Delaware Governor Jack Markell says his biggest concern as Irene approaches are the people who did not heed his warning Friday to evacuate. But he says there is a coordinated plan in place to get people through the storm.
The Governor, Senator Tom Carper, and Representative John Carney all gave their assessments to MSNBC Saturday in live interviews from WHYY’s Wilmington studios. “It’s going to be a mess,” Markell said. He says the wind and storm surge situations were being watched closely. He still hasn’t ruled out closing the bridge over the Indian River inlet on Route 1. The National Hurricane Center in Miami predicted the storm surge in the Delaware Bay and coastal areas could rise to 4 feet above flood stage.
“I think the biggest concern is the aftermath could last a couple of days,” said Carney. He praised the efforts of state officials. Markell said he’s been in contact with President Obama and Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano. He added there were FEMA representatives already in the state working with Delaware first responder teams.
Carper said preparations for this storm didn’t just begin a few days ago, but have been going on for years. He praised state efforts to device a coastal plan to deal with events like this. “We are used to Nor’easters,” he said. Carper said many residents may not have hurricane experience, but he believes, “people are taking this seriously, and that’s a good thing.”
Hours before the first rains started in New Castle County preparations were still being made. Traffic was moderate on the northbound lanes going over the Roth Bridge on Route 1. There was hardly any traffic going south. That’s a sight never seen on a Saturday in summer. In Delaware City, an area along the Delaware River, generators were ready to pump an over flow of storm water from city streets into the Delaware River. Businesses were closed and one was sandbagging hoping to keep out flood waters.