Snowstorm is one for the record books in Wilmington

    With the National Weather Service reporting 25 inches of snow at the New Castle County airport, the measurement of record, this storm shatters the previous record of 22 inches in Wilmington from January 1996.

    IMG_4004.JPG (WinCE)With the National Weather Service reporting 25 inches of snow at the New Castle County airport, the measurement of record, this total tops the record of 22 inches for a single storm in Wilmington in January 1996.

    And with more snow expected late Tuesday and into Wednesday, Wilmington/New Castle County is on track to have its snowiest winter of all time.

    The snowstorm got so intense last night in Delaware, even DelDOT drivers in Kent and Sussex County had to get off the roads for a few hours.

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    The state of emergency put in effect by Governor Jack Markell on Friday night was modified to allow for cars on the road beginning at 8pm Saturday night.  The Governor ordered that all non-essential state workers should not report to work on Sunday.  Essesntial state workers should report as usual.

    The city of Wilmington will keep its travel ban in effect through 8am Sunday morning.  Mayor James Baker gave three reasons for extending the ban:

    ·       The City, with its smaller secondary streets and denser neighborhood settings, will need more time to plow snow and haul the near-record snow accumulation away from neighborhoods. The City received at least 25 inches of snow—an amount that simply can’t be plowed aside. Instead, City crews will focus tonight, tomorrow, and on into the coming week on piling snow in intersections and hauling it away.·       The anticipated freezing temperatures over the next few days requires that City crews work as rapidly as they can right now to clear as many streets as possible during the remaining weekend hours. Current accumulation will not melt on its own accord due to forecasted subfreezing temperatures, and vehicles traveling over unplowed streets cause compaction, making the snow removal process that much more difficult.·       This week’s weather forecast calls for another snow event mid-week, which makes it even more important that Public Works crews haul the existing snow out of neighborhoods and the downtown area.

     There have been over 200 disabled vehicles left in the wake of the storm .  At the snow storms peak road crews had trouble working.  “The winds were so strong they couldn’t see the road and it was too dangerous,” Jim Westhoff, DelDOT spokesman, said. “We  had to consider driver safety, and it was a tough decision but we parked the trucks until 6 a.m. and then when the sun came up they went back out.”

    Westhoff says with 450 pieces of road clearing equipment, including snowplows and backhoes, 500 workers are making progress on Delaware’s primary roads.  Still, several vehicles were stranded on Rt. 1 in Kent County and many other roads are impassable.  It’s the same story in Sussex County.

    “With the drifting and heavy snow it’s an uphill battle, but our people are doing it,” Westhoff said.”Don’t get in your truck or SUV and try to venture out in this, sit home and relax,” Westhoff said.

    A team of 175 Delaware National Guardsmen is also pitching in to help with medical service and fire calls, along with dialysis patient transport.  DART bus service was cancelled Saturday.  That included those who need paratransity dialysis treatment.  A DART spokesperson said service, including paratransit service will not be available again on Sunday.  Anyone needing emergency service was asked to call 302-659-2400.  A DART spokesperson expected that full service would be operating again by Monday.

    As a result of the order most businesses are closed Saturday including the Christiana Mall.  Their website says the mall will reopen at 11am Sunday. 

    Click here for the latest information on emergency management efforts throughout Delaware.  The city of Wilmington asks residents monitor the city web site and their local TV channel, WITN.

    There have been four shelters set up for anyone needing help in Kent and Sussex County. 

    Kent County: 
    Dover High School
    1 Pat Lynn Drive
    Dover, DE         
    Milford Middle School
    612 Lakeview Avenue
    Milford, DE 

    Sussex County: 
    Sussex Central High School
    26026 Patriots Way
    Georgetown, DE   
    Cape Henlopen High School
    1250 Kings Highway
    Lewes, DE 

    The New Castle County shelter in Odessa closed at 9am Sunday.   If you need help you can contact information for offices of Emergency Management for the state’s counties and the city of Wilmington: 

    City of Wilmington Office of Emergency Management – 302-576-3914

    New Castle County Office of Emergency Management – 302-395-2700

    Kent County Dept. of Public Safety, Div. of Emergency Management – 302-735-3467

    Sussex County Emergency Operations Center – 302-855-7801

    Once the snow is over people will start the clean up.  That his promoted Delmarva Power to put out a warning about keeping away from downed electrical wires or digging into area where gas lines might be disrupted.

    Here are snow totals in the state:

    In New Castle County:

    Wilmington 26.5

    New Castle County Airport  25.8

    Bear  25.8

    Claymont  25.2

    Newark 24.3

    Dover 22

    Woodside 20.5

    Bridgeville  25

    Milton 22

    Lewes 20.6

    Delmar 15.6

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