Wilmington, DE – With significant snowfall accumulating in Sussex County, Governor Markell has issued a Limited State of Emergency and Level 1 Driving Warning for Delaware’s southernmost county effective at 8:00 a.m. today. [See text of the Governor’s order below.]
According to state law, a “Level 1 Driving Warning” means that any person operating a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways must exercise extra caution. All nonessential employees, public and private, are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle unless there is a significant safety, health, or business reason to do so.
With snow accumulation forecasted throughout the state, the Governor also urges all Delawareans to drive cautiously as conditions can result in poor visibility and icy roads.
By issuing a State of Emergency, the Governor authorizes the National Guard, in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), to take precautionary or responsive actions and directs the Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to, if necessary, order bridge and road closures to protect public health and safety. After working through the night Thursday to limit ice on the roadways statewide during Friday’s light snowfall, DelDOT crews reported in Sussex County at 2:00 a.m. today to begin salting and plowing operations.
“Heavy winds and below freezing temperatures overnight and into this morning have made this a challenging storm and it is important for Delawareans in Sussex County to recognize the hazardous driving conditions resulting from this snowfall,” said Governor Markell. “I urge people in Sussex County to stay off the roads whenever possible to help keep everyone safe and to allow for DelDOT as well as emergency and health officials to do their jobs as effectively as possible. We will continue to monitor conditions in Sussex as well as in Kent and New Castle Counties, and consult with emergency management and transportation officials about when it is appropriate to issue updated orders.”
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Sussex County effective through 6:00 p.m., noting the potential for near-blizzard conditions near the beaches and for strong wind gusts up to 35 miles power to cause snow drifts that blow snow more than a foot. Snowfall of about 5-9 inches is possible, with highest amounts expected along the coast. A Winter Storm Warning is also in effect through 6:00 p.m. in Kent County, though less snowfall is anticipated. A Winter Storm Advisory is in effect in New Castle County until 4:00 p.m.
Real-time snowplow tracker and road condition information can be found through DelDOT app or by going to www.deldot.gov/map.
Full text of today’ Executive Order:
DECLARATION OF A LIMITED STATE OF EMERGENCY
AND LEVEL I DRIVING WARNING FOR SUSSEX COUNTY
DUE TO A SEVERE WINTER STORM
WHEREAS, a winter storm with projected snowfall accumulations of 6 or more inches is expected to occur in Sussex County beginning in the early morning of Saturday, January 7, 2017; and
WHEREAS, the projected snowfall is expected to be accompanied by heavy winds, which may result in hazardous driving conditions and may result in additional public safety responses;
NOW THEREFORE, I, JACK A. MARKELL, pursuant to Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code, do hereby declare a Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County, Delaware. This State of Emergency will be effective as of Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. EST, and shall continue until terminated as provided under state law. Along with such other actions authorized by Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code, I specifically direct and authorize:
1. All departments and agencies of the State of Delaware shall assist in response and recovery activities, as directed by and in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), in consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS), necessary in those areas affected by the storm.
2. As of Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. E.S.T., and until further notice, a Level 1 Driving Warning is in effect in Sussex County. Any person operating a motor vehicle shall exercise extra caution in the operation of that vehicle for the duration of the emergency. Nonessential employees, regardless of whether employed by a public or private entity, are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle for the duration of the emergency, unless there is a significant safety, health or business reason to do so. State and local officials are directed to remove abandoned vehicles from roads in affected areas at the expense of the vehicle owner.
3. I authorize the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and the Delaware State Police, in consultation with DEMA and the Secretary of DSHS, to order such bridge and road closures as necessary to protect the health and safety of the public.
4. The Delaware National Guard shall take precautionary or responsive actions directed by the Director of DEMA, in consultation with the Secretary of DSHS, upon request by local authorities.
5. I authorize the Director of DEMA, in consultation with the Secretary of DSHS and to the extent it is necessary, to activate the State Emergency Operations Plan and cooperate with federal entities in making applications, if necessary, for relief and assistance for those towns and communities adversely affected by the winter storm, pursuant to the State Emergency Operations Plan of the State of Delaware and any potentially applicable federal disaster or emergency relief laws, including, but not limited to, the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. The director of DEMA, or his designee, shall be the Governor’s Authorized Representative with respect to interaction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
6. I reserve the right to take or direct state or local authorities to take, without issuance of further written order, any other necessary actions authorized by Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code to respond to this emergency.
APPROVED this 7th day of January, 2017, at 6:45 a.m.
Built by the Government Information Center