Thousands of Delaware residents are in the dark after power outages caused by a second round of heavy snow within a week. The storm also defeats the post office.
The latest snow totals from the National Weather service show this storm will make the 2009-2010 snow season the snowiest on record. In addition to making travel extremely hazardous, the snow is also making it difficult for thousands of Delawareans who’ve listened to warnings about staying at home. As of noon, Delmarva Power reports that more than 21,000 of it’s customers in the region are in the dark. More than 8,500 of those outages are in New Castle County.
Remember the old postman’s creed? (“Neither rain, nor snow, …”) Well, with blizzard conditions in Delaware, the Post Office has thrown that out the window. All postal operations in Delaware have been suspended as of noon. That means no more delivery, collection or retail operations at Post Office facilities in the First State.
Delaware emergency management officials are warning residents, especially those with flat roofs to clear off the snow before it causes a collapse. There have been at least two reported roof collapses today due to heavy snow, one at West Seaford Elementary School and another at Scerni Industrial Park on Ogletown Rd near Newark. Sussex County public information officer Chip Guy says, “Emphasis should be on removing drifts to reduce weight, and to clear drains so clogs don’t block snowmelt.”
Delaware Governor Jack Markell has declared a state of emergency once again for the entire state. The notice went into effect at midnight. That’s when the emergency management team made up of a combination of state agencies, went back into action. The declaration says that only emergency vehicles and essential personnel should be the only ones to use the roads. This will allow DelDot crews to go back into action. The declaration also says that any cars abandoned during the snow storm will be towed at the owner’s expense.
Emergency shelters have also been set up in Lewes and Milford. Officials are on standby to set up shelters in the Dover area and in New Castle County. Some residents used shelters over the weekend when the last storm caused massive power outages in New Castle County.
The state has also set up a phone number for non-emergency situations: 1-800-464-4357.
Residents can call that number if they have questions:
1. Where to report power outages
2. How to get emergency transportation to shelters
3. Report road conditions in the area
4. Tips on how to report damaged roofs
5. Status of closings and the state of emergency.
The city of Wilmington has open its emergency operations center. Residents can call 302-576-2489 with any questions. The city asked residents to monitor its local cable channel WITN.
Schools around the state are closed. The University of Delaware’s Newark campus is closed for the day. All classes and public events have been called off. The official start of the semester was Tuesday. It had been postponed a day because of the aftermath of Saturday’s storm. The Christiana Mall has also said it is closed for the day.