Delaware mayor orders mandatory evacuation of some Wilmington residents

New 7pm Saturday update: Wilmington Mayor James Baker says evacuation order for residents in southeast Wilmington is complete.

Baker signed a State of Emergency order for Wilmington because of Hurricane Irene. The city also reports their Emergency Operations Center is now in operation. Baker did not have an estimate of how many of the city’s 3,000 residents actually left, but police are on patrol to make sure no one enters the evacuation zone.

Friday background: The Mayor signed an Executive Order that includes the mandatory evacuation of the southeast section of Wilmington, beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday. City leaders warn this area is located in a flood plain, and will experience higher than normal water levels that will threaten the safety of the 3,000 citizens who live there. Download a map of the mandatory evacuation area here.

The Mayor says city government offices and emergency managers are prepared for various responses and actions that may be needed because of the hurricane.

Baker says Wilmington is expected to feel the effects of the storm around noon Saturday, with the highest winds and heaviest rainfall expected between midnight Saturday until sometime Sunday morning. Mayor Baker says Wilmington residents should be prepared for extraordinarily high winds in the range of 65 MPH or higher, rainfall amounts of between 7 to 10 inches or higher, and the possibility of losing electric service for up to 96 hours due to downed trees and wires.

The city will open its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 6 p.m. on Saturday, where emergency response to the hurricane will be managed throughout the duration of the storm. Beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday, citizens may call 302.576.2489, 302.576.3878, or 302.576.3879 for any non-emergency issue related to the hurricane or to ask questions. All emergency calls should be directed to 911, as is always the case.

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Details of the Mayor’s mandatory evacuation directive:

The MANDATORY evacuation takes effect at 6 p.m. Saturday for the southeast portion of the City bounded by Vandever Avenue, Northeast Boulevard, Church Street, Front Street and South Market Street. This area is further bounded to the south by the City line just past the South Market Street Bridge and the Delaware River to the east.

All citizens in the evacuation area should make immediate plans to vacate their properties no later than 6 p.m. Saturday night and are urged to make plans to stay with family or friends.

Those citizens who do not have a place to seek shelter may go to the William Penn High School on Basin Road which has been established as a Red Cross shelter or to Middletown High School which has also been established as a Red Cross shelter with additional accommodations for pets

Citizens in the evacuation area who need transportation to either of the shelters may call the City of Wilmington’s Office of Constituent Services at 302.576.2489 beginning Saturday at Noon. The Department of Parks and Recreation will provide transportation to the shelters.

Should you choose not to evacuate the MANDATORY evacuation area, the Mayor and the City’s Emergency Management Team stress that after 6 p.m. Saturday they can provide no guarantee that emergency or public safety services will be available to you or your family. The evacuation area will be patrolled by the Wilmington Police Department to protect properties and to ensure that no one enters the evacuation area after 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The approximately 3,000 citizens who live in the evacuation area are being notified of the directive to leave by tomorrow night through announcements through the news media, the City’s website and television station, hand delivery of flyers door-to-door by the Wilmington Police Department and via the Delaware Emergency Notification Telephone System (DENS).

Mayor Baker advises that if you do not need to be out during the duration of the hurricane you should please stay indoors until notification that no further danger exists.

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