Why is the ocean so cold?!?!

July 13, 2008 10:30:25 AM PDT
If you've spent any time at the Jersey shore, there's no doubt you've noticed the ocean water is downright frigid. Don't let the warm sunshine fool you. The water off the coast of Longport is cold!

"It's probably about 60° ," Katie Morgenstern of Linwood, New Jersey told Action News. "If it's really hot it's refreshing." But for many bathers, refreshing quickly turns to frustrating.

Abigail McLaughlin, also of Linwood, N.J., said she's only seen one good day of swimming all summer.

Cole Decamillo/ Morrisville, Pa. added, "Normally we can get our wetsuits off by end of June beginning of July, but it's been so cold lately."

Ocean temperatures have averaged between 57° and 61° this summer. The cold ocean water along the shoreline is caused by strong winds from the southwest.

"The warm surface water that normally is off our beaches this time in July is pushed off to sea and colder water from underneath upwells," according to Capt. Patrick Armstrong/ Longport Beach Patrol.

Just miles offshore, the water is up to 20° warmer. Usually in the summer, the shallow water near the shoreline is the warmest!

"The bathers are saying that we should be giving out wetsuits with those beach tags," Armstrong added.

Locals and vacationers are still coming to the shore. The grownups, for the most part, remain beach bound.

Bob Falk of Linwood, New Jersey told Action News, "On a sunny day like this it feels good on your feet... but that's about it." Valerie Stein of Bensalem, Pa. added, "You can take it for like 3 seconds then your feet start to tingle."

But some brave young souls are still diving into the chilly water. They have some great advice if you want to brave the colder-than-normal waters.

Lorenzo Robinson of Northfield, N.J. advised, "If you like it then you stay. If you don't just get out." Reilly McLaughlin of Egg Harbor Twp., N.J. added, "My trick is to just suck it up."

Hurricane Bertha might bring just the change we've needed. It'll remain hundreds of miles off the coast, but it could funnel warmer water to the Jersey shoreline.