Governor Markell Issues State of Emergency for Winter Storm
Declaration Includes Level 1 Driving Warning; Driving Discouraged and Extra Caution Encouraged
Wilmington, DE – With a severe winter storm generating significant snowfall throughout Delaware, Governor Jack Markell has declared a State of Emergency that includes a statewide “Level 1 Driving Warning,” effective immediately. See text below.
According to state law, a “Level 1 Driving Warning” means that any person operating a motor vehicle when a Level 1 Driving Warning has been activated shall exercise extra caution in the operation of their motor vehicle. Nonessential employees, regardless of whether employed by a public or private entity, are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle on the State’s roadways when a Level 1 Driving Warning has been activated, unless there is a significant safety, health or business reason to do so.
“We strongly encourage drivers who do not need to travel to delay or refrain from being on the road,” said Governor Markell. “Conditions have deteriorated, and it is safer not to drive if you don’t have to. DelDOT crews are continuing to work on clearing roads and we will continue to evaluate conditions.”
In addition to instituting a Level 1 Driving Warning, the State of Emergency declaration:
- Directs state agencies to assist in response activities, as directed by the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA).
- Authorizes the Delaware National Guard to assist local authorities with any “precautionary or responsive actions,” if so directed by the DEMA Director in consultation with the Secretary of Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS).
- Authorizes DelDOT and the State Police, in consultation with DEMA and DSHS, to order road and bridge closures if necessary to protect the health and safety of the public.
DART has made service changes because of the weather, in its updated schedule.
DECLARATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY
AND LEVEL I DRIVING WARNING
DUE TO A SEVERE WINTER STORM
WHEREAS, a severe winter storm is generating and will continue to generate significant snowfall accumulations in the State of Delaware; and
WHEREAS, the severe winter storm includes heavy snowfall and gusting winds, resulting in significantly decreased visibility, snow drifts and other road hazards that make driving dangerous and creating potentially life-threatening conditions; and
WHEREAS, the predicted weather conditions will likely continue to create dangerous and potentially life-threatening road 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 State of Emergency for the State of Delaware. This State of Emergency will be effective as of January 21, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. E.S.T., and shall continue until terminated as provided under state law. The nature of the emergency is heavy snowfall and potentially high winds. Along with such other actions authorized by Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code, I specifically direct and authorize:
- 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.
- As of January 21, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. E.S.T., and until further notice, a Level 1 Driving Warning is in effect. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 21st day of January, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.