Governor Carney Authorizes National Guard, Issues Driving Restrictions to Prepare for Winter Storm 

State of Emergency, Level 2 driving restriction issued in Kent and Sussex Counties; Driving warning issued for New Castle County

WILMINGTON, Del. – In preparation for a severe winter storm to impact the State of Delaware, Governor John Carney on Friday issued a State of Emergency in Kent and Sussex counties, and authorized the Delaware National Guard to assist state and local officials with any necessary response and recovery.

Governor Carney also issued a Level 2 Driving Restriction for Kent and Sussex counties, and a Level 1 Driving Warning for New Castle County, beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, January 28.

“We are anticipating a serious storm, and Delawareans in Kent and Sussex counties should stay off the roadways when the driving restriction goes into effect tonight,” said Governor Carney. “That will help personnel from the Delaware Department of Transportation more effectively clear the roadways, and help us provide services to our neighbors most in need.”

The Level 2 Driving Restriction (Kent and Sussex counties) means that no person may operate a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways, except for persons designated as “essential personnel.”  Travel on roadways is restricted to certain state employees, emergency workers, first responders, health care workers, utility workers, snow removal operators, private sector food and fuel deliveries, and individuals already approved through DEMA’s State of Emergency Driving Waiver program.

The Level 1 Driving Warning (New Castle County) means Delawareans should avoid traveling on roadways, unless there is a significant safety, health, or business reason to do so. All motorists are urged to drive with extreme caution. 

Learn about Delaware’s three levels of driving warnings and restrictions at de.gov/weather.

Areas of coastal Sussex County are predicted to see the most serious impact from the storm, including winds of up to 50mph, which may lead to power outages. Travel will be difficult as high winds and heavy snow will result in snow covered roads and limited visibility. If travel is necessary, extra caution and preparations should be taken, such as having a vehicle emergency supply kit

State and local officials are directed to remove abandoned vehicles from roads in affected areas at the expense of the vehicle owner after 10:00 p.m. on Friday, while the driving restriction in Kent and Sussex counties is in effect.  

Under Delaware Code, failure to obey an Emergency Order may result in a fine of $50 to $500 and/or a prison sentence of up to six months.

The State of Emergency authorizes additional resources to assist with winter storm response. The State Emergency Operations Center has been activated. The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) is coordinating the state’s response, including resources from the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), Delaware State Police, Delaware Division of Public Health, and Delaware National Guard. 

The DelDOT snowplow tracker will be active during the storm and is available via the DelDOT smartphone app and deldot.gov, under the interactive maps icon. Additionally, DelDOT also has more than 200 traffic cameras that are available to view road conditions around the state. Winter weather preparedness tips for home and travel can be found at PrepareDE.org. 

A Code Purple has been declared across the state and shelters are opening to take in Delawareans who are experiencing homelessness. To be connected to Code Purple resources, call Delaware 2-1-1. If you see someone outside who appears to be homeless, encourage them to seek emergency shelter or call a non-emergency police number to alert the police to the situation.

How to Prepare 

  • Make a Plan, make an emergency kit, and stay informed. Helpful tips are available at PrepareDE.org
  • Ensure that you have non-perishable food, water, and medications to last for several days. 
  • Prepare for power outages and have a safe way to stay warm. 
  • Monitor the weather through the National Weather Service:  weather.gov/phi 
  • Monitor the roads through the DelDOT App: deldot.gov/mobile

DEMA, DelDOT, and the Delaware State Police will continue to provide updates throughout the storm. 

Residents are encouraged to monitor local weather through the U.S. National Weather Service Philadelphia/Mount Holly. 

Sign up for weather-related notifications at de.gov/weather.

Click here for a PDF of the State of the Emergency and Level 2 Driving Restriction for Kent and Sussex Counties due to a Severe Winter Storm.

Click here for the Executive Order authorizing the Delaware National Guard to assist state and local officials with any necessary response and recovery for this severe winter storm.


Important Weather Information

School Closing / Delay Notification Information

School Closing Information System – Review a real-time listing of school closures from across the state of Delaware.

 

School Closing E-mail Registration Website – Subscribe to e-mail, text, and/or voice message notification of school closings and other school status.

 

School Closing Information by Phone – A voice activation system which provides school closing and other school status.
The toll free number is 877-831-7215.

 

 

State Employee Closure / Delay Information

Emergency and Adverse Weather Advisory – Read the latest information for state employees from the Human Resource Management Office.

 

State of Delaware BlackBoard Connect Closing/Delay Notification Registration – This service will allow you to sign up to receive information updates and advisories for Delaware State Government Employees.

 

State of Delaware BlackBoard Connect “How to Register Guide” – View instructions on how to sign up with BlackBoard Connect to receive advisories for Delaware State Government Employees.

 

 

Real Time Traffic Cameras and Road Reports

Live Traffic Cameras – Take a look at where the traffic is heading and have a bird’s eye view of the clear paths to get you where you need to go.

 

Online Subscription Service – Receive DelDOT press releases, scheduled travel restrictions, and real-time travel advisories via e-mail.

