Delaware preparing for ‘significant flooding’ before Joaquin

 Sea water covers the beach at Kitts Hummock on Thursday afternoon. (DNREC photo)

Sea water covers the beach at Kitts Hummock on Thursday afternoon. (DNREC photo)

While Hurricane Joaquin stalls over the Bahamas, Delaware emergency planners are preparing for considerable amounts of rain before Joaquin arrives.

Hurricane Joaquin strengthened to a category four storm Thursday afternoon, but it is torrential rains and high tides unconnected to the hurricane that have people like Joseph Thomas concerned.

Thomas is the director of the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center. “This could be a significant flooding event that affects Sussex County not just for a few hours, but for several days,” Thomas said. “The safety of our citizens is the number one concern.”

Thomas warned that areas that typically flood during nor’easters are likely to flood during this storm which will act as a prelude to whatever Joaquin brings to Delaware.

That means places like Long Neck, Broadkill Beach and Primehook could see moderate to severe flooding through the weekend and maybe into early next week. High tides are projected to be as much as three to four feet above normal.

While evacuations have not been ordered, Thomas cautions those in low-lying areas to consider moving to higher ground.

In addition to coastal flooding, the nor’easter and following hurricane could drop seven inches of rain and bring 50 mph winds. There is also the risk for major beach erosion as a result of the double punch.

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