IT WAS HOT, HOT, HOT!
SO. MONMOUTH COUNTY — During the summer season, the surf and sand of the Jersey Shore offers hundreds of thousands of local residents and tourists alike a place to find some rest and relaxation in the sun every day.
However, with temperatures creeping well into the high 90s — mixed with humidity to make the air feel like it was more than 100 degrees — even the beach was too hot to handle for those looking to find a place to cool down last weekend.
The heat wave that swept across Monmouth County started its reign in late June.
According to Tom Kines of Accuweather, temperatures crept up into the 90s starting on June 28 and did not cool off until earlier this week. Temperatures ranged from 91 to 95 degrees in the last few days of June, went up to 97 degrees on July 1 and then dropped back down to the low 90s for the first few days of the month. On Saturday, July 7, however, temperatures skyrocketed again, when the high for the day clocked in at a scorching 99 degrees.
Things have cooled off a bit, and on Sunday, the high was 86 degrees and on Monday, Tuesday and yesterday, the high was 82.
BEATING THE HEAT
In Manasquan, beach manager Wally Wall said during days as hot as Saturday, the local beach department may actually see a slight decrease in attendance at the beach.
“Years ago, everyone came to the beach if it was hot, but now, there is air conditioning,” Mr. Wall said.
Mr. Wall said though lifeguards often have to sit in their chair under the scorching sun to watch over the bathers, the guards can take regular breaks to cool off in the water.
“They are right by the water and get the breeze,” Mr. Wall said. “Or, they take the boat out for water training.”
Gate attendants each bring their own “big jug of water or juice,” Mr. Wall said.
Beach staff will also drive to the various gate attendants in a golf cart. On the golf cart are two large coolers — one with ice and hand towels, and one with ice and water. The golf cart also makes its rounds to the beach parking lot attendants to help them cool off.
The gate attendants, when they get too hot, can also take a brief break to shower off or swim.
At Main Beach, Manasquan residents and gate attendants Lauren Lemig and Morgan Neill, both 18, were checking badges during the recent heat wave.
Ms. Lemig had a towel around her head to try and stay cool while Ms. Neill had a container of frozen Gatorade nearby.
“We take turns cooling off,” Ms. Neill said.
Both gate attendants agreed the sultry weather brought less people to the beach.
Ms. Lemig pointed out that Saturday’s patrons were primarily season badge holders, as opposed to people purchasing a daily pass.
Another challenge for beach goers on Saturday was walking on the sand.
“It’s like ‘burning the bottom of your feet’ hot,” Ms. Neill said. “It is the biggest complaint of people coming off the beach.”
Mr. Wall said the ocean temperature has been around 70 degrees and many beach patrons have been enjoying spending time in the water.
“It is so clean and calm,” Mr. Wall said. “They can stay in for hours.”
“We have a lot of young families on the beach,” Mr. Wall said. “They can bring their coolers and food on the beach here.”
Up on the Manasquan beach walk, groups of teenagers and young adults, as well as families with young children, were sitting by the various eateries enjoying lunch or some ice cream, many trying to find some shade at the tables.
Peter Zorich and his daughter, Isabella, 13, of Montclair, said this was their second visit to the beach this season.
“I used to come here a lot as a kid,” Mr. Zorich said.
Isabella said the sand on the beach was indeed “really hot.”
“And, it is really cold in the water,” she said.
Mr. Zurich said the two would also be getting ice cream as a cool treat before they head home.
Patrick Housen and his daughters, Tara, 11, and Kelly, 9, of Brielle, were attempting to cool off on the beach walk with ice cream, which was melting rather quickly.
“This is their lunch, after the cheese fries,” Mr. Housen laughed.
Kelly said her favorite part of the day, in addition to eating ice cream, was the ocean.
Mr. Housen said Saturday was definitely “too hot.”
“You have to be in the water,” he said, in order to keep refreshed. “But, the water [temperature] is beautiful.”
OH WHERE IS THE AIR?
One of the few air conditioned spots on the boardwalk was Gee-Gees Arcade.
Inside, Sean Preston, 14, of Freehold, was busy playing one of the various games while keeping cool.
Sean, who was staying at a beach house in Manasquan, said while it was a “good beach day,” it was still very hot outside on Saturday.
The arcade was a perfect place to take a break from the sun because of the air conditioning, he said.
Manasquan siblings Tyler Toole, 22, and Claire Toole, 19, were working inside the arcade which had become relatively crowded.
“It is mainly kids that come in,” Ms. Toole said. “It is so hot and we are the only one with air conditioning on the beach.”
Just off the boardwalk, local residents and visitors to the shore town found another hot spot to keep cool — with some food and ice cold beer — at Leggett’s.
Howell residents Frank and Bonnie Ross were enjoying some food and relaxing at a table.
