and alerts pouring out of the radio.  Broad bands of thunderstorms were sweeping across eastern North Carolina.  About an hour later they showed up in my area.  Local weather reports from Swan Quarter, New Bern and Jacksonville had reports of winds 40 to 50 miles per hour, quarter-sized hail and funnel clouds.  I moved out to the center of the creek where I could swing 360 degrees on anchor, raised the cb and rudder and put up the boom tent.  For the next four hours Spartina, with mizzen still raised, swung back and forth like a weather vane as the storms cells flew by to the north and southwest.  It was an interesting evening.    My two concerns were lightning and tornadoes.  Fortunately I did not have to deal with either.  Otherwise I was just fine, had a nice dinner and enjoyed a good book.  (It was a sobering reminded to routinely check the weather radio - I'm not sure what would have happened had I been out there sailing when that weather hit.)
I plan my Spring trips between early May and mid June, after the severe Spring weather has rolled through but before the Summer heat arrives.  Below is the Hatteras area wind compass for May from Windfinder. com.  You'll see winds mostly out of the southwest, but sometimes of the northeast as the summer weather pattern has not completely taken over.  Either wind direction is fine by me.  Average temperatures are about 70 degrees.  We should have good weather for a late May/early June trip.  But we'll be prepared for whatever comes our way.

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