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City closes Rockaway beach as hurricane approaches

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Tthe Parks Department announced Friday it would close Rockaway Beach, along with a number of beaches in Brooklyn and Staten Island, because of the projected approach of Hurricane Bill.

Officials said the city’s public pools and spray showers would remain open to afford residents opportunities to cool off.

The National Weather Service has advised that although Hurricane Bill is hundreds of miles off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean, beaches along the East Coast were beginning to see its effects Friday, with reports of waves up to 8 feet high, Parks officials said.

“As weather conditions are changing quickly, it is essential that people not enter the water at closed beaches,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “As always, beachgoers must obey the instructions of lifeguards, Police and other Parks and security personnel.”

Impacts from Hurricane Bill were anticipated to include heavy surf, rip currents, coastal erosion, beach-over washes and minor coastal flooding, officials said. The public can call 311 for information about beach closures and is advised to adhere to all rules and instructions at the beaches.

Hurricane Bill was a Category 3 Hurricane as of Friday morning, meaning it was a major storm with sustained winds betw. The core of Hurricane Bill was expected to pass over the open waters between Bermuda and the east coast of the United States early Saturday.

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