Here’s a plot showing how the sea level near there, at Norrie Point, varied over the past week, demonstrating how low the tides fell. This was observed all over the entire region’s tidal waterways and beaches.
It was actually driven by strong winds blowing from west to east — it pushed New Jersey coastal ocean waters offshore and can have an effect similar to the height of the tide, basically a reverse storm surge, a “blowout”. Here’s some wind data — get my point?
Winds were blowing 22-30 knots (25-35 mph) from the west (arrows toward the right) on February 25th for about a day straight. That’ll do it … I looked at 3-month view of data in SSWS for a few winters and you can see that this is about the lowest water level that is ever seen, as she surmised. It occurs typically 1-2 times per winter. It’s impressive that Spoonbeams noticed – it’s nice to know people with their eyes on the water who notice these things!
For future reference, instead of tide-tables or other tide prediction websites, people in our area should check http://stevens.edu/SSWS for tide predictions that incorporate this effect, as well as rain-driven water level changes that can be large in the Hudson.
Interestingly Earth’s rotation was also likely at play, causing Long Island coastal waters to also be deflected toward the right if the wind blows over a day or longer, which it did. That’s the Coriolis effect, and would let the west winds blow the water toward the southeast, also offshore.