Delaware beaches have been hit hard during this January blizzard. Route 1 was shut down between Dewey and Bethany Beach. Evacuation shelters have been set up.
Governor Jack Markell, D-Delaware, and Major General Frank Vavala, head of the Delaware National Guard described the situation in Sussex County as similar to flooding that took place during a storm in 1998. Sussex County emergency officials say a near-record 9.2 high water mark was reached near Lewes at 8 a.m. That’s around the time of high tide. The record is 9.22 feet set during the historic nor’easter of 1962.
Prime Hook Road near the Delaware Bay is under 6 inches of water. An area north of the Indian River Inlet Bridge on Route 1 and just north of Fenwick Island Beach are flooded. Water has breached the dunes put in place to control beach erosion during big storms.
General Vavala said 266 National Guard troops are deployed in the state. Many are helping doctors and nurses who need to get to work in hospitals or reach out to people in homes who need care.
Snow fall predictions range from 12-18 inches in Kent County to up to 24 inches in New Castle County. Areas such as Port Penn and Claymont had well over a foot of snow by mid-day.
There is a level 2 driving ban in effect. That means no one should be driving except emergency personnel. Markell said based on the weather and transportation information he’s receiving it’s too early to predict when the ban will be lifted.
“We know this interferes with business operations, but based on the information we are getting we didn’t see any alternative,” Markell said at his briefing.
DelDOT snow plows were working to keep the major highways clear. There were many cars along Route 13 near Route 40 in New Castle County that were left abandoned last night. AAA Mid-Atlantic reports they have responded to 39 cars that needed to be towed by 10 a.m. Saturday. There were 146 calls made in Philadelphia alone.
The city of Wilmington reinforced that a level 2 driving ban is also in effect. The mayor’s office report city crews are focusing on the major Wilmington roads in their plowing efforts.
Markell also said the Code Purple shelters are available around the state if anyone needs help. You can dial 211 in Delaware or go to 211.org for more information.
Delaware Electric Cooperative reports nearly 8,000 customers have lost power at the height of the storm. They serve most of Sussex County. Delmarva Power reports 29,000 people lost power at the height of the storm. Most were in Sussex County and the Maryland counties just over the state line.