Final Storm Update – Thursday Afternoon March 7

(Smyrna) The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) stood down its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as of 12noon today, as the winter storm that blew its way through Delaware yesterday and this morning has moved out of the state, leaving behind minimal damage. Some areas of the coast are still experiencing flood conditions, and officials at the National Weather Service say that continuing strong winds and tides could cause flooding to continue until at least Saturday.

Weather forecasts continue to include winds at 15 to 20 MPH, with stronger gusts, especially along the shore.  More precipitation may occur but no accumulation of snow is expected. Temperatures will rise over the weekend with daytime highs in the 50s.  A Coastal Flood Warning remains in for Kent and Sussex Counties until 9am Friday.

There are still some road closures to report:

Kent County:

Route 9 north of Hay Point Landing Road, Closed due to flooding

Cypress Branch Road at branch crossing, Closed due to flooding

Port Mahon Rd Closed due to flooding

South Market St Frederica Closed due to flooding

 

Sussex County:

Primehook Road is closed due to flooding
Back Bay Cove Rd Gate is closed due to flooding

Fowler Beach Road is closed due to flooding

Route 1 is closed in both directions between Bethany Beach & Dewey Beach due to flooding

Rd 297 at the Fire House closed due to flooding

Road 297 at Chief Clark Road is closed due to flooding

River Road at both ends of Chief Clark Rd and Shorts Marine is closed due to flooding

Broadkill Road is closed due to flooding

New Road is closed due to flooding

 


Storm Status Update – Thursday Morning March 7

(Smyrna) The remnants of a winter storm made its way through Delaware during the night with small amounts of precipitation but continued winds.  Some neighboring states were hit hard with varying amounts of snow, but higher temperatures limited the bulk of the precipitation in Delaware to rain.

Snow did not materialize in Delaware, so problems in the state centered on wind and flooding.  Rivers appear to be swollen in but are not yet at flood stage.  While tidal gauges are indicating high levels of water at coastal locations, only two of the gauges exceed critical levels: Indian River at Rosedale Beach, and Rehoboth Bay at Dewey Beach.  The critical stage is achieved when the water reaches a height at which coastal flooding is likely to occur.

Winds continued strong overnight but as of 5am Thursday morning, all wind advisories had expired or been cancelled.  A Coastal Flood Warning remains in effect until 8am this morning for Kent and Sussex Counties.  The warning covers the areas along the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent back bays, and the Delaware Bay and tidal tributaries.

The Indian River School District will open two hours late.  All other school districts across the state are operating normally on Thursday.

Roads in Delaware are wet, but above-freezing air and road surface temperatures prevented icing.  Drivers should still be cautious in the morning commute and watch out for water ponding on roadways, flooded roads, or debris being blown around by winds that continue in the 20 to 30 mile per hour range, with gusts up to 50 MPH.  The speed limit on Interstate 95 is reduced to 55 MPH, and on the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the speed limit is down to 50 MPH.

Shortly before 4am, a total of 602 power outages were reported statewide.  60% were in New Castle County, and the remainder in Sussex County.  Crews from Delmarva Power and the Delaware Electric Cooperative are working to restore power to affected areas.

There are 15 road closures to report this morning in Delaware:

New Castle County:
Bayview Rd & Silver Run Rd is closed due to Flooding

Old State Road at causeway is closed due to Flooding
Kent County:

Route 9 north of Hay Point Landing Road, Closed due to Flooding

Route 9 between South Little Creek Road and the fire house, Closed due to Flooding

Cypress Branch Road at branch crossing, Closed due to Flooding

Ponderosa Road at Plain Dealing Road, Closed due to Flooding

Port Mahon Rd Closed due to Flooding

 

Sussex County:

Primehook Road is closed due to Flooding
Back Bay Cove Rd Gate is closed due to Flooding

Fowler Beach Road is closed due to Flooding

Route 1 closed between Bethany Beach & Dewey Beach is closed due to Flooding

Road 297 at Chief Clark Road is closed due to Flooding

River Road at both ends of Chief Clark Rd and Shorts Marine is closed due to Flooding

Broadkill Road is closed due to Flooding

New Road is closed due to Flooding

 


Storm Status Update – Wednesday Evening March 6

(Smyrna) The storm that dumped heavy amounts of snow in some nearby states roared into Delaware today, bringing rain that was heavy at time, and high winds.  The combination of precipitation, wind, and tides brought some flooding to coastal areas of the state.

As early as Tuesday afternoon, state and county emergency agencies were urging residents in areas that experience flooding during coastal storms to begin moving to higher ground.  The major concern continues to be flooding and high winds.  National Weather Service forecasters warn that some snow could make its way into Delaware Wednesday night, and continue as a mix of snow and rain early Thursday, then changing to rain by afternoon.

There is still strong concern about the high winds that will continue in the area, as well as possible flooding along the Atlantic coast, Delaware Bay and in back bay communities.  A Coastal Flood Warning remains in effect until 8am Thursday for Kent and Sussex Counties, with a Winter Weather Advisory posted until 6am Thursday in New Castle and Kent Counties. And a Wind Advisory continues until midnight Wednesday night in Kent and Sussex Counties.

