YORK, Maine — It’s not unusual to see people emerging from their cars in bathing suits at York Beach.
Unless it’s the middle of winter.
Around 11 a.m. Monday, with air temperatures climbing into the 50s, Marie Richey of York, and friend Justin Satera of South Salem, N.Y., must have been California dreamin’ when they ran down the sand in their bathing suits and dove into the surf at Long Sands Beach.
They stayed in the ocean only long enough to jump in and out, but unlike a winter plunge event, the pair lingered on the beach afterward without wrapping themselves up in towels, or appearing to shiver. The water temperature was about 45 degrees, according to magicseaweed.com.
“Not bad,” said Satera.
“It was invigorating,” said Richey.
Asked why they went for a swim in January, Richey said, “I just really like the ocean, I thought I should go for a dip.”
The pair’s swim came as the National Weather Service said the temperature hit 56 on Monday in Portland, breaking the old record of 53 degrees set in 1950 and tied in 2005.
Monday’s warm weather is a continuation of a thaw that began in earnest over the weekend. On Sunday, New Hampshire’s Mount Washington hit 48 degrees, an all-time high for the month of January.
Usually Richey goes in wearing a wetsuit and carrying a surfboard. She looked at the surf report for Monday, and when she found conditions weren’t great for surfing, decided to go to the beach in her bathing suit.
She was inspired after surfing recently, when she found she was too warm wearing a wetsuit so took it off and dove in without it, she said.
Richey is from Pennsylvania. She currently lives on Old Mountain Road and works for White Pines Programs, a nonprofit, nature-based educational organization in York.
Temperatures are expected to begin cooling to more seasonable temperatures over the course of the week, with the possibility of a shot of extreme cold Friday into Saturday.