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Ocean Temps: Come On In, Water's Fine-r than Usual

By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
3/22/2012, 10:18:36 AM

When checking the NODC Water Temperatures (link won't work today due to power outage @ NODC), I found it interesting that ocean (sea-surface) temperatures are far above normal for this time of year. Hover over the maps below to see (stark) comparisons to last year at this time for the Northeast and Southeast coast:


Sure, it's been extremely warm in the Eastern U.S. this month, but water takes a lot longer to warm. But with no cold shots this Spring, it has done that. Savannah, GA's ocean temp was 69F yesterday, 10.2 degrees above the normal average for March (yes, it would be best to compare on the 15th, but the 21st is not that far off). The reporting stations at the beaches in Virginia, South Carolina, and Florida are reading around +9 degrees, equivalent to late April in most cases (readings of 36 in Chesapeake Bay and 82 at Myrtle Beach are due to malfunctioning sensors).


As far north as Boston though, it's still too cold to swim and the same is true in Chicago, though the meteorology is the same; the NWS says the water temperature on Lake Michigan may be a record. But farther south, given that beach temperatures are even warmer than these official readings, (which are taken slightly offshore) I'd say "jump in!" if it weren't for the jellyfish, which of course, like warmer temperatures.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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