After a below average start, N.J. ocean temperatures finally in the 60s

    South Seaside Park in July 2013. (Photo: Justin Auciello/for NewsWorks)

    South Seaside Park in July 2013. (Photo: Justin Auciello/for NewsWorks)

    Memorial Day weekend is the start of the Jersey Shore’s summer season, but the ocean is typically not warm enough for most to enjoy.

    This year featured even cooler ocean temperatures than normal, courtesy of days of southerly winds preventing moderation.

    But temperatures are now at or above normal levels. Once again, it’s all due to the wind direction, as the recent onshore flow has pushed warmer water toward the coastline. 

    [RELATED: Science explains changes in water temperature from beach to beach]

    According to NOAA buoy data, the current ocean temperature in Atlantic City is 62.4 degrees, which is slightly above average for early June.

    Still, it’s a significant departure from the ocean temperature yesterday evening, which peaked at 69.3 degrees. The drop is due to the offshore wind that followed last night’s cold frontage passage, pushing the warm water away from the coastline. 

    The fluctuation is typical during the summer, when ocean temperatures peak in the middle to upper 70s in September.

    And that’s the “ideal” temperatures, one researcher says. 

    “Most people like it to be at least in the mid to upper 70s,” said Josh Kohut, assistant professor of Physical Oceanography at Rutgers University and founding member of the university’s Coastal Ocean Observation Lab (COOL).

    But it’s different for surfers, says Tim Husar, a year-round surfer at Seaside Park and Island Beach State Park who fishes often in Ocean County. 

    “Definitely the mid 60s is the sweet spot. Anything higher than that, like when you get water temperatures in the 70s, means that you don’t get much of a swell,” he told NewsWorks in 2014.

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    NewsWorks’ Shumita Basu contributed to this report.

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