Delaware officials fight to keep up with storm

    State and local officials in Delaware are doing what they can to battle the second major snowstorm in less than a week.

    State and local officials in Delaware are doing what they can to battle the second major snowstorm in less than a week.

    The heaviest snow is expected to fall this afternoon into early evening, prompting both the State of Delaware and City of Wilmington to remind residents that the state remains under a state of emergency.  That includes a travel ban that allows only essential personnel on the roads.

    “We need as many vehicles as possible off the road so we can deal with the issues and try to make them safe or try to  keep them clear,” said  Gary Laing of the Delaware Department of Transportation. “Secondly, its just simply dangerous to be out there.  Somebody is placing themselves at risk if they’re out there unnecessarily.”

    The city of Wilmington’s Director of Communications John Rago agrees, adding the city is enforcing the ban.

    “You can also be fined and we are issuing citations to drivers who are out on these streets,” said Rago.

    Laing hopes businesses throughout the state will help keep people off the roads.

    “We do continue to urge businesses to remember the safety of their employees,”   said Laing.  “A lot of businesses insist on being open, regardless of the state of emergency, and it is causing a problem for employees who have been told they have to come in.”

    State officials say they are not having a problem keeping up with the snow on the roads, but are facing other problems.

    “Right now, we are not getting a situation where the roads are getting heavily snow covered.  So, plowing is not the issue right now,” said Laing.  “Right now, we’re out dealing with the issue of ice on the roadways.”

    Laing says the timing of this storm, on the heels of last weekend’s winter blast, is also making things difficult in certain areas.

    “Roads we were trying to get to and clear, secondary roads that hadn’t been touched are facing new issues, compounding that problem for us,” added Laing.

    In Wilmington, snow removal is the main issue.

    “It’s been a challenge, but we’re up to the challenge,”  said Rago.  “Our crews are doing a remarkable job. We will continue the plowing and hauling away of snow on a 24 hour basis until we’ve finished battling the storm.”

    Both state and city officials say they are also monitoring other emergency situations, such as power outages and roof collapses, and responding as necessary.

    Wilmington residents can call the city’s Emergency Operations Center at (302) 576-2489 with non-emergency storm related questions and concerns.

    State officials remind Delawareans that the Delaware Helpline is also available by calling 1-800-464-4357.  The toll-free service can refer callers to state services and provide assistance to callers.

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