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Winter's hangover: Ice water

Great day for a dip at the Shore – for polar bears.

As of late Friday morning, the water temperature off Atlantic City was 37 degrees, and 37.8 at Cape May, according to the National Oceanographic Data Center.

Those readings are several degrees below normal, and anyone at or near the Jersey Shore this afternoon is going to fell the effects.

Dead onshore winds out of the east are likely to hold temperatures around 40, or about 10 degrees lower than they will be in Philly.

The cold sea breezes are the result of winds blowing over recently deiced waters, as Walter Drag, the marine specialist at the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, noted in his forecast discussion.

Drag said that on March 1, the 33.7 degree reading at a buoy about 50 miles southeast of Cape May was the lowest observed in records dating to 1984.

By midafternoon winds had shifted a bit and were coming out of the southeast, and are forecast to be blowing from the south by late tonight.

Not that it's going to make much difference. The late-morning surf temperature at Brandywine Shoal Light, Del., was 34.5, better than 10 degrees below normal.

If the forecast holds, we don't expect big crowds at the beaches next week; temperatures in the 20s are expected Wednesday and Thursday morning.