Memorial Day weekend’s weather was streaky, and the mood uncertain as we entered the summer season at the shore, but a streak of fair weather weekends followed and the Labor Day weekend was spectacular.

And the fine weather did more than brighten our moods, it drove people to the shores and boardwalks.

“Our businesses needed this great weather to close out the summer season. The weather drove people to the shore communities and we clearly saw them on the Boardwalk and taking advantage of the outdoor dining experiences so many restaurants are able to offer.,” said Michael Chait, president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber.

It didn’t start out that way. Memorial Day weekend arrived chilly, damp, cloudy and bringing showers. The exact type of weather that drives people inside. In that regard, it matched the state of mind (and orders of the governor) at that stage of the COVID-19 pandemic: A stay-at-home order wouldn’t be lifted for another two weeks; you couldn’t dine at a restaurant; and school graduations, still a week away, were in flux.

That earned the first weekend of the summer season a D+, the first one given since the shore summer weekend report card grading started in 2018.

Fortunately for us, summer turned it around in the weeks that followed.

This was helped in part by the fact that our climatological summer — June through August — went on to become the second warmest in New Jersey since records were kept in 1895, according to the Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist.

Despite that, there were few excruciatingly hot days. Only one daily high temperature record (at 92 degrees) was broken at Atlantic City International Airport, June 3. Rather, it was the above-average high temperatures and the well-above-average low temperatures that put 2020 in the number two spot.

“In Margate the weather was perfect,” said Eileen LaPat, of Margate on the rain-free, warm and not too humid weekend.

The summer of 2020 earned a B for its weekend weather at the shore, taking into account those 16 Fridays through Sundays, including Memorial Day and Labor Day. While this falls short of the B+ of the 2019 summer, it falls roughly in line with the summer of 2018, which earned a B as well.

“A” grades were given to weekends that were rain-free, with low dew points, plenty of sunshine, light winds and high temperatures between 75 and 90 degrees — all perfect for getting outside to the shore while still maintaining safe social distancing on the sand.

That happened twice during the summer, June 19 to June 21, and Labor Day weekend. At Sen. Frank S. Farley Marina in Atlantic City, no rain fell from Sept. 4 to 7. High temperatures were between 78 and 82 degrees, with a sunny to partly sunny sky. This was welcome news for many shore businesses.

“Good weather drives people to the shore. When they come, they look for the experiences they’ve had for years. All of our businesses have made every effort to deliver that in a safe and responsible manner,” Chait said.

Five weekends earned a B+, six earned a B, one earned a C+ and two earned a D+. Those two failing grades were for Memorial Day weekend and the weekend of Aug. 14 to 16.

The best stretch of weekends was from June 19 to 21 to July 17 to 29, which featured all As and B pluses.

Precipitation achieved the 26th wettest of the past 126 years in the state. June was below average, but July and August were 2.22 and 1.94 inches above their monthly averages, respectively.

September is the third driest month of the year, on average, in Atlantic City. With warm weather and sunshine still to come, a new summer season awaits.

“Had to be the best Labor Day weatherwise in a very long time, let’s keep it going the rest of locals’ summer month (September),” said John Rogers, 62, of the Manahawkin section of Stafford Township.

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