Westport Officials: Storm Chasers Will Be Denied Access to Beaches, Including Horseneck
If you thought you'd head to the beaches of Westport to check out the potential hurricane that will likely hit the SouthCoast this weekend, think again.
This morning, the Westport Fire Department notified residents along East Beach that if the hurricane watch for what is currently Tropical Storm Henri is upgraded to a warning, that they must evacuate their properties and secure their lots to prevent injury and property damage.
East Beach Road has a history of suffering significant flooding and damage from prior storms. In August of 2011, Tropical Storm Irene caused East Beach Road asphalt to be completely torn up, leaving the road impassable. This storm is slated to hit Southern New England both during the 8 p.m. high tide and during a moon tide, creating an expected three-to-five-foot storm surge.
Deputy Baldwin also told WBSM that Horseneck Beach State Reservation Campground, a Department of Conservation and Recreation property, has plans in place to evacuate beginning Saturday morning. Campers who are too far from home to return will be allowed to stay in the south lot of Westport High School. The campgrounds will remain closed through Monday so staff can assess damage to the sites and allow campers back in once safe.
All 800 acres of the Horseneck Beach State Reservations will also be closed on Sunday. There is no official decision that has been made about the beach being open on Monday, but it is advised that people stay away from the area until staff have a chance to assess damage and clear dangerous debris.
If the storm surge begins to toss debris onto the roads, primarily East Beach Road, the Westport Police Department will make a decision to close the roads for safety.
People can anticipate road closures to the Westport Point, including Horseneck Beach and Gooseberry Island, as well as the East Beach area. Traffic will be limited to essential traffic only with possible police presence at both East Beach Road the the Westport’s Fontaine Bridge and the end of Route 88. Access will be denied to anyone trying to get through who is not essential personnel or a resident of the area During storms, many people will try to visit the shore to watch the waves from the storm surge.
There is no official confirmation from the town of Westport on the closures of Town Beach and Cherry & Webb Beach at this time. Both will be inaccessible to the public if above road closures take effect.