Delaware braces for blizzard

     (file photo/WHYY)

    (file photo/WHYY)

    Preparation begins across the First State for the first significant snow of 2016.

    Weather forecasters are calling for a major snowstorm to hit the East Coast on Friday evening. The National Weather Service says several inches of snow is forecasted to fall in Delaware beginning late Friday and continuing into Sunday. Meteorologists are predicting snow accumulations of 12 to 16 inches in the vicinity of the I-95 corridor.

    An updated forecast from the National Weather Service Thursday added New Castle and Kent counties under a coastal region blizzard watch.

    “We’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst,” County Executive Thomas P. Gordon said, adding the revised forecast of the heavy snow’s later arrival – first set for Friday evening’s rush hour – is lucky in terms of public safety.

    In Sussex County, a winter storm watch is in effect. The concern is centered on severe coastal flooding, tropical storm-force winds, and a mixed bag of heavy precipitation. The winter storm watch is for 7 p.m. Friday, January 22nd, through 10 a.m. Sunday, January 24th. The storm is expected to drop 2 to 4 inches in Sussex County.

    “These are the types of storms that cause some of our greatest problems. You have heavy snow and rain, very strong winds, and significant flooding,” Sussex County Emergency Operations Center Director Joseph L. Thomas said. He added, “…the public should be prepared for impassable roads, downed trees and power lines, and power outages along the coast as well as inland.”

    Preparations for the impending storm are underway across the state. DelDOT activated its Snow Plow Tracker feature that is available on the DelDOT app. Users can see the locations of where trucks are applying salt on roads and bridges across the state.

    Delaware State Police are urging motorists to avoid unnecessary travel. Police say they will have patrols available to assist disabled vehicles and manage roadway incidents. Police are also warning motorists who must travel to use caution and be prepared for rapidly changing weather.

    Here is a check list before hitting the road:

    Fill gas tank
    Check windshield wipers & fluid
    Check tire tread and pressure
    Check battery life

    Delmarva Power is monitoring the snowstorm too, and is ready to dispatch crews 24 hours a day throughout the weekend in the event of power outages. Customers are urged to prepare for possible service interruptions.

    Officials are also reminding pet owners to not forget about their furry friends.

    The National Weather Service updated its forecast Thursday to add New Castle and Kent counties under a coastal region blizzard watch.

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