Record warm surf off Jersey

From June 1 through Sept. 30, the average water temperature off Atlantic City was a toasty 72.4 degrees.

That broke the record of 71.5, set in 1952, according to Jim Eberwine, former marine specialist at the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, now retired.

In records dating to 1912, the long-term average is 68.2 for the June1-Sept. 30 period.

Eberrwine pointed out that one rite of summer was missing this year -- the upwelling event.

Often during summers, steady winds blow away warm surface waters, which are then replaced by the cooler waters below. That's when the ocean empties out, and the beach becomes crowded.

Given that temperatures in August were cooler than normal, the fact that the sea-surface temperatures held their own suggests that the warming went deep, said Eberwine.

By the way, the water is still unusually warm. At last look, the temperature off Atlantic City was 68.5, and 68.4 off Cape May.

That's about 10 degrees warmer than the average for the first two weeks of October, not to mention 10 degrees above the air temperature.