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Nor’easter significantly damages oceanfront bar in Westerly

South County

WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) — The owners of an oceanfront bar in Westerly were left picking up the pieces Tuesday after a nor’easter wreaked havoc on their business.

Windjammer Surf Bar, which is located along Misquamicut State Beach, fell victim to the high tide and rough surf caused by Monday’s storm.

Surveillance cameras outside the bar captured wave after wave crashing into the business, knocking down patio furniture and causing significant damage to their outdoor dining set up.

Owner Amy Trefes said she watched the footage from home. The waves ended up crashing through the doors and into the bar. Their outdoor performance stage was also nearly swept out to sea.

“This is just a pain in the butt to have to clean up,” she said, adding that she and a few others spent Tuesday morning boarding up the doors and windows to prevent further damage.

“We came down and discovered the mess and we called the few troops we had available and stopped the ocean from coming into the building,” she said.

Trefes, who owns the business with her husband, said since their business is located just feet away from the shoreline, they’re no strangers storm damage.

While they have hurricane blinds to protect the business from storm surges, she said they were no match for Monday night’s waves.

“You can see it on the security camera footage. When the water hits, it just explodes inside,” she said.

Now Trefes and her husband are in the process of repairing the damage, which is being made all the more difficult due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“No one is looking for expenses and damages like this,” she said. “We do have a very sizable flood insurance policy that we hope is going to cover most of this. Do we need the extra expenses right now? Of course not. But we’ve had a good year with tons of support from the local community.”

Trefes said the bar is usually closed in February, but they decided to open on weekends for the locals, who have continuously supported them throughout the pandemic.

Several locals have already reached out to her asking how they can help, and she said one person even showed up unannounced Tuesday ready to help them begin cleaning up.

While they’ll be closed this weekend to begin making repairs, Trefes said they hope to be back up and running by Valentine’s Day.

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