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Shore Environment

Up Close: A Frozen Barnegat Bay; How Long Will Cold Snap Last?

Barnegat Bay, including portions close to the main navigational channel, have seen a layer of ice form over the Christmas holiday weekend due to a mammoth cold front that rolled in alongside a coastal storm late last week.

After strong winds sent sheets of water spraying into bulkheads and marsh sedge banks, the deep-freeze in place for several days was enough to place most of the bay under a coating of ice. While visibly too weak to support the weight of a human, the days-long process to even form any significant layer of ice on top of the salt waterway is not often seen in December.

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)


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Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures will break the freezing mark for the first time since last week on Tuesday. The agency is forecasting a high of 37 degrees with a light west wind under sunny skies – surely bringing along melting of ice on water surfaces as well as some of the limited roadways which saw ice accumulate, largely driven by the wind.

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The mercury will dip below the freezing mark overnight into Wednesday, but then recovery during the day to a high of 44 degrees. Like Tuesday, Wednesday is forecast to be sunny with a light southwest wind.

Thursday and Friday, likewise, are expected to be sunny with highs of 46 and 51 degrees, respectively.

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Barnegat Bay, frozen after a cold snap, Dec. 26, 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

While somewhat unusual, the freezing of the bay before the new year isn’t unheard-of, and this year’s edition will likely end as soon as the sun’s rays hit the water surface with temperatures above freezing.


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