Bobby’s Sunday Meteorological Voice Volume 2, Episode 9: Polar Plunging in the Atlantic…End of May?

#njweather #BSMV #NorCast

Good Sunday Morning! Thank you for joining me. I’m Meteorologist Bobby Klark doing weekends for and Chief Meteorologist over at @Bobby’s Weather where I take on the good, the bad, and the ugly of dealing with media weather topics. But first…

Gorgeous day on tape for today with abundant sunshine, warmer temperatures but less humid. Tomorrow, for Memorial Day, we turn more humid and warmer so hopefully your town is honoring our Fallen Heroes in the morning to not have to deal with the heat and humidity.

On the way to church last week, daddy posed a question to me in the car “Bobby, why are the ocean temperatures so cold?”. I had to think about this for a few seconds probably dealing with someone do 35 mph in a 50 mph zone on Rt. 40, So I gave him an abridged version of an answer which I can spell out for you this week and below in my weekly blog.

Right now, according to our umbrella website Water Temps – NorEasterNick (, we are sitting in the mid to upper 50s off the barrier islands, with the less shallow Delaware Bay in the lower 60s. This is about 5-10 degrees cooler than where we should be about this time. Proof of this, as we approach June 1, this will be the first time in about 5 years we do not have a named storm in the Atlantic, tropical or sub-tropical. The more shocking part is when the NHC (National Hurricane Center) started naming sub-tropical storms, which are Nor’Easters which we get 10 per winter, not one was named. The closest, my colleague @Nick Pittman @Noreaster nick and I agreed in shock, the upper level ow that sat off the Carolinas about 2 weeks ago for 10 days was not named.

But let’s start with that system. It drifted south and east off the Maryland and Virginia border and caused a “May Gloom” (Those in California can related when you get that onshore flow for 2 weeks causing the “June Gloom”). First, it did not allow a high sun angle to help warm the temps of the ocean. Secondly, it created what is an important factor with hurricane development called “upwelling”. This is when surface water is pushed away or towards the coast and allows water from below the surface to reach the top. That water is much cooler than, obviously, the water that was previously there getting whatever sun or warmth it could get. And as most of you know living at the Shore, the water just kept piling up along the coastline and because of that, low tide could not escape the bays, rivers, and immediate coast. And as more and more water piled up, that water had to come from somewhere, So even cooler water was brought to the surface, pushed towards the coast, more cooler water… well you get the drift. Because this low sat off the Carolinas, not only did the Jersey Shore see cooler temperatures, but you have to run down the Atlantic Seaboard along the coasts of Delaware, Virginia, and the Carolinas themselves.

The other big factor is our below normal temperatures during climatological spring, the amount of time climate records are kept which run from March 1 to May 31. We still have a few days left and I ball parked the numbers (Thankful Nick brought an intern in to research these number better in the future), we were at or below normal about 2/3 to 70% temperature wise during that time frame. Most of which was because of cloud cover because by we hit April, even with a chillier air mass in place, a decent sun angle would allow for warming a good 5 degrees more than say what we can expect Feb or March. Think of as a “home field advantage” for you sports fans and bettors. The common betting line giving the home team a 3 point advantage before everything else is factored in. So, if you are 4 point favorite at home, 3 of those points are BECAUSE you are at home. That’s what an April sun angle brings to the table vs. a Feb/March sun angle.

So what does this mean? Obviously the point of this blog, it has curtailed a slow start and for the first time in 6 years, thank you Tropical Storm Agatha (Christie?), the Pacific gets the first named storm over the Atlantic. Now, technically, the official Atlantic hurricane season is to start June 1 (the first day of Climatological Summer), so we shouldn’t be surprised while the Pacific season starts May 15, bit as things have changed this is quite newsworthy.

So is there a positive to having cooler water temperatures this late? Several pointed out to me. First, my friend Gregg, an avid fisherman, said that these cooler temps in the water help with catching stripers. Ok, I am a flounder, porgy, cod guy, so not sure about stripers, unless we bring back the 80s where hospitals had “candy stripers”. The other, that my aforementioned colleague, nick mentioned (which I did talk about in last week’s blog) is the diffusing of severe weather much more faster. How? It’s called a gust front. We had one come through here in my home town of Dorothy yesterday. What happens, as a severe or non-severe thunderstorm approaches cooler air, it loses its energy, and that energy is released from the storm tens of thousands of feet above surface. So you get a strong wind gust, cooler air, and then 5-10 minutes later, very heavy rain, sort of the parting of the “thunderstorm sea” (Cue: Charlton Heston “The Ten Commandments). Eventually, the storm falls apart and then fades into the sunset off the Jersey Shore (Fist pumping?)

We do walk a fine like though. Just to the east, say 150 miles east, is the Gulf Stream. It’s the natural flowing “river” of water which comes from the western Florida coast all the way up past us and off Nova Scotia (Cue: Carly Simon “You’re So Vain). Of course it does battle the Labrador Current that flows from the Arctic Circle but that’s a discussion for another day once the tropical season is in full effect. So more than anything, the sensible people at the NHC realized how chilly these temps on the ocean have been all the way down the Carolina coast. If they didn’t, we would have had a BS (No, not my meteorological degree) named storm just to get the season started off on a bang. Accountability at it’s best!

Thank you for joining me this Sunday morning. Do you have any comments, questions, or maybe something you would like me to tackle in the weather world? You can comment below or send me an email

Have a great day everyone and Stay Safe!

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