MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AUGUST 20, 2021) – Middletown’s beaches will close Saturday, Aug. 21 through Monday, Aug. 23 due to Tropical Storm Henri.

After forecasts for the storm took a turn for the worse overnight, Town officials decided to shut down Second and Third beaches in advance of Henri. Besides safety concerns, the main reason for the move was because it takes at least a day of work to prepare for weather events and clean up afterwards.

According to the latest information, Henri is expected to make his presence known Saturday between noon and 2 p.m.  The worst of the storm is expected to pass over the area Sunday morning from 4-8, potentially bringing winds up to 70 mph, four plus inches of rain and a storm surge of three to five feet.

“Based on everything we’re hearing, we have to shut it down,” Town Administrator Shawn J. Brown said. “The situation is going to deteriorate tomorrow and when you’re talking about the amount of surf and higher than normal tides, it just makes sense.”

Parking at the beaches will be restricted starting Saturday at 5 a.m.

“With any storm like this, if we can avoid having to service an area, we should eliminate it,” Brown said. “Having an area accessible that presents problems for us historically creates a lot of unnecessary risk for the public and our people. Some people don’t really think about how difficult it is to deal with that and the weather too.”

Tracking Henri since the start of the week, Town officials met Thursday afternoon to brief where things stood. This morning, the group gathered again in the conference room in Town Hall to go over the latest information.

Leading the meeting on site, Police Chief William Kewer said the situation took a turn for the worse overnight based on current data.

As a result of forecasts and related events, the Town is taking the following steps in response to Henri:

  • Ordering a mandatory evacuation of everyone from the Second Beach Family Campground no later than Saturday by 3 p.m.
  • Recommending boaters in the Town’s mooring field off Third Beach secure or remove their vessels from the water.
  • Blocking off the usual low-lying areas by the beaches and other locations.
  • Canceling the Monday night family concert at Second Beach due to anticipated damage and removal of the stage.
  • Leaving the beaches open today, Friday, Aug. 20, but closing Second and Third beaches Saturday, Aug. 21 through Monday, Aug. 23. Town staff will assess the situation and make changes as needed.
  • Making preparations for the emergency shelter at Gaudet Middle School and Emergency Operations Center in case they need to be put into use. At this point, both facilities have not been activated.
  • Delaying Town trash & recycling pickup by one day the week of Aug. 23 for all “pay-as-you-throw” customers, so that collection will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 24 instead of Monday.
  • Asking all contractors on current jobs to secure their worksites so debris and materials don’t cause issues.
  • Postponing the Bulk Waste Amnesty Day Saturday, Aug. 21 at Gaudet Middle School to Saturday, Sept. 25 at Second Beach.
  • Adding a new category to the Town’s SeeClickFix work order system for those impacted by storm damage. For more information, visit https://mdl.town/SeeClickFix online.
  • Restricting parking at the beaches starting Saturday at 5 a.m.
  • Reminding residents and visitors to steer clear of any downed wires and asking they call 911 with such reports.

“It’s too bad we’re going to miss out at the beach on what looks like part of a nice day tomorrow (Saturday), but it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Kewer said. “It takes a whole day for us to clear everything out before a storm like this.”

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