The year 2023 saw something that's never been experienced before in recent history. The ocean temperature off the southern coast of Florida reached a blistering 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

You literally can forget about the hot tub with ocean temperatures like that. It's simply unheard of for coastal waters along the states to get that warm.

Now, could this actually be something that's happened in the past away from the United States coastline? Perhaps. Maybe we just haven't had the ability to record it based on where it may have occurred.

And yes, maybe ocean temps like this have happened regularly long before we had the ability to record them. Or maybe even before people first walked the Earth.

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We're not going to get into the debate over manmade climate change vs. natural climate cycles. Regardless of the cause, the planet and its oceans are warming at a very fast rate.

And that brings us to the coastline here in New Jersey. Although our oceans aren't breaking 100 degrees Fahrenheit, they have been unusually warm.

In fact, we've had some 80-degree temperatures at times off our coast back in July 2023. That's something we don't normally see so early on in the summer season.

Ocean Grove
Ocean Grove (Bud McCormick)
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Now of course as winds and storm systems change, so can the water temperatures. So yes, those ocean temps fluctuate here and there throughout the season.

But it's the bigger picture we have to look at here. Those waters are getting warmer whether we like it or not.

And even though those warming temps might be nice to enjoy a swim, it's not good news for storms that might come our way.

Tropical Storm Elsa. (Dan Zarrow)
Tropical Storm Elsa. (Dan Zarrow)
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Tropical storms and hurricanes are the biggest concern. A hurricane in particular needs at least 80-degree water temperatures to help it gain strength.

And with warmer waters becoming more common off our coast, it only gives more fuel for a storm to maintain or gain strength should it come our way.

It's for this reason that New Jersey homeowners and businesses need to prepare now. Especially if their home or business is located right along the Jersey Shore.

7 Months After Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey Shore Open For Memorial Day
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Now no, you don't need to board anything up or stock up on food supplies if there's no immediate danger. Although you should have a plan in place at the least.

But there is one action you can take now that could potentially save you thousands or more down the road. And that action is to review your insurance coverage very carefully.

Just look at what happened to so many after Superstorm Sandy. So many people in the state got screwed because the storm changed from being called a hurricane just before hitting our coastline in October 2012.

East Coast Begins To Clean Up And Assess Damage From Hurricane Sandy
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Far too many New Jersey residents and businesses got the runaround from their insurance companies which simply isn't fair. Which is why the language in a policy is so important.

And nobody should have to go through that if a storm suddenly changes its status literally moments before it strikes. If you're paying for insurance protection, it should be paid out.

Just take a look at the open Atlantic where ocean temperatures are also abnormally warm. On September 8, 2023, Hurricane Lee became a category 5 after explosive growth and strengthening due in part to super warm ocean waters (the below photo is not of Hurricane Lee).

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Purestock
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Super-strong storms like that would only have more fuel to keep them strong should they come up the coast and affect New Jersey. It's just the reality of what abnormally warm waters can contribute to.

And with ocean waters so warm right along the Shore, it would be wise to double-check your insurance policies to ensure you have the proper coverage and change any language that might be outdated.

Even getting some legal assistance to review your policy to ensure you're properly protected might be wise. In the end, you should have peace of mind knowing you'll get paid out in a timely manner for any storm that might come your way.

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Canva
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Regardless of a storm classification changes at the last minute, it shouldn't matter. Yes, progress has been made to address this issue after Sandy in 2012, but it doesn't mean loopholes still do not exist in your policy.

Remembering Superstorm Sandy: 11 years later

11 years later — Sandy makes landfall in New Jersey

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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