Tropical Storm Ida's wallop leaves Assateague a mess

By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Virginia half of Assateague Island has been closed because of damage from Tropical Storm Ida, which downed trees, buried parking lots in sand and washed thousands of tires onto the beach last week, federal officials said.

The storm brought heavy rains and a strong tidal surge, which washed over the entire barrier island in places, said Louis Hinds, manager of the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, which oversees the Virginia half.

The famous Chincoteague ponies retreated to high ground, Hinds said.

Hinds said the main visitor center for the wildlife refuge would probably reopen Wednesday.

Hinds said the tires were on the ocean floor to form an artificial reef.

He said the refuge was looking for "strapping folks" to volunteer for cleanup by calling the refuge at 757-336-6122.

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