It was mostly cloudy, humid, and showery at sunrise last Saturday – not a promising start to one of the last few summer vacation weekends along the Jersey Shore. By the time I headed down to the shore by mid-day there was a stern southerly breeze blowing over the beach making the ocean waters of the western Atlantic turbid and tough. Waves in the surf zone were about 5 feet and up.
While the wave action was much less with tropical storm Danny, in contrast to Hurricane Bill last weekend, rain showers and rip currents were still making hazardous surf conditions that chased away many people from the beach. For coastal businesses, this was not good. Another tropical storm had put a damper on the pocket books of many local business owners who’ve already had a slow summer. Another tropical storm had spoiled another Jersey Shore weekend for scores of people.
Still, it might have been good that people did not go swimming in the ocean. Despite an official downgrade from tropical storm status, tropical rainstorm Danny was creating particularly strong undertows that could have pulled swimmers to the bottom. Undertow is created as water that has crashed onshore rushes back out to sea.
In North Carolina, tropical storm Danny was blamed for the death of a 12-year-old boy, who went missing while boogy-boarding in the ocean. Waves in the area were only about 4 to 6 feet tall, but that was enough to sweep a young boy out to sea while his board washed ashore without him.
Fortunately, by the time tropical storm Danny traveled near the Jersey Shore the storm had calmed down considerably. It was more of an annoyance than a deadly storm.
There was some hit and miss drenching rainfall and minor beach erosion. Northward, however, Danny was more serious. Cape Cod and the maritime provinces of Canada got blasted with windswept flooding rain, wind gusts between 40 and 60 mph, and a few downed trees on roadways.
Perhaps the most impressive sight from Danny to the northern Jersey Shore was the incoming storm surge near the tip of Sandy Hook, at the entrance of the NY-NJ Harbor. During high tide cycles the ocean current was pushing up strong waves like the wake from a large and very fast vessel.
Even if the anticipation of some “real” weather that had stirred the blood of many outdoor people never occurred, it was comforting to know that the Jersey Shore came away from a tropical storm during the height of hurricane season without any serious damage. Sure, many outdoor plans had to be cancelled, but the storm could have gotten stronger and closer. We were very lucky once again.
By Sunday, it was a beautiful and clear day in the wake of tropical storm Danny. Skies were bright blue by the afternoon and humidly levels were dropping fast on the back of an enjoyable northerly breeze, a welcome change after a spell of soggy weather. People responded by heading back to the beach, just as if nothing happened anyway.