As Delaware prepared for Hurricane Sandy on Saturday, October 27 Governor Markell declared a mandatory 24-hour evacuation for the coastal areas in Delaware in all three counties. The immediate areas that were affected included the communities of Slaughter Beach, Prime Hook and Broadkill Beach. Governor Markell later expanded his executive order that declared a State of Emergency for Delaware to include a requirement that businesses in mandatory evacuation zones be closed by 6 pm on Sunday evening.
Along with six other Red Cross shelters throughout the state, Milford Middle School opened on noon Sunday in preparation for the storm. Organizations including the American Red Cross, Delaware Department of Pubic Health, Americorps National and Community Service, Kent County SPCA and Delaware Animal Care and Control and members of the Milford School District cafeteria and custodial staff partnered together to provide for approximately 110 individuals as of Monday afternoon, October 29.
As the storm continued to threaten the state of Delaware, City Manager of Milford stated that city officials had done all they could to prepare individuals, businesses and the city for the impact of Hurricane Sandy. On Saturday, October 27 sandbags for local businesses were given out to business owners to protect against flooding of the Mispillion River, which began to overflow on Monday afternoon.
“From our standpoint we did all we could in preparation for the storm, now it is just a waiting game,” commented City Manager Richard Carmean on Monday morning. “We have no doubt that the River is going to breach. Our first priorities in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy will be to ensure all utilities are working and that the roads into and out of the city are open.”
On Monday evening Governor Markell ordered a statewide “Level Two” driving restrictions beginning at 5 am on Monday, October 29. According to state law, the ‘Level 2 Driving Restriction’ provided that “no person shall operate a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways other than essential personnel.”
On Tuesday morning many residents of Milford woke up to find that with a little luck and the preparedness of the City of Milford Public Works Department their homes and businesses faired well during Hurricane Sandy. Brad Dennehy, Director of Public Works in Milford contributes the minimal impact in the Milford area to his Streets Department Supervisor Tim Webb and the preventative maintenance team.
“We were pretty fortunate here in Milford,” stated Mr. Dennehy. “We did have some substantial flooding Monday afternoon downtown but the water got out of here pretty quickly. Their was a minimum of power outages and I attribute that to the City Electric Department and the preventative maintenance team.”
City Manager Richard Carmean stated that the absence of major sustained flooding in the downtown area was due in large part to the 2012 construction of the City of Milford sewer system that repaired and replaced sewer pipes to reduce the excess of outside water flowing into the city’s sewer system.
“I am greatly releived this morning,” stated Mr. Carmean on Tuesday, October 30. “I think the storm was everything they said it was going to be and our Public Works Department did a great job with keeping the storm system working to prevent flooding. The electric held up very well and I feel we dodged what could have been a real mess.”
As of 8:30 am on Tuesday, Governor Markell lifted the Level 2 Driving Restriction and instituted a Level 1 Driving Warning throughout the state. Local and State highway crews, police and other emergency officials have begun inspecting road conditions in the early morning hours of Tuesday and will continue those efforts throughout the day. Due to the heavy flooding and other damage in flood-prone areas, Governor Markell stated that the previously-designated Evacuation Areas are still in effect and should not be entered at this time.