The Rhode Island Department of Health recommends closing three beaches for swimming ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Beaches include the Surfers Rock area of Second Beach in Middletown, Sandy Point Beach in Portsmouth and Conicut Point Beach in Warwick.
The health department recommended closing due to high bacterial levels in the water.
The Department of Health also recommended closing Scarborough State Beach-South in Narragansett on Thursday, but recommended reopening on Friday afternoon.
Statistics from the Department of Health’s website show that the recent closures mean the state will lose about 160 days of beaches before the recommended closures this summer. This is the highest number since 2009 when 230 beaches were lost, but the state is now monitoring more beaches, according to the Ministry of Health.
This is the second year the Department of Health has monitored freshwater beaches, rather than relying on beach managers to monitor water quality, according to Department of Health spokeswoman Annemarie Beardsworth. Most of the recommended closures of 100 days or more this year were for Tamsui beaches, she said.
The state monitors beach water quality from Memorial Day to Labor Day. “Historically, beach closures in Rhode Island have been closely linked to precipitation from stormwater runoff,” the Department of Health said on its website.
Drought hit the state this year, with just 1.69 inches of precipitation in August (measured at Rhode Island TF Green International Airport), nearly 2 inches below the normal 3.59 inches.
“We’ve learned that dry weather doesn’t improve the quality of freshwater beaches like it does saltwater beaches,” Bearsworth said. In the summer, the recommended closure required 98 days of beaches in both saltwater and freshwater.
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For many, Labor Day weekend is the last chance of summer at the beach, and according to the National Weather Service’s forecast for Narragansett, the weather will cooperate with beachgoers for at least part of the weekend.
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Mostly sunny skies and high temperatures near 76 degrees are expected on Saturday. Sunday will be hot, with highs nearing 81 degrees Celsius, but showers and thunderstorms are possible. Monday will be partly cloudy with temperatures in the 70s and a chance of showers.
Health officials continue to monitor the beach and say conditions may change. For up-to-date beach information, call the Department of Health’s beach phone line at 401-222-2751.
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