Cold Water Impacts CT Weather!

With spring officially started and temperatures in the forecast to be in the mid to upper 60’s this week people may start to feel a little beach fever especially with the cold and snowy winter we had! Although the temperatures are not suitable just yet for the beach, the days in the 70’s are just around the corner.  Our normal high temperatures reach into the 70’s in Windsor Locks on May 10. Stratford is two weeks later on May 23. However this time of the year the water temperature is much cooler than the air temperature during the day.  This strongly impacts Connecticut shoreline weather especially on days with the wind coming off the water, which is also known as an onshore flow.  Days with an onshore flow this time of the year we could see temperatures 10+ degrees cooler along the shoreline than just 10-15 miles inland.  It is interesting how the Long Island Sound affects Connecticut weather all year round.    

I dug up some archive information for the past five years concerning water temperature on this day for the past 5 years.  I was able to find information from a buoy, which is located off the coast of Bridgeport.  This buoy records weather data several times a day throughout the year.  As of April 18, 2014 at 2 PM the water temperature just off the Bridgeport coast was 44.1 F.  This time last year it was 48.2 F.  It was 52.7 F in 2012, 45.5 F in 2011 and 48.7 F in 2010. (All readings are from April 18 at 2 PM for each year).  It makes sense that this year the water temperature is cooler than years past as we all remember how cold this winter was compared to previous years.  I wanted to compare the average daily air temperature from January, February and March of each of these years as well.  Well my findings make perfect sense! (This data was taken from Sikorsky Airport in Stratford, CT) In 2012 the average daily temperature from each day in January, February and March was 40.5 F which is 5 degrees warmer than any other year.  If we look at the water temperature from 2012 it is also by far the warmest of the 5 years.  The data should work the other way as well.  The air temperature in January, February and March of 2014 were the coldest of the 5 years by 2 degrees at 30.2 F.  The water temperature for 2014 was also the coldest of the 5 years at 44.1 F.

Usually this time of the year our water temperature is 47 F.  We are about 3 degrees below average.  With water temperatures this cold it may be dangerous to spend even the littlest amount of time in it.  Check out this hypothermia chart.  I don’t suggest taking a swim just yet! It looks like summer time swimming might be delayed just a bit! 

Thanks for reading,

Meteorologist Kevin Arnone

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