Sleet, snow knocks out power for thousands in Delaware [photos]

While snow totals may be lower than expected in northern Delaware, the sleet and freezing rain that has fallen is causing power outages throughout New Castle County.

Delmarva Power’s outage map shows thousands of customers in northern Delaware are now in the dark thanks to heavy ice that’s formed on power lines. As of 8:20 a.m. Tuesday, more than 12,000 residential customers were without power in New Castle County. The bulk of those outages are centered around the area just below the New Castle Airport including the Rambleton Acres neighborhood off Christiana Rd. and the Jefferson Farms neighborhood near New Castle. 

As of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, the number of outages had ballooned to more than 31,000 customers spread throughout northern New Castle County. “We’re looking at an ice and rain and snow event with respect to what’s hit the New Castle County area and that really lays on the power lines as well as the tree limbs and that can cause sagging and downed lines,” said Delmarva Power’s Nick Morici. 

The icy conditions and high winds have created challenges for the more than 1,000 workers trying to restore power in the county. “When a pole is iced up, it’s hard to climb even with spikes,” Morici said. “We want to make sure we maintain safety for our crews, but also for our customers.”

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The forecast calls for more snow to follow sleet and freezing rain through Tuesday afternoon. Delaware Gov. John Carney has issued a level one driving warning for the state. That means anyone driving in the state must use extra caution. Carney also authorized the Delaware National Guard to help state and local officials with any response necessary.

Temperatures are much warmer further downstate and at the Delaware beaches. This storm is an all rain event there with temperatures hovering around 45 degrees Tuesday morning. Sussex County officials are monitoring the potential for flooding in common areas along the coast as the nor’easter passes the state.

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