 

 

Snowplow Tracker from DelDOT

DelDOT’s Snowplow Tracker – available on the DelDOT mobile app or on their website.

 

 

Subscribe to Weather Related Press Releases

Subscribe on News.delaware.gov – sign up to receive emails when state agencies like DelDOT, DEMA, or the Governor’s office post press releases about weather announcements.

 

 

Weather Resources

 

 

Driving Warnings and Restrictions:

When the weather turns especially hazardous, Delaware has a three-level system of driving warnings and restrictions. Drivers should know the three levels and what they mean.

The levels are found in Title 20 of the Delaware Code, Subsection 3116(b)(12) and may be put in effect by the Governor during a State of Emergency for all or parts of Delaware based on conditions.

 

Level 1:

Driving Warning:  Drivers are discouraged from operating a motor vehicle on the state’s roadways, unless there is a significant safety, health, or business reason to do so. During a level 1 Driving Warning, all citizens are asked to drive with extreme caution.

Level 2:

Driving Restriction: Travel on the roads is restricted to emergency workers, public utilities, healthcare providers including hospital staff, public and private operators of snow removal equipment, private sector food and fuel deliveries. Industries, companies or organizations that have been provided a waiver, are also permitted to be on the road, including businesses with pressing continuity and operational issues.

Level 3:

Driving Ban: Complete ban on driving except for first responders, utility personnel, and public or private snow removal. Businesses and organizations should adjust work schedules so that employees do not need to be on the roads during a Level 3 Driving Ban.

Level 3 Bans are different from Level 2 Restrictions in that Level 2 allows people with waivers and essential personnel to remain on the road, whereas a Level 3 Bans are much stricter, only allowing emergency personnel.

 

 

Essential Personnel

Level 2 Driving Restriction: essential personnel include those who are necessary state personnel or those who provide healthcare services, food deliveries, and fuel deliveries during a state of emergency in both public and private industries.  

 

Level 3 Driving Ban: includes first responders, some state employees (i.e. policemen, utility workers), people the governor has approved through executive order and operator of snowplows or debris removal equipment that have been hired by the state or private interests.

 

For information on attaining driving waivers here is DEMA’s page on Online Waiver and Exemption Applications


DelDOT Winter Storm Update #4

Based on conditions in Sussex County, no DART First State bus service will operate on Friday, January 5, 2018, with the exception of dialysis paratransit trips.

All services in Kent and New Castle Counties are expected to operate with likely delays on Friday.

Road Conditions Update:
With the ongoing State of Emergency and the Level 2 Driving Restriction remaining in effect for Sussex County, the priority for DelDOT is clearing and treating all primary roadways before plowing secondary roads. With the combination of strong winds, drifting snow, and intense cold, getting to all roads is going to take time and DelDOT crews will continue to work to clear roads as quickly as possible. In addition, salt is less effective in melting snow and ice in extremely low temperatures such as those we will experience over the next 72 hours. DelDOT maintenance and operations yards have been fully staffed since 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, and for the safety of our employees, there is a required five hour rest period every 24 hours.

Governor Carney will continue to assess conditions with DEMA, Delaware State Police, and DelDOT in making the determination as to when to lift the State of Emergency and the Level 2 Driving Restriction for Sussex County.

The Level 2 Driving Restriction means that no person may operate a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways, except for persons designated as “essential personnel.” 

While Kent and New Castle Counties have seen lesser snow accumulations, high winds and drifting snow are still a hazard and motorists should be cautious of icy conditions due to the below freezing temperatures. DelDOT snow plows remain active in plowing and treating primary and secondary roadways.

DelDOT’s snow plow tracker and traffic cameras are available via the DelDOT app and website to view real-time snow plow activity and road conditions by means of more than 100 traffic cameras statewide. As of 5:30 p.m. today, www.deldot.gov had more than 201,000 pageviews – an increase of more than 432 percent from Wednesday, January 3.

DelDOT will continue to provide regular updates throughout the duration of the storm event.


Storm Report #2 – Tuesday Evening January 21 (9:30pm)

(Smyrna) – A State of Emergency and Level 1 Driving Warning remain in effect for the entire State of Delaware, declared at 2pm by Governor Jack Markell, who previously ordered state offices closed at noon, sending all non-essential personnel home.  The Delaware Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated at noon, and Governor Markell has issued a verbal authorization permitting the Delaware Guard to take responsive and precautionary actions directed by the director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), in consultation with Department of Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Louis Schiliro, upon request by local authorities.

The Delaware Code defines a Level 1 Driving Warning in this manner: “Level 1 Driving Warning: A “Level 1 Driving Warning” shall mean 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.”

The National Weather Service says significant snowfall will taper off through the overnight period from west to east as bitterly cold air settles into the area.  As the storm continues to get stronger, winds will become gusty, which will result in areas of blowing and drifting snow.  As the storm moves out of the area, bitterly cold air will continue tonight and Wednesday.

In New Castle County, the Winter Storm Warning continues in effect until 6am Wednesday morning, while the Wind Chill Advisory will be effective from 1am until 11am Wednesday.

