Hurricane season: beach closures in 2017 return for storm season

From top, 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins (center red), followed by Hurricane Christy, as seen from the International Space Station on Aug. 9, 2017. Christie Flatley / NASA via AP

Beaches that were closed early by Hurricane Irma last year are reopening Tuesday after being secured, cleared of trees and debris and purged with sand.

The barrier islands of the British Virgin Islands were closed for the first time since Irma ravaged the area Oct. 10-11, 2017. The U.S. Virgin Islands closed early on Monday.

But authorities say the closing and emptying is taking place under safe conditions and that the public remains welcome to visit.

Hurricane Gonzalo passed by the U.S. Virgin Islands on Tuesday, strengthening to a Category 2 storm and bypassing St. Thomas and St. John.

About 1,300 homes in the U.S. Virgin Islands suffered storm damage, including roofs and electrical poles, while others lost water service. But the islands generally avoided major damage.

Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1. NOAA has predicted seven to nine hurricanes. The average is 12 storms and six hurricanes.

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