The weather last weekend caught many people by surprise.
Although forecasts called for rising temperatures, no one was prepared for February temperatures reaching 70 degrees.
After freezing temperatures the week before it seems people were reluctant to believe we were actually getting spring-like weather.
But when reality hit, people hit the streets and the beaches to enjoy the sunshine and warmth.
Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce Director Sylvia Cioffi said, “It was a beautiful surprise. Anywhere you went in Asbury it was bustling. Who expected 70 degrees?”
Cioffi said she failed to make a reservation for dinner at Taka and ended up having to sit at the bar.
“I was on Cookman and Main and all the businesses seemed to be having an increase in foot traffic,” she said.
Cioffi also said, when she returned to work after the long holiday weekend, it was obvious her co-workers ahd taken advantage of Mother Nature’s gift.
“Everybody has a little bit of a tan, a tee shirt tan or a red nose,” she said.
Cioffi said friends of hers took an early morning run, not realizing how nice it was out.
“Then I think word spread, the rest of the day was fantastic,” she said.
“It was a beautiful and unexpected surprise for the shore,” she said. “It was like summer again.”
Neptune Township Clerk, Rick Cuttrell, who is also a meteorologist, and manages the Tri-State Storm Watch website, said, “It was quite a weekend. Three days of mild weather.”
Cuttrell said last year during this same week temperatures were in the zero to 1 degree range.
“That’s quite a swing,” he said.
Although Cuttrell had good news for the end of this week, he said winter weather will return.
“This week it will push 70 but that’s probably the end of real exceptional temperatures. That’s as good as you’re going to see for this time on the calendar. Then we will see more normal winter temperatures,” he said.
Cuttrell said March can either be “a real winter month or a real spring month.”
He took advantage of the spring-like weather on Sunday and headed to the Ocean Grove boardwalk where he said, “The boardwalk was looking like April instead of February.”
Kay Harris of Asbury Galleria on the Asbury Park boardwalk had one word for the weekend – “fantastic.”
“It was like it was a summer weekend. Both Saturday and Sunday were packed,” she said.
Harris also said, unlike some busy weekends, the traffic translated into big sales.
“That doesn’t always happen when we have a nice weekend,” she said.
Harris said sales were big on Christmas ornaments, Asbury Park photos and tee shirts.
Ocean Grove Chamber of Commerce Director Rebecca Cavanaugh said simply, “It was crazy.”
Cavanaugh said it was like the first day of summer with people walking everywhere.
“ I guess people just wanted to get some sunshine and their vitamin D,” she said.
Cavanaugh also said for the first time since last summer she had to find a new place to park when she went to work on Saturday.
“I almost ran over three people.”
Cavanaugh also said many of the Main Avenue businesses were busy.
“There were a ton of people, the bakery was full, there were people eating ice cream in the street,” she said.