Snow amounts are forecast from 8-14 inches in New Castle County.  The higher amounts of snow will generally be closer to the Delaware River.  Snow will taper off overnight.  Travel will remain hazardous due to snow covered roadways, low visibility and drifting, and will continue through Wednesday morning.  The commute on Wednesday morning will be impacted by blowing and drifting snow, especially in open areas.  In the meantime, winds will be out of the north at 15-25 MPH with gusts open to 35 MPH, changing later to northwest.  Temperatures will be in the teens, dropping to single digits overnight, and wind chills will be as low as 15 degrees below zero.

For Kent and Sussex Counties, the Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 6am Wednesday, while the Wind Chill Advisory will be effective from 1am until 11am Wednesday.

Snow totals in Kent County are now forecast at 6-8 inches, with 4-6 inches expected in Sussex County.  Snow will gradually taper off overnight, but travel will be hazardous because of slippery roads, low visibility and blowing and drifting snow.  Those conditions will affect the Wednesday morning commute.

Actual snow accumulations vary from nearly 9 inches near Hockessin (Northern New Castle County) to less than an inch near Selbyville (Sussex County) with just over 3.5 inches in the Dover area (Kent County).

Winds will come from the north at 15-25 MPH, with gusts up to 40 MPH, then move from the northwest.  Temperatures will fall from the teens to the single digits, with wind chills as low as 15 degrees below zero.

The speed limit on Interstate 495 has been reduced to 45 MPH.  In Kent County, major roads are covered with snow, ice and slush, with heavy snow falling at times.  Major roads in Sussex County are generally reported to be wet with light snow, and a minimal accumulation so far.  All bridges are open, but the speed limit on the Delaware Memorial Bridge has been lowered to 30 MPH.

There have not been any reports of widespread power outages in the state; however residents should be prepared in the event that high winds and snow accumulations bring down power lines.

All school districts in Delaware will be closed on Wednesday, January 22nd.


Storm Report #1 – Tuesday Afternoon January 21 (4:30pm)

(Smyrna)

(Smyrna) – Delaware Governor Jack Markell declared a State of Emergency and Level 1 Driving Warning today for the entire state.  Governor Markell had previously ordered state offices closed at noon, sending all non-essential personnel home.

The Delaware Code defines a Level 1 Driving Warning in this manner: “Level 1 Driving Warning: A “Level 1 Driving Warning” shall mean 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.”

Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) officials, along with other emergency response agencies across the state are monitoring the snowstorm that is making its way through Delaware.  The National Weather Service (NWS) posted a Winter Storm Warning that is in effect until 6am, Wednesday, January 22.  NWS forecasters say that as much as 8-14 inches of snow could fall in New Castle County, 4-8 inches in Kent and much of Sussex County, with 6-8 inches in southern Sussex County.

The weather conditions bring two problems to the state – snow accumulations and high winds.  High winds will cause patchy areas of snow and ice, along with drifts on roadways.  Drivers should use extreme caution throughout the storm period.  The other problem is the extreme cold associated with this weather.  Temperatures will drop overnight across the state, and by morning, wind chills could register around -7 degrees Fahrenheit.  Those venturing outside should dress appropriately as hypothermia is a possible danger.  Pets should be sheltered or brought indoors.

Roads were pre-treated by the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) with brine, a water and salt mixture, as early as Monday in anticipation of the snowstorm.  DelDOT crews are currently salting roadways.  Road conditions statewide will worsen as the snow and wind continue.  Motorists should reduce speeds appropriately based on road conditions.  Delaware State Police are reporting wet and slippery roads across the state, with some roadways snow covered.  State Police are also reporting numerous traffic accidents across Delaware.

Governor Markell had previously ordered state offices closed at noon, sending all non-essential personnel home.

The Delaware Code defines a Level 1 Driving Warning in this manner: “Level 1 Driving Warning: A “Level 1 Driving Warning” shall mean 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.”

Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) officials, along with other emergency response agencies across the state are monitoring the snowstorm that is making its way through Delaware.  The National Weather Service (NWS) posted a Winter Storm Warning that is in effect until 6am, Wednesday, January 22.  NWS forecasters say that as much as 8-14 inches of snow could fall in New Castle County, 4-8 inches in Kent and much of Sussex County, with 6-8 inches in southern Sussex County.

The weather conditions bring two problems to the state – snow accumulations and high winds.  High winds will cause patchy areas of snow and ice, along with drifts on roadways.  Drivers should use extreme caution throughout the storm period.  The other problem is the extreme cold associated with this weather.  Temperatures will drop overnight across the state, and by morning, wind chills could register around -7 degrees Fahrenheit.  Those venturing outside should dress appropriately as hypothermia is a possible danger.  Pets should be sheltered or brought indoors.

Roads were pre-treated by the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) with brine, a water and salt mixture, as early as Monday in anticipation of the snowstorm.  DelDOT crews are currently salting roadways.  Road conditions statewide will worsen as the snow and wind continue.  Motorists should reduce speeds appropriately based on road conditions.  Delaware State Police are reporting wet and slippery roads across the state, with some roadways snow covered.  State Police are also reporting numerous traffic accidents across Delaware.