Storm Report #5 Saturday, January 23, 2016 (5:30pm)

Date Posted: Saturday, January 23rd, 2016
Categories:  DEMA

(Smyrna) – New Castle and Kent Counties remain under the Level 2 Driving Restrictions issued at 8:00am this morning by Governor Jack Markell, while the Level 1 driving restrictions continue for 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 forecast to receive 14-20 inches of snow, with 8-14 inches closer to the coast.  A Winter Weather Warning remains in effect until 6am Sunday for Sussex County with an expected accumulation of 8-15 inches inland, and 4-8 inches at the Delaware beaches.  Snow in New Castle County will taper off late tonight.  Kent County should see the snow taper off around midnight, while Sussex County will experience a mix of snow, sleet, and rain, then all snow before it tapers off just after midnight.

A Coastal Flood Advisory will be in effect in New Castle County from 9:00am until 1:00pm Sunday.  A Coastal Flood Warning remains in effect until noon Sunday for Kent and Sussex Counties.  Moderate to major coastal flooding is expected tonight and possibly again Sunday morning. The major flooding experienced this morning in Sussex County is not expected to occur again.  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 between 8:00 and 9:00pm 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 22 feet this evening then subsiding slowly for the morning high tide cycle.  Wave heights on the Delaware Bay will reach as high as 4 to 8 feet tonight and Sunday.               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.

DelDOT continues to work to clear roads.  Major roads in New Castle County are clear but high winds and drifting snow continue to re-cover road surfaces drifts.  Secondary roads in New Castle County still have snow on them; some in Kent County are extremely drifted, and re-covered with snow in Sussex County, particularly inland.

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.  Pilottown Road at the end of the Coast Guard station, and the Canal Bridge in Lewes are also closed.  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 have been reports of scattered disabled vehicles.  Drifting snow continues to be a problem.

Delaware Transit Corporation fixed route and intercounty and paratramsot service was suspended Saturday.  SEPTA suspended Saturday service operating in Delaware.  AMTRAK ran a modified schedule in the northeast, as the winter storm slammed into multiple states.

Only one shelter has opened – at Sussex Central High School near Georgetown.  Delaware Division of Public Health officials remind people evacuated from the flooding that will be allowed to bring their pets and companions animals, including cats, dogs, and other small animals to the shelter.   Pet food, water, medicines, cat litter, and bedding should be brought along with the animal.  Public Health Office of Animal Welfare volunteers will be staffing the shelter to help with the animal boarding and providing of basic needs.

Delaware National Guard positioned personnel and vehicles throughout the state to provide assistance where needed.

There are just fewer than 1300 power outages currently statewide, mostly in Sussex County.   High winds and wet snow continue to present 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 15.5 inches of snow in Woodside, 12.8 inches of snow in West Dover, and 12.5 at Port Penn, with the lowest at Lewes where gauges measured 2.4 inches of snow.

Other snow amounts: in New Castle County: 11.0 at New Castle, 10.8 at White Clay Creek, 10.7 inches at Prices Corner, 9.6 at Greenville, 9.6 at Hockessin, 8.6 at Glasgow, 8.5 in Smyrna, 8.1 in Talleyville, and 8.0 in Newark, 7.8 at Claymont, and 5.6 at Blackbird.  Kent County has 9.3 inches of snow in Dover, 9.0 in Harrington, and 7.9 in Frederica.  Sussex County has 7.4 inches of snow in Laurel, 6.5 in Ellendale, 4.9 inches in Bridgeville, 4.3 inches at Stockley and 4.0 inches in Seaford and Selbyville.



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