"In North Carolina, this was a very unusual year [weather-wise]," Sharon Zeigler, marketing director for TVRH in Durham, told The Dodo. Sea turtles typically can be found in shallow waters where their food source (plants) grow. Since North Carolina had a warm winter, followed by a cold spell, the sudden temperature drop rendered them incapable of swimming to warmer waters. As a result, the turtles remained stuck in shallow water and eventually washed ashore, Zeigler said.
There's a name for this phenomenon - cold-stunning.