Delaware Bay and Cape May Canal Ice Over 2014

Cape May, NJ – After several bitter cold days, it was bound to happen. Edges of the Delaware Bay turned overnight from ripples of salt water into ripples of ice. You could see the waves frozen in place early Wednesday morning.

The deep freeze extended up the Delaware River past Philadelphia to Trenton, where ice jams in the river caused flooding in the state capital later in the day.

The Delaware River wasn’t the only waterway affected. Surfaces of streams and back bays all over the area started freezing, including the Cape May Canal.

It’s not often that the entire canal, which connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Delaware Bay, becomes almost impassable. Ice floes covered the canal all the way to the Delaware Bay. One photo of the south bank of the canal looked like a town in Alaska, not New Jersey.

Although the Cape May Lewes Ferry’s North Cape May terminal was surrounded with patches of ice, the ferry was able to maintain regular service to Lewes, Delaware.

What is so amazing is how quickly the freeze started. High waves engulfed the Higbee Beach fisherman’s jetty Tuesday morning. By Wednesday, the waves had turned to ice. There was very little open water.

The main reason – the temperatures continued the Polar like trend.  After setting a new record low of seven degrees Tuesday,  Cape May area air temps peaked at only 28 Wednesday, still more than cold enough to freeze sea water.

It’s been one wild weather roller coaster this week – seven inches of snow Friday and Saturday followed  by half an inch of rain Monday followed by a 40 degree drop in temperatures to Arctic like conditions Tuesday, with the wind chill at minus 11.

Cape May set two new low temperature records this week – 5 degrees Saturday and 7 degrees Tuesday.

Is it over yet? Looks like it. The forecasts say the temperature will start rising today.  Anyone who missed it all and shows up in Cape May this weekend, with temperatures in the 50′s, might find it hard to believe that any of this really happened here.

Believe us, it did.


About Jane Kashlak

Jane Kashlak - a journalist, gardener and Cape Island resident - is writing a book.