Residents Flock to Beaches to Enjoy Warm Weather

New Jerseyans experienced temperatures Monday that felt more like July than April. The state had the warmest start of the year on record and the third driest in more than century with only about seven inches of rainfall statewide. Business owners in Belmar are enjoying the unseasonable temperatures as are beach-goers.

State Climatologist David Robinson said he can’t predict the amount of precipitation that might be in the future, but did say above average temperatures are likely.

That’s great news for Tom Rogers, owner of TRS Food Court in Belmar. “Well I have been here 18 years and so far this has been the most successful spring in terms of sales in the last 18 years,” he said.

Eastern Line Surf Shop has increased its hours of operation. It’s usually only open four to five days a week this time of year, but now it’s open for six. Some customers came in for beach chairs Monday. “We usually don’t even have beach chairs this time of year,” said Manager Darby Tarrant. “There’s a couple that are left from last year and we happen to have them in the stock room.”

Belmar Mayor Matthew Doherty said the early visitors strengthen his municipality’s economy. “Come the summer months we go from a 6,000 person town to 60,000, so on nice days like today and weekends that we have had it’s a real boost to the business community,” he said.

Beach goers don’t need to purchase badges to access the beach until Memorial Day weekend, so the mayor says he hopes warm days like this one will offer a free preview of the beach in the hopes of attracting even more tourists in the summer months.

Lauren Wanko reports from Belmar.