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The Front

It was late December, and Edenton was experiencing seasonal weather, pleasant days with highs in the upper 60s and cool nights. Occasional clouds spit a few drops of moisture, and the wind blew strong and steady from the southwest. I was down not to sail, but just to spend a few days living aboard my boat and enjoying the simple pleasures of the town.

Terry Ann at Edenton Marina, December 2017.

My last full day in Edenton, I sat in shirtsleeves on the patio behind the Edenton Bay Trading Company, drinking an IPA and perusing the internet. My favorite big-picture weather site, Windy.com displayed a remarkable pattern, a huge, tight front extending from the Maritimes all the way to South Carolina, with an enormous river of warm gulf air flowing northward to the east, with cold Canadian air rushing southward to the west. The front was just to our west, and moving east.

Later in the day, aboard Terry Ann, I felt the steady southerlies slacken and cease, and a light rain began to fall. By mid-evening, the rain had ended, and a buffeting breeze had picked up from the north. By midnight, the clouds were breaking, the temperature was falling, and the wind was blasting a steady 20 knots. Terry Ann strained at her docklines, and the waters of Pembroke Creek sluiced away to the sound and the ocean beyond.

In the morning, I transferred gear to the car with cold hands, set extra docklines and started the drive for home. Out on the Chowan, crossing the long Highway 17 bridge, the car was buffeted by strong crosswinds and the water below had the appearance of Beaufort Force 7 - "Wind 28-33. Seas heap up, waves break, foam blows in streaks."

As I drove westward, the temperatures continued to fall and by the time I reached Winston-Salem, they were just above freezing. Bitter cold was predicted for later in the week, and perhaps a touch of snow.

Text and Photograph by Paul Clayton.