Date Posted: Saturday, January 23rd, 2016
(Smyrna) – Governor Jack Markell issued Level 2 Driving Restrictions for New Castle and Kent Counties at 8:00am this morning, while continuing the Level 1 driving restrictions in Sussex County. Under Level 2 restrictions, no person shall operate a motor vehicle on a Delaware roadway, unless such person is considered “essential personnel” within the meaning of Delaware law. Such personnel include emergency workers, individuals maintaining or repairing public utilities, healthcare providers including hospital staff, snow removal equipment operators, food and fuel delivery personnel, and employees of any industry, company or organization that has applied for and been granted a waiver from the driving restriction, including businesses with pressing continuity and operational issues.. When a Level 1 Driving Warning is in place, non-essential personnel, regardless of whether employed by a public or private entity, are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle on public roadways, unless there is a significant health, safety or business necessity reason for doing so.
The Blizzard Warning continues for New Castle and Kent Counties until 6:00am Sunday. Total accumulations of 15-20 inches of snow are expected in New Castle County, while Kent County is also forecast to receive 16-24 inches of snow, with 12-18 inches near the shore. A Winter Weather Warning remains in effect until 6am Sunday for Sussex County with an expected accumulation of 12-18 inches inland, and 4-8 inches at the Delaware beaches. Snow will continue heavy at times during the day Saturday in New Castle County before tapering off late tonight. Kent and Sussex Counties should see heavy snow at times today, before changing over to periods of sleet and some rain, quickly changing back to all snow before tapering off Sunday morning.
A Coastal Flood Warning remains in effect until noon Sunday, for Kent and Sussex Counties. Widespread major coastal flooding is expected, while major flooding is likely in some areas, especially Sussex County. The coastal flooding will last for three consecutive high tide cycles, pushing water up against the coast and into back bays and estuaries.
The next high tides on the Delaware oceanfront will occur etween 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 18 to 23 feet through this evening before slowly subsiding prior to the morning high tide period, with wave heights on the Delaware Bay as high as 4 to 8 feet. Some roadway flooding is expected, along with moderate property damage, and significant beach erosion. People living in flood-prone areas should be prepared for rising water levels and to take appropriate action to protect lives and property.
Roadways across the state are snow covered, and drifting snow has created some difficulties in keeping plowed roads open. DelDOT trucks are plowing and laying salt on major roads, bridges and toll plazas. Residents can track the progress of DelDOT plows by watching the snowplow tracker, available at deldot.gov, or on the DelDOT app on a smart phone.
Route 1 between Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach is closed due to flooding. DelDOT also reports that the New Road Bridge near Canary Creek Drive near Lewes is closed to due high water completely covering the bridge. The New Road Bridge will remain closed until DelDOT conducts an inspection of the span, after the water recedes. Flooding is reported in the Bowers Beach as well as the Long Neck and Oak Orchard areas/
The speed limit on I495 has been reduced to 45 MPH. Traffic accidents have been reported statewide, mostly property damage, and there are reports of a few disabled vehicles. Drifting snow continues to be a problem.
Delaware Transit Corporation fixed route and intercounty service is suspended Saturday, as is paratransit service. There will be no SEPTA Saturday service operating in Delaware. AMTRAK is running a modified schedule in the northeast, as the winter storm slams multiple states.
No shelters have been opened at this time. The Delaware National Guard has pre-positioned personnel and vehicles throughout the state to provide assistance where needed.
There are just over 3500 power outages currently statewide. Most are in Delmarva Power serviced areas of Sussex County. High winds and wet snow make the possibility of more downed electric and other utility lines a concern for the weekend.
Snowfall accumulations vary across the state, with the highest reported at 12.5 inches of snow in Port Penn, and 10.1 inches of snow in the town of New Castle. Other high amounts include .8 inches at Woodside, 10.4 inches at West Dover, with the lowest at Lewes where gauges measured 2.4 inches of snow.
Other snow amounts: in New Castle County, 9.8 inches at Prices Corner, 8.6 at Glasgow, 8.5 at White Clay Creek, 7.9 at Hockessin, 7.7 in Talleyville, 7.6 at Greenville, and 7.2 in Smyrna, 7.1 in Newark, 6.1 at Claymont, and 5.1 at Blackbird. Kent County has 8.0 inches of snow in Dover, 7.5 in Frederica, and 6.6 in Harrington. Sussex County has 7.4 inches of snow in Laurel, 6.1 in Ellendale, 4.3 inches at Stockley 4.4 inches in Bridgeville, and 4.0 inches in Seaford.
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