Date Posted: Friday, January 22nd, 2016
(Smyrna) – The Delaware Emergency Operations Center was activated at 4:00pm, today, Friday, January 22, 2016. Governor Jack Markell declared a State of Emergency for Delaware effective at 5:00pm today, with Level 1 driving restrictions effective Saturday, January 23 at 12:00 am.
Level 1 driving restrictions means that all persons operating a motor vehicle when a Level 1 Driving Warning has been activated shall exercise extra caution in the operation of their motor vehicle. Non-essential personnel, regardless of whether employed by a public or private entity, are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle on public roadways when a Level 1 Driving Warning has been activated, unless there is a significant health, safety or business necessity reason for doing so.
A Blizzard Warning is in effect for Kent and Sussex Counties, while Winter Weather Warning is in effect for Sussex County.
Some snow has been reported in areas of Kent and Sussex Counties, with a dusting of snow showing up on grassy areas and roads from Dover south into Sussex County. Snow is more visible in the central and western portions of Sussex County.
The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) has been brining roadways across the state since Wednesday and normal snow removal operations are underway.
All public school activities in the state for this evening and weekend, such as sporting events, have been postponed.
The Delaware National Guard has been pre-positioning personnel and vehicles throughout the state, ready to provide assistance where needed.
Delaware Transit Corporation expects to continue normal service this evening until the end of regularly scheduled service in each county. However, there will be some impacts tomorrow (Saturday). All fixed route and intercounty service is suspended, as is paratransit service. SEPTA has announced that Saturday service will not operate in Delaware. For updated information as the storm continues, Check Alerts on www.DartFirstState.com.
There are no reported power outages, however high winds and wet snow make the possibility of downed electric and other utility lines a concern for the weekend.
A major area of concern along coastal areas is the potential for flooding. A Coastal Flood Warning remains in effect from 4 pm Saturday until 12noon Sunday. Widespread major coastal flooding is expected tomorrow morning with moderate coastal flooding anticipated from tomorrow night (Saturday night) into Sunday morning. The coastal flooding is expected to last through three consecutive high tide cycles. Water will be pushed up against the coast and into back bays and estuaries. High tide on the Delaware oceanfront will occur between 6:30 and 7:30am Saturday morning, between 7:00 and 8:00pm Saturday evening, and between 7:00 and 8:00am Sunday morning. High tide on back bays and the Delaware Bay will occur later than along the ocean. Wave heights in near-shore waters over the weekend are forecast to build as high as 15 to 20 feet, with wave heights on the Delaware Bay as high as 4 to 8 feet. The National Weather Service says that water levels are currently forecast to approach the Top 5 recorded levels in Lewes and Cape May, NJ. Roadway flooding is expected, along with moderate property damage, with significant beach erosion. People living in flood-prone areas should consider the possibility of relocating during the storm.
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