Horses on the Carova Beach on a hot day. Horses head to the beach for the same reason people do–to cool down.

It’s hot on the Outer Banks. Of course, it’s not as though we’re being singled out since it’s hot all up and down the East Coast right now, but when the coolest high temp of the day is 94 degrees in Corolla…that’s hot.

The question then is, how to cool down. 

The easy suggestion—and the one that makes the most sense is, put on some sunscreen, grab a beach towel and head for the beach. A lot of visitors have been either having some one set up a shun tent for them or bringing one from home, which makes a lot of sense. The sun has been really intense and not much in the way of clouds so some protection is good.

The water temperature has been a really refreshing 65 to a warm but cooling 80. The cooler water temperatures seem to be Kill Devil Hills and north so be ready when you hit the water.

A brief explanation about what’s happening—it’s called upwelling. Here’s how the folks at the Field Research Facility (Duck Pier) describe what’s happening—and the explanation is pretty good. 

“Generally the coastal water has warmer (less dense) water on the surface and cooler (more dense) water below.  A wind blowing offshore can push the surface water along with it; colder water from below replaces the surface water, a process called upwelling.”

So the wind has been from the southwest for the past few days; that’s an offshore wind and the colder waters come to the surface, just as the theory predicts. 

Feels great to hit that water when the air temperature is 95.