Sneak out of work to bask in an early summer at the beach?
Anyone who did that this week was met with a rude surprise: a thick, almost creepy blanket of fog covering the beaches of the Southern Jersey Shore.
Blame a combination of summer-like temperatures meeting with 50 degree ocean water, says Tom Thunstrom, founder of Phillyweather.net.
“We have warmth over land, but the water’s still cold, and there’s a sea breeze. There’s also not a lot of air movement at the surface or at the atmosphere, so fog tends to form and linger around,” he said.
Visibilities in ocean areas dropped down to nearly zero at night – a pattern that held true even through Thursday afternoon. I drove the Garden State Parkway in a full bath of sun on Thursday morning, but as soon as I started crossing the marshes on the causeway into Sea Isle, the mist crept in. Going over the final bridge, I couldn’t even see the Sea Isle Promenade, about a mile away.
By the time I got to Ocean City, visibility had dropped to less than a block. I felt like I was walking through a cloud – a creepy one since the boardwalk I knew so well vanished in front of me. Water condensed on my glasses. It was humid, sure, but a cold sea breeze blew over the boardwalk, stinging my hands.
I was lucky – I knew about the fog heading in, so I had brought a sweatshirt. But packs of teenage girls clutched their beach blankets close to their bodies, their bikini cover ups not close to enough clothing to protect them from the actual weather close to the ocean. Even after the sun started beating back the fog around 1:30 p.m., the air was still cold, especially next to the water.
“It’s a weird pattern. It’s very much almost like being in San Francisco but on the East Coast,” said Thunstrom.
According to Thunstrom, the same should hold true Friday before a cold front and rain moves in tonight. So today will be the best day of the week if you’re itching for some beach time.
Just remember a sweatshirt.
(One more note: props to the tween girl who was surfing in Ocean City with her dad. I know you were wearing a wetsuit, but you are one brave lady).