Monday, June 6, 2011

A Man For All Seasons!

Brits are fairly obsessed with the weather. Unsurprising really given it is so unreliable and interchangeable in Britain. It also gives us something to moan about. It is different in North Carolina – not in the least because the weather forecasts are usually spot on! When people ask me if I like it here in North Carolina I diplomatically answer ‘I like the weather’. That worked until April when tornadoes killed people a couple of miles from where we live.
When we moved here last June it felt like stepping off the plane when you go on a tropical holiday. Extremely hot and the oxygen tap had been turned off. The weather all summer stayed in the high 80’s up to 100°F. (30-38°C) Add the extreme heat to up to 90% humidity and the weather has health warnings for the old, young, infirm and pasty white! Too hot to do anything unless in toe dipping distance of a pool or the ocean. As a rookie to the heat I accepted a table outside at a restaurant where people had a 30 minute wait for a table inside. I couldn’t understand why everyone was inside where the air-con was set so low you needed a jumper (now there is a word that makes the Americans laugh – I think it means some sort of hillbilly denim dungarees – they say ‘sweater’ which is far too descriptive for me!). I felt smug, jumping the queue and going out on the patio. I didn’t feel so great not actually needing a sweater but being one! Sweat dripped profusely from the end of my nose (I know ladies are supposed to glow and horses sweat but the glow was so intense I almost spontaneously combusted) and flies swarmed round me like a sweating old mare in the field. Ugh!
Two weeks ago the weather was still a pleasant 25°C (77°F) and not humid. At lunch time a restaurant said their patio wasn’t open. I said I would go elsewhere to eat. It is so lovely to eat al fresco when the weather is good that I didn’t want to miss the tiny window of opportunity to do so here. Two weeks on and it is already up in the 30’s. Our electric bill goes from around $50 a month to $350 on air con. Hubby likes it fridge cold (leaving me in my jumpers at night!) but some days it is such a relief to walk in from the heat.
Rain doesn’t clear the humidity and it doesn’t really cool down at night! Sub tropical and lovely… until the thunder storms and tropical cyclones start. I had never seen or heard storms like it until I came to NC. Someone once said thunder is God moving his furniture. Well, in NC he is smashing it to smithereens! The noise is deafening. The lightening forks like it does in the movies and white-lights the darkness. The first time it happened, in the middle of the night, the kiddies came running in to our room along with the cats with ‘WTF?’ expressions on all our faces! If we’re lucky thunderstorms bring torrential rain. If we are unlucky we have hail – huge hail! Head hurting, bonnet (hood) denting hail! We also get summer fog! Weird! Like a Turkish bath house!
By September it cools but that brings Hurricanes! We had constant warnings last year. Hurricane Earl promised destruction while we were at the beach There was mass hysteria, as unlike Katrina which destroyed downtown New Orleans, Earl had the audacity to threaten
Wisteria Lane
’s beach houses. As it was Earl was nothing but hot air – Full of promise but petering out to nothing after being ruffled by a light breeze. Apparently they only started using men’s names for Hurricanes in 1979. I know a few like Earl! There is a whole system for naming them which isn’t as random as you would be forgiven for thinking! We regularly have chaos and mayhem from Hurricane Charlie here in NC!!!
We had some cold weather over the winter – far less depressing than a UK winter because it was far less cloudy. Even when really cold the sky is blue. It snowed a few times and made for a hazardous trip to Florida on Boxing Day. You can ski in the mountains in NC up until March (although when we went in February the snow was man made).
The big shock this Spring was the tornadoes. North Carolina has two or three a year but is outside ‘Tornado alley’. I didn’t expect the scale of tornadoes that hit in April leaving over 20 people dead, hundreds injured and thousands of lives devastated by the destruction of homes and properties. Our house was 20 miles from the eye of the storm. Being in the Land of Oz I was able to put on my ruby red slippers, click my heels three times and say ‘there is no place like home (and be thankful I flew to England, 2 days before the storms hit).
We are back now to the sub tropical summer. I got comedy sunburn last weekend. My 9 year old daughter applied my sun lotion (factor 30) to my back which in retrospect could be described as slapdash – leaving some areas unprotected. My son then sprayed factor 50 in the middle of my back. The result? Modern art.
I have been here a year in June. Do I like it in North Carolina? Well, I like the weather, apart from the extreme heat, extreme humidity, tornadoes, hurricanes, hail, fog, thunder, lightening and snow – Yeah… I love it!


  1. Hurricane Charlie is the only hurricae i wish to experience.

  2. Jason said:
    nice blog, you did not mention the house etc... one year on (please excuse me if u have covered this in another blog) :-)

  3. Stranger said:
    I have written quite a few so I don't know! Not only have I forgotton what I have written I am in danger of repeating my self now so I will have to draw this blog to a close very soon...

    I have a feeling I might be moving on to new adventures and a whole new treasure trove of material to blog about very soon! Watch this space!