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Last week, before the latest round of rain, Valley residents were enjoying a sunny day at Lake Tomahawk - a day after the region experienced torrential rains and a tornado warning.

Three-year-old Feren and 6-year-old Niah Herman were enjoying time on a blanket in the sand at the children’s play area while mother Adrianne Herman comforted 7-month-old Orie in her arms.

“The weather has been amazing this winter,” Herman said. “The warmer temperatures was one reason we moved here from New York. We wanted to get away from so much snow.”

New York City had a high of 62 degrees on Christmas Day, a delight no doubt to residents there. Weather in Western Noreth Carolina can be even more unpredictable, but Herman isn’t complaining.

“We’re here for the mountains and the climate,” she said, basking in the sun with her children.

The balmy, if soggy, weather, is the work of El Nino, which occurs because of warmer temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator. It is keeping the jet stream high in the hemisphere, preventing Arctic-cold air from reaching this far south.

Mike Bineda has lived in Black Mountain for a year and expected a few pretty days in winter, but not as many as the season has produced. He was spending time at Lake Tomahawk on a comfortable bench, reading a book.

“I lived in England before I came here, and it is a slow rain there a lot of the time,” he said. It rains more here than he expected. But he made it clear that he had nothing to complain about sitting outside by the lake this time of year.

Janet Ardinger, a resident of Black Mountain for the past 15 years, said the weather has been gorgeous, but a lot of the time it has been too rainy.

“I tell myself not to complain because we aren’t getting the tornadoes that other states are getting and there hasn’t been snow, which is good,” she said. “I am enjoying myself on my walk, but I know this beautiful weather won’t last probably past tomorrow.”

Charlotte Walters brought her 3-year-old daughter Liberty to the play area to swing. Ten-month-old Judah was in the stroller, also enjoying the outing.

“This weather has been pretty incredible, but it isn’t going to last,” she said. “Christmas was a little weird because it was so warm. But I am not complaining.”

Fori McLean was walking around Lake Tomahawk with her daughter Kate, enjoying the warm temperatures and sunshine.

“I am enjoying it so much that I refuse to believe that it is going to change,” she said. “I want the weather to stay just like it is.” Her daughter agreed with her because she said she doesn’t like winter.

Matt Coward, an Owen High School student, was running at Lake Tomahawk and enjoying the spring-like temperatures.

“The weather has been crazy,” he said. “I don’t like winter nearly as much as summer, so I have been enjoying the warm temperatures.”

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