“We went to the beach earlier this morning and came here for lunch,” Ms. Ross said. “If you’re not at Leggett’s, you are not at Manasquan.”
“It is very hot,” she continued. “There is a land breeze, it is cool — but not enough.”
“It was hot,” Mr. Ross said, of their time spent on the beach. “But, you jump in the water, be cool and come here.”
Manasquan Police Chief Elliot Correia said the department did not see an increase in calls due to the heat wave, although his oifficers and the first aid were busy, as usual.
SEA GIRT SEES
In Sea Girt, parking was nowhere to be found near the beach and many people were making their way to the beach from several streets away, lugging all their gear.
“We are beating the heat by going to the beach,” John Bryman, of New York City and Neptune, said.
Mr. Bryman was walking on a street to the beach with his friend, Steve Roman, of Ewing.
“We are going to get some exercise and go for a swim,” Mr. Roman added.
Leaving the Sea Girt beach were Alex Branch and Barrett Schrader, of Sea Girt.
“The sand was so hot we had to run in the water,” Mr. Branch said, of Saturday’s experience.
Mr. Schrader said the two wore lots of sunscreen and frequented the water, which he described as “amazing.”
Mr. Branch also said there were people laying out on the beach, sunning themselves despite the burning sun.
“Some daredevils are [sun tanning], but they will look like crabs later,” he said.
Sea Girt Beach Manager Jim Freda said on Saturday there were three heat-related incidents on the beach.
“They [people] were not hydrated and they did not eat,” he said, which caused them to feel ill.
As for keeping his staff protected on extremely hot days, Mr. Freda said, “I tell them if any of them feels they are having a problem or are sick, they are to find me immediately and make sure they get proper treatment,” Mr. Freda said. “Their personal safety is important.”
A 4 by 4 vehicle comes around with ice water to the gate attendants several times a day, Mr. Freda said.
“Plus each gate has a water fountain they can use,” he said. “On their break they can come into the air conditioned pavilion offices if they want.”
Mr. Freda also said ice water is brought to lifeguards serving on the beach. Their headquarters is also air conditioned, which Mr. Freda called “a big benefit.”
On Saturday, Mr. Freda said the sand “was very hot.”
“It was too hot to walk on, and I make sure the gate guards know it is,” he said, so they can warn beach goers and their children before stepping onto the beach.
At the pavilion where people could eat lunch or get a cool beverage, Mr. Freda said umbrellas and a canopy offered some, if any, relief.
“It really wasn’t a great beach day, it was so hot,” Mr. Freda said of Saturday. “There were flies with the west wind.”
“The only relief was in the water,” he said.
Mr. Freda also said there was a decrease in attendance on Saturday because of the “scorching, excessive heat.”
HEAT BRINGS VISITORS
TO SPRING LAKE
In Spring Lake, beach manager Dan Finn said, “We encourage all the employees to bring in as much water as they can. They are encouraged to bring their own large containers.”
Mr. Finn said there are also water coolers in the north and south end pavilion offices, and water fountains, which can be used by the staff or public.
As long as they have coverage, the lifeguards can go in and out of the water when they need to, Mr. Finn said, “especially in extreme heat like Saturday.”
The beach staff has a relief crew that will give the gate attendants multiple breaks, especially seniors, he said.
“They give them as many breaks as possible,” Mr. Finn said, “to sit in the air conditioning for a couple of minutes.”
“For our elderly staff, we will send them home early,” he continued. “A lot of them are not happy because they need the money.”
Mr. Finn said there were a few heat-related incidents both on Friday and Saturday, but there were four EMTs on staff.
“And they help them [beach patrons] as much as they can,” Mr. Finn said. “If we need to, we will call first aid.”
Most of the incidents were related to people becoming dehydrated, he said.
Mr. Finn agreed the sand on Saturday was unbearably hot to the touch for many.
“I took a couple walks on the beach barefoot and it was tough, it was hard, especially when the beach is wide,” he said. “You have to walk with footwear. It was really hot.”
While many of the beach towns said they saw a decrease in beach attendance due to Saturday’s extreme heat, Mr. Finn said Spring Lake had a good amount of people.
“Saturday was very busy,” Mr. Finn said. “There was definitely an increase.”
“A lot of people come in the late afternoon, they will still be purchasing badges at 2:30-3 p.m.,” he said.
On Saturday, Mr. Finn said Spring Lake sent their gate staff home at 3, which is an hour or so earlier than normal because of the heat.
“We have had a really nice beginning to the summer, most days have been very pleasant,” Mr. Finn said. “Most people are enjoying the water. The water has been very clean and warm.”
Mr. Finn said on Monday the ocean was 76 degrees.
“It is like a tropic vacation,” he said.
Mr. Finn said there was little damage to the beach from the storm that hit the area on Saturday evening.
