Governor Jack Markell said the next 24 hours will get “a whole lot worse”. So, as the wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy increase, Delaware has upped the emergency restrictions for state residents.
There is now a Level 2 driving ban. Under the new law passed last year that means “no person shall operate a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways other than essential personnel.”
“The most important thing right now is for people to use common sense. We didn’t want people out on the road going to work and not being able to get home again,” he said
Markell said there are thousand of emergency personnel in place. The Delaware National Guard is on standby and the seven shelters have taken in about 500 people overnight.
The biggest concern are the sustained winds that will keep utility crews from repairing power lines. He says the worse case scenario is that power could be out for a week. “Those crews can’t go up in the bucket trucks until the winds drop below 35 miles an hour.
Markell spent his morning getting out the message through CNN and CNBC in interviews that originated from WHYY’s Wilmington studio. Local radio and TV stations interviewed Markell as did BBC radio.
The next step in the recovery process is that Delaware will be added to the states which have been declared a federal disaster area. “FEMA is already co-located at the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (in Smyrna),” he said. The declaration means Delaware qualifies for some financial relief when dealing with the cleanup.
The Governor will travel downstate again Monday and says he’ll face the same driving challenges as anyone. “I’ve got a state trooper to help me get around, but we’ll need to stay out of the way of emergency responders.”