Any person familiar with southeastern North
Carolina usually thinks of beaches and coast. All aspects of the
region’s landscape are dominated by the coast. Population
is concentrated in coastal counties and cities. Economic activities
focus on fishing, shipping, and beach tourism. In short, the coast
and southeastern North Carolina are one in the same. Thus, in order
to understand any aspect of southeastern North Carolina, one must
incorporate a coastal frame of reference.
order to understand any aspect of southeastern North Carolina,
one must incorporate a coastal frame of reference.
In terms of understanding the weather and climate
of southeastern North Carolina, the key is to look at the coastal
climatology of the region. Coastal climatology can be defined as
a long term summary of atmospheric and near-shore oceanographic
characteristics that allows people to manage social, economic and
environmental activities. The purpose of this web page is to describe
the coastal climatology of Onslow Bay, particularly for those individuals
involved in tourism and recreation.
climatology can be defined as a long term summary of atmospheric
and near-shore oceanographic characteristics that allows people
to manage social, economic and environmental activities.
Onslow Bay is the segment of the continental shelf
between Cape Lookout and Cape Fear. The coast along this segment
consists of a sequence of large capes and associated shoals, barrier
islands, spits, and occasional headland areas. Directly behind these
shoals, islands, and spits, before the mainland, are narrow lagoons
nearly filled with marsh. The 13 barrier islands that exist in Onslow
Bay have a wide variety of physiographic forms, ranging from overwash-dominated
narrow barriers to wide barriers with massive dune and no washovers.
Bay is the segment of the continental shelf between Cape Lookout
and Cape Fear.
The two main sources of climate data for Onslow
Bay are the Wilmington Airport and the Frying Pan Shoals oceanographic
buoy. These two stations record a wide variety of meteorological
and oceanographic variables including air temperature, water temperature,
wave height, wind speed and wind direction, atmospheric pressure,
and rainfall. Through a summary of data collected to date for these
locations, one can create ‘normal’ monthly atmospheric
and ocean conditions in the Onslow Bay area. To view these ‘normal’
conditions or the monthly coastal climatology of the Onslow Bay
area click on the desired month below.
two main sources of climate data for Onslow bay are the Wilmington
Airport and the Frying Pan Shoals oceanographic buoy.
These ‘normal’ monthly climate values indicate that
coastal region of Onslow Bay is relatively mild due to its maritime
location with winds from over the ocean moderating temperatures
through out the year. Summers are quite warm and humid with long-term
averages showing that afternoon temperatures reach 90 degrees or
higher one-third of the year. Most winters are short and quite mild
with coldest temperatures remaining above zero. Rainfall in this
area is usually ample and well-distributed throughout the year with
the greatest amount occurring in the summer. Summer rainfall comes
principally from thunderstorms with thunderstorms occurring about
one out of three days form June through August. Winter rain is generally
associated with slow-moving, low pressure systems. Most winters
have a few flakes of snow, but accumulation on the ground is rare.
Onslow Bay is subject to the effects of coastal storms and occasional
hurricanes which produce high winds, above normal tides, and heavy
rains (Grey House Publishing, 2001).
coastal climate of Onslow Bay is relatively mild due to location
near the ocean. Summers are warm and humid with winters short
and few daily temperatures below zero. Rainfall is well distributed
throughout the year and can be created by thunderstorms, low
pressure systems, coastal storms, or hurricanes.
Cleary, William J. 1996. Environmental coastal
geology, Cape Lookout to Cape Fear, NC. Carolina Geological
Society, Raleigh, NC. 138pp.
Grey House Publishing 2001. Weather America: A thirty-year
summary of statistical weather data and rankings. Grey House
Publishing, Lakeville, CT. 2013 pp.