Freakish Weather Alarms Eastern North Carolina, 1940

An iceberg in the 1910s. This image does not show the Salter Path iceberg. Image courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.On January 30, 1940, an iceberg was spotted off shore at Salter Path.

A Works Progress Administration (WPA) worker reported that the iceberg was the size of a small island, extending six feet above the surface of the ocean, and on a westerly trajectory. Others reported that at Atlantic Beach, ice floes had piled up so high in the Bogue Sound at the Atlantic Bridge that gulls were landing on them.

The Harkers Island ferry had to break through ice to continue its run, and a man in Beaufort pulled frozen fish from the water. He got the surprise of his life when he returned from fetching a knife to find that they had thawed and were still alive.

That January had been so cold that The Beaufort News declared it the “Ice Age.” Temperatures, though cold, were not of record levels. The thermometer dipped down to 18 degrees on January 20 and to 16 degrees on the 27th and 28th, though it did rebound to a balmy 21 degrees on the 29th  Farther north, at Lake Mattamuskeet, so many birds were stranded by the ice bound conditions that they had to be fed by the superintendent.

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