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Riverlights, Wilmington NC

01 February . 2024

Wintering in Wilmington, NC

A note to readers:  most, nearly all, of this post was pulled from two very clever observations that were circulating on social media. We edited in places, but if you wrote this, by all means, let us know and we will happily add your byline. Many a truth is said in jest; this is simply too clever to not share:

If you are new to North Carolina, you are about to experience “NC Winter,” which is six or seven days of cold, maybe some ice and snow. Weather reporters will delight in threatening snow. It may snow, it may not. But it doesn’t matter how much snow is predicted -- we’ll all freak out because we don’t see snow often. Even the threat of snow (or ice) is your prompt to head to the grocery store and buy milk, eggs and bread. It doesn’t matter if you need these items. It’s just what we do. Everyone in town will be doing it.

(In 1989, it snowed 14 inches and delivered a white Christmas!  People still talk about it.)

If it does snow, don’t bother trying to buy a sled. You won’t find one. In the rare chance we get enough snow to play in it, grab a cookie sheet, a laundry basket, or a surf board (I’ve seen it all) and head to your nearest hill. Just go with it. You’ll be fine. “Hills” in the coastal plain don’t amount to much. 

Also, government doesn’t have the equipment to handle winter weather. It’s why schools close over just an idea of snow. The roads will be a mess and even though the state has been telling you for a week they’re ready, they’re not and it won’t work. Just stay home if you can and if you can’t just come to terms with the fact that nobody here knows how to drive in snow and ice. And whatever you do, do not talk about snow tires.

If you happen to slide off the road or get stuck, turn your flashers on, take a deep breath and wait. Two guys in a four-wheel drive truck will be along in no time to offer assistance. Don’t try to help them, they live for this stuff, and will do what they can to get you back on the road. If either one of them screams “hey y’all watch this” get outta the way, point your phone and start recording. You’ll probably have a viral video.  Also if these guys offer you beer and deer sticks, don’t be rude, take them and smile.

No matter what you do, don’t talk about “how we did it back home” in any of these scenarios. Nobody cares. You live in North Carolina now. When we act like we’re going to die and start to complain about the seven whole days of winter, just shut up. We’re serious and we don’t care how much you love it. We don’t. You’ll be back in shorts and flip flops in a week to ten days, tops, and it’ll be nice until right around Easter.

Easter is generally when North Carolina has its “second winter.” This one will last two or three days and will hit the week before or the week after Easter – which often coincides with around the time you want to plant flowers and a garden. We know you’re not from around here when we see you’ve planted flowers before Easter and before our “second winter” has hit.

During second winter it’ll go from 70 to 25 and you’ll experience all four seasons in one day. You will not know what to wear, as you may be in layers in the morning and short sleeves and shorts in the afternoon. This too shall pass. And as soon as it is over, you can enjoy the three to four weeks of spring. Then, summer arrives and it’ll be melt-your-face-off-hot until just around Halloween. 

In summary, here are the 12 seasons of North Carolina Weather: 

  1. Winter
  2. Fool’s Spring
  3. Second Winter
  4. Spring of Deception
  5. Third Winter
  6. The Pollening
  7. Actual Spring
  8. Summer
  9. Sun’s Front Porch
  10. False Fall
  11. Second Summer
  12. Actual Fall

Welcome to North Carolina!