“We made out well with the storm,” Mr. Finn said. “People took shelter here at the pavilion and most people got out of here with no incident.”
BELMAR BEACHES RAKE IN CASH
In Belmar, thousands flocked to the beach to stay cool during the heat wave, making sales for the Fourth of July weekend abnormally high.
This year, the borough made $247,578 between Wednesday, July 4 and Sunday, July 8, with 328 season badges, 213 senior badges and 32,569 daily badges being sold, said Pat Zwirz, purchasing agent for the borough. That is $72,402 more than last year’s sales of $175,176 during the same time.
Ms. Zwirz said this high number of sales probably correlates with the heat wave, although she said she was not sure what the weather was like last year.
Those who wanted to soak in the sun and heat, kept cool in various ways, said Ray Elms, lifeguard supervisor.
“People are getting smarter,” Mr. Elms said. They are using umbrellas, staying near the water and going into the ocean to stay cool, he said, noting that there were not as many heat exhaustion cases as would have been expected during a heat wave.
Fran Hines, director of emergency medical services, said there were about 50 first aid calls at the beach due to heat related issues between July 1 and 9. Ten of those people were taken to the hospital, he said.
“Those people who don’t seek help for themselves or from us normally get into trouble,” Mr. Hines said, noting that people have to learn to monitor their body for signs of exhaustion when they are outside.
“People need to recognize the signs and act on it or we’ll be having to take you away,” he said.
Those who wanted to stay out of the heat, stayed cool by going to the borough’s cooling center, located at the Belmar Public Library, 517 10th Ave.
About 30 people used the cooling center in the last two weeks, said Bill Young, borough administrator. This number does not include the amount of people who went to the library to read and stay cool, he said.
“People should know they have a safe, free place to stay cool,” Mr. Young said.
Those who braved the heat or stayed indoors had the same idea when it came to dinner: eat out.
Jacqueline Klein, manager of Klein’s Fish Market, located at 708 River Road, said the heat did not hurt the restaurant’s business.
“We were very busy,” she said. “People came after the sun went down. We were busy about 7-7:30 p.m. when we’re normally busy earlier.”
Mr. Young, borough administrator, said he did not hear about any reports of power outages or accidents related to the storm that hit Saturday evening. There were some tree limbs down, he said, but “nothing significant.”
BRADLEY BEACH COUNCIL
THANKS THE BEACH STAFF
While many beaches filled up with people trying to cool off, Bradley Beach seemed to attract a smaller crowd than usual.
Beach manager and chief lifeguard, Dick Johnson, commented, “It was hot. A lot of people stay at home when it gets this hot.” He did mention that July 4 was a fantastic day with a great crowd despite the heat.
Mr. Johnson remembers past summers with much more severe heat waves.
He recalled having to send gate guards home at two or three o’clock because it was so “oppressively hot.”
Second Lieutenant J.W. Zech of the Bradley Beach First Aid Squad stated that the heat wave was “the most uneventful event we’ve ever had.”
There were only four heat related emergency calls, and two of these individuals were rehabilitated in the ambulance. They just needed to cool off in the air conditioning and drink some water.
During Tuesday’s council meeting, councilman Salvatore Galassetti expressed his appreciation for all of the lifeguards, badge checkers and police. He said, “I appreciate their sweat down at the beachfront.”
Even though fewer patrons traveled to the beach during the heat wave, councilman Gary Engelstead stated that close to $100,000 in beach revenue was earned last week.
LAKE COMO STAY COOL
All was calm in Avon during the heat wave, as no significant incidents were reported over the weekend.
According to borough administrator and beachfront supervisor Timothy Gallagher, “there were no more first aid calls than we normally have” during any given day in the summer.
“All is always good in Avon,” Mr. Gallagher said.
Robert Holmes, captain of the Lake Como first aid squad, said it was “quiet” in the borough.
“Our main calls were still bar calls,” he said. “A little bit because of the heat, but mainly alcohol [related] calls” as people were celebrating the Fourth of July.
BUSINESSES CASH IN ON HEAT
At one local business in Spring Lake, Blarney Cone owner Carole Argeros said Saturday’s evening hours were more popular than during the day.
“It was good,” she said about business at night.
“People were really by the ocean,” she said, on Saturday. “It was a beach day.”
“After it cooled down some” people were ready to come in to enjoy some ice cream.
“Saturday was a day for the soft serve,” she said.
At Green Planet Coffee Shop in Manasquan, barista Kelly Hart, of Belmar, said the heat has not affected the sale of piping hot beverages, though cold drinks have seen a severe uptick.
“Some people claim that drinking hot beverages in the heat raises your core temperature, which makes you not as hot,” she said. “But plenty of people are buying iced drinks. Children and teens tend to go for the sweeter, more fun frappachinos, while adults are more likely to get lattes.”