superstorm Sandy

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Just this week, the U.S. Senate went on the record that climate change exists. Local and state officials in Rhode Island haven’t been waiting around to take the lead from Washington. They not only know climate change is real, but they’re also planning for its impacts. As part of our Battle With The Sea series, Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza went on a tour with the Environmental Protection Agency’s northeast director to see how plans are in place.


The governor's name is misspelled on a new plaque celebrating Newport's historic Cliff Walk.  The plaque was unveiled during a ceremony Wednesday marking the reopening of the Cliff Walk after major repairs.

The walk’s three and a half miles have been opening in increments ever since it was damaged by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The largest portion, two miles long, has now reopened. A smaller, less-traveled part will remain closed, likely reopening in mid-July. Newport received 5 million dollars in state and federal funds to make the repairs.

Rhode Island is receiving more federal funding to continue cleanup efforts started after Superstorm Sandy. The money will also be used to prepare the state for future storms and the effects climate change.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The Town of Westerly has secured more than $1 million in grants to dredge Winnepaug Pond in Misquamicut. 

Winnepaug Pond, behind Misquamicut Beach, has built up a lot of sediment over the course of 50 years or more, said Amy Grzybowski, Westerly’s director of planning, code enforcement, and grant administration. She said the town has wanted to dredge the pond for more than 10 years. 

Then, Superstorm Sandy dumped more sand, making it more shallow and warm.


The southernmost section of the Cliff Walk that was damaged last year by Superstorm Sandy is expected to reopen to the public this week.

The three-and-a-half mile trail was badly damaged in the storm. Cliff Walk Commission Chairman Robert B. Power said repairs will cost $3.5 million.

"It eroded a lot of the walkway near Ruggles Avenue which caused some of the sidewalk to cave in. It took a chunk of the actual stone out at Doris Duke’s estate which we had to go back and fill in. It tore a lot of the fencing behind Miramar," said Powers.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Scores of workers who helped clean up after Superstorm Sandy were officially thanked Friday.

The Department of Labor and Training said it had $1.5 million in federal aid and hired about 98 workers to help clean up after the storm. They cleared debris from Fort Adams State Park, the East Bay bike path and worked around Misquamicut Beach to get it ready for the Memorial Day opening of the summer season.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

It was one year ago that Superstorm Sandy slammed onto the Rhode Island coast. The storm raked across Misquamicut Beach, destroying businesses and dumping tons of sand onto Atlantic Avenue. 



The streets are quiet in Misquamicut Beach, mostly the ocean roar and sounds of construction fill the air. Many of the motels and restaurants are closed for the season. But the New Land Motel and Apartments is open. Manager Rinette

Cliff Walk Repairs On Hold As Bid Is Examined

Sep 24, 2013

Repairs to the Cliff Walk in Newport destroyed by Superstorm Sandy are on hold as the Department of Transportation is examining an unusually low bid that has been submitted.

The bid for repairs came at 3 million dollars; about 2 million less than most of the others.

The low amount raised eyebrows, said city official Robert Power, who was worried about the quality of the work.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

A White House panel says coastal communities damaged by Hurricane Sandy should prepare for future storms due to rising sea levels.

The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding task force has released a list of recommendations to help communities reduce future damage.

The Presidential task force report says that towns and cities near the coastline need to spend money now in order to avoid costly damage later.

That’s because climate change and rising sea levels are increasing the threat of extreme storms.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Members of President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy taskforce will be in Rhode Island Monday touring coastal areas hit by last year’s storm.  Westerly officials will make their case for more financial help.

The south coast took a beating, with 150 homes and 30 businesses damaged just in Westerly. Town Manager Steven Hartford says funding is needed to rebuild, elevate and drain Atlantic Avenue, which was severely flooded during Sandy. He said Rhode Island may not have grabbed headlines during the storm, but it needs help too.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

The town of Westerly is close to fulfilling its promise to rebuild the Misquamicut Beach area by Memorial Day.  The town has made great strides since Superstorm Sandy left a path of destruction last fall.

It’s not perfect yet, but Misquamicut Beach looks a lot better than it did six-and-a-half months ago. Tons of sand the storm dumped on Atlantic Avenue have been put back on the beach, sand dunes have been restored and shopkeepers are making repairs. Jennifer Cordier of Hartford, Connecticut visited the beach Sunday and was pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feb 20, 2013

This is the 10th anniversary of the Station Nightclub fire.  Southwest RI looks to make repairs by the summer tourist season.  These stories and more on the RIPR Morning News Podcast.

Plus Reporter Flo Jonic recalls her experiences covering the Station Nightclub fire. 

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

The Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber is working to raise $400,000 to make sure area businesses damaged by Superstorm Sandy are up and running by Memorial Day.  

Chamber executive director Lisa Konicki says the storm seriously damaged some 29 businesses, and most of them have yet to see a dime from their insurance companies.

Funds raised by the chamber will help businesses remove sand, repair damage and replace inventory before the tourist start arriving.

Last call for SuperStorm Sandy aid

Feb 11, 2013
RIPR file

This Wednesday is the deadline for two forms of help for damage caused by Super Storm Sandy.   
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration are taking applications for aid and low-interest loans until midnight on the 13th.  

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Barrington High School students and faculty are raising money to help a high school on Staten Island in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. So far, they’ve raised thousands of dollars.