The Charter School of Wilmington was closed on Wednesday, and the Cape Henlopen, Indian River, and Sussex Tech school districts dismissed students early. As many as nine school districts across the state cancelled afternoon and evening activities.

A small number of roads in all three counties were closed due to flooding, most notably Route 1 between Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach was closed in both directions after waves breached a dune north of the Indian River Inlet Bridge and covered the roadway with water.  Primehook Road was closed for a short period Wednesday morning when water made the road impassable.  An alternate route in and out of Prime Hook was closed at 7pm.  Afternoon departures on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry were cancelled.  In Maryland, officials closed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge briefly Wednesday afternoon due to high winds, but later re-opened it to passenger vehicles only.  Trucks and other large vehicles are being re-routed.

By late afternoon (5pm), under 6,300 power outages were reported across the state, most of which were in Sussex County.  Crews from Delmarva Power and the Delaware Electric Cooperative are working to restore power to affected areas.

Kent and Sussex Counties activated their Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) at 4pm.  The state EOC was activated at 6pm, and is staffed by Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) personnel and select representatives from other agencies.

 


Residents of Flood-Prone Areas Advised to Move to Safer Areas

(Smyrna) Officials at the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), along with officials in New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties, continue to strongly urge residents in flood-prone areas of the state to make a move to relocate to safer areas inland before tides and flooding cut off exit routes.

Evacuations have not been ordered, but residents in areas that experience flooding during coastal storms should begin moving to higher ground while exit routes are open and before the most severe storm conditions occur.  Those areas are almost certain to experience flooding over the next 24 hours, and conditions during the height of the storm could make the process of leaving flooded areas dangerous or impossible.

The National Weather Service has already posted Wind Advisories for Kent and Sussex Counties, Coastal Flood Warnings for Kent and Sussex Counties. Winter Weather Advisories are in place for New Castle and Kent Counties as well, with heavy precipitation in the form of rain, changing to snow later in the day, along with high winds and strong gusts. Tidal flooding is expected.

Coastal communities in Sussex County along the Delaware Bay, including Prime Hook and Broadkill Beach, along inland bays in areas such as Angola and Oak Orchard are a primary concern, and access issues have already been experienced in the Prime Hook area.  Residents in those areas should relocate before the storm arrives.  Kent County residents of Big Stone Beach, Bennetts Park, South Bowers Beach, Bowers Beach, Kitts Hummock, Pickering Beach, and Woodland Beach should move to safer areas before the storm intensifies later today and makes movement difficult or dangerous.

New Castle County residents of areas such as Bay View Beach, Augustine Beach, Delaware City and the City of New Castle where flooding has previously been experienced, should be alert to conditions and ready to move as well.

 


Pending Winter Storm Will Bring Coastal Flooding

(Smyrna) – A pending winter storm that is expected to arrive in Delaware on Tuesday evening and impact the state as late as Thursday, will bring heavy precipitation and flooding.  Officials at the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) join with officials in New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties in advising residents in flood-prone communities to be aware of potential flooding, and consider relocating in advance of the storm’s arrival.

No evacuations have been ordered, however residents in areas of Kent and Sussex Counties that experience flooding during coastal storms should consider moving to higher ground prior to the arrival of possible snowfall, heavy rains, and extremely high winds.  Those areas are almost certain to experience flooding during the pending weather event, and conditions during the height of the storm could make the process of leaving flooded areas dangerous or impossible.

The National Weather Service has already posted High Wind, Coastal Flood, and Winter Storm Watches, with heavy precipitation in the form of rain, snow, or a combination of both, and winds 25 MPH to 35 MPH, with gusts up to 55 MPH. Wind-swollen tides in some areas could reach as much as seven feet above mean lower low water.  Forecasters say the flooding from this storm could be comparable to that experienced during Hurricanes Irene or Sandy.

Of primary concern are the coastal communities in Sussex County along the Delaware Bay, including Prime Hook and Broadkill Beach, along inland bays in areas such as Angola and Oak Orchard.  Residents in those areas should be prepared to relocate before the storm arrives.  Kent County residents of Big Stone Beach, Bennetts Park, South Bowers Beach, Bowers Beach, Kitts Hummock, Pickering Beach, and Woodland Beach should also leave those areas before the rain and high winds make movement difficult or dangerous.

While the Coastal Flood Watch does not extend to New Castle County, residents of areas such as Bay View Beach, Augustine Beach, Delaware City and the City of New Castle where flooding has previously been experienced, should be alert to conditions and ready to move as well.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

CONTACT: Gary Laing (DEMA)   Office  (302) 659-2210    Cell  (302) 233-4576

Chip Guy (Sussex County)     Office  (302) 858-0505

Debra Jones (Sussex County)     Office  (302) 855-7801

Kia Evans (Kent County)     Office  (302) 744-2304

Melody Kitchen (New Castle County)     Office  (302) 395-5117