N.J. beaches beckon as summer season commences

    Plenty of people are heading to the Jersey shore this holiday weekend. They should find conditions ideal for a wide range of activities–including just relaxing on the beach.

    “The waves are not bad,” said Stewart Farrell, director of the Coastal Research Center at Richard Stockton College. “There’s been quite half decent surfing. In fact with the winds going the way they were, people were out kite boarding and all kinds of other things that are quite unusual because it’s seldom that the waves, the winds, and everything are set for that.”

    The beaches are also in good shape, despite the winter storms, according to Jon Miller, a professor at Stephens Institute of Technology who specializes in coastal research.

    “We had a rough winter certainly from a shoveling snow standpoint, but a lot of those storms that brought the snow didn’t take a track where they generated the types of conditions along the coast that cause a lot of beach erosion,” he said.

    The winds and waves are relatively calm. Ocean water temperatures are near 70 degrees, about 10 degrees above normal for this time of year. If you decide to take a dip, Miller cautions that rip currents can occur at any time and urges you to swim near lifeguards.

    “Most communities aren’t fully staffed with lifeguards yet until the end of the school season,” he said. “So it’s extremely important this weekend if you go out, especially since it’s probably your first time in the water for a while, to swim near a lifeguard.”

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