Governor Markell Issues State of Emergency

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UPDATE  –

After consulting with DelDOT and emergency management officials, Governor Markell announced that the “Level 2 Driving Restriction” in New Castle and Kent Counties will continue until 10:00 a.m. Sunday, at which time he will downgrade the restriction to a “Level 1 Driving Warning.”

A Level 1 warning will remain in effect in Sussex County as well until further notice. A statewide State of Emergency also remains in effect until further notice.

DelDOT workers have made significant progress plowing primary roadways during the period of the driving restriction, but will still need to do significant work overnight to ensure the restriction can be downgraded. More than 500 DelDOT employees have operated snow plows and taken part in other operations during the storm today. Crews have rotated continuously since 7:00 a.m. Friday to ensure that by mid-morning on Sunday, primary roads in New Castle and Kent Counties will be significantly clearer.

Because DelDOT workers still have significant work to do to clear secondary roads, it remains important for residents in all three counties to exercise extreme caution if they must drive on Sunday.

“Our DelDOT crews have done outstanding work today in the midst of challenging conditions,” said Governor Markell. “I’m grateful for all that they have achieved today, as well as for the tremendous efforts of emergency responders, health officials, and the more than 260 National Guard members on duty for the storm. I also thank those in Sussex County who have opened the shelter at Sussex Central.”

Significant flooding in Sussex County continues to represent significant challenges for residents in coastal areas. More than 50 people have evacuated their homes.

“The Level 2 Driving Restriction is a serious measure reserved for limited circumstances when it is vital to prohibit most people from driving, like in today’s weather,” said Markell. “However, even as primary roads are cleared and as we downgrade to a Level 1 warning, it is vital that people only drive when necessary and take every precaution when doing so. Our plows will continue to work around the clock tomorrow to make as much progress as possible in advance of the work week and our roads will be safer and clearer if as many people as possible avoid driving on Sunday.”

According to state law, a “Level 1 Driving Warning” means that any person operating a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways must exercise extra caution. All nonessential employees, public and private, are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle unless there is a significant safety, health, or business reason to do so.

The Governor continues to monitor the forecast regularly and will remain in frequent contact with emergency management and transportation officials over the course of the storm to determine any further actions that are necessary.

As expected, the winter storm that began Friday has generated significant snowfall in New Castle and Kent Counties, as well as snow, coastal flooding, and strong sustained winds in Sussex County.

A National Weather Service Blizzard Warning continues for New Castle and Kent Counties until 6:00 am. Sunday. Total accumulations of 15-20 inches of snow are expected in New Castle County, while Kent County is forecast to receive 14-20 inches of snow, with 8-14 inches closer to the coast. A Winter Weather Warning remains in effect until 6 a.m. Sundayfor Sussex County, with an expected accumulation of 8-15 inches inland, and 4-8 inches at the Delaware beaches. Snow in New Castle County will taper off late tonight.

A Coastal Flood Advisory will be in effect in New Castle County from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Sunday.  A Coastal Flood Warning remains in effect until noon Sunday for Kent and Sussex Counties.

At the Governor’s direction, Delaware National Guard and DelDOT began pre-positioning their resources Friday afternoon in anticipation of this weekend’s storm.  The State of Emergency declaration allowed the Governor to deploy the Delaware National Guard, DelDOT, first responders, and other agencies to open and close roadways, and take other actions to protect public safety and property during the storm event.

Crews started applying brine solution to Delaware roadways mid-week. All equipment used in snow removal operations has been checked and rechecked from the snow plows to the windshield wipers. Residents can track the progress of DelDOT plows by watching the snowplow tracker, which is available at deldot.gov, or on the DelDOT app on a smart phone.

Friday, the Governor authorized the National Guard, in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, to pre-position its forces to assist local first responders with stranded motorists, flooding, and other emergencies that may require their attention. They will remain in position to assist Delawareans throughout the weekend.

Code Purple locations are available in all three counties for individuals who are homeless and in need of shelter during the storm. More information, including a list of sites statewide, is available here. To be connected to Code Purple resources, call Delaware 2-1-1, search for “Code Purple” on the Delaware 2-1-1 mobile app or on its website at www.delaware211.org and click on the Code Purple button.

 

Post from Saturday, January 23 at 8am –

With roadway conditions deteriorating significantly overnight, Governor Markell has issued a “Level 2 Driving Restriction” in New Castle and Kent Counties effective at 8:00 a.m. [See text below]. A State of Emergency remains in effect statewide, along with a “Level 1 Driving Warning” in Sussex County.

As expected, the winter storm that began Friday has generated significant snowfall in New Castle and Kent Counties, as well as snow, coastal flooding, and strong sustained winds in Sussex County. As of 7:00 a.m., about 8-10 inches have been reported in parts of New Castle and Kent Counties, and 2-4 inches in most of Sussex, increasing to about 7 inches in Laurel.

On roadways throughout the state, there is as much as 6-9 inches of snow.

Markell had previewed the possibility of these driving restrictions when he announced the State of Emergency Friday at 5:00 p.m. According to state law, under a “Level 2 Driving Restriction,” no person may operate a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways, except for persons designated as “essential personnel” or who have received a waiver from the Delaware Emergency Management Agency. The following persons are specifically designated as “essential personnel” under Delaware law:

Operators of snow removal equipment (public and private);

Persons providing public utility services;

Persons providing healthcare services; and

Persons providing food and fuel deliveries.

“This storm appears to be as serious as predicted and, with so much snow accumulating on our roads, conditions are becoming dangerous for any more traffic than absolutely necessary,” said Markell. “The Level 2 Driving Restriction in New Castle and Kent Counties is required to keep people safe and off the roads, while allowing our DelDOT and emergency responder personnel to operate most effectively.

At the Governor’s direction, Delaware National Guard and DelDOT began pre-positioning their resources Friday afternoon in anticipation of this weekend’s storm.  The State of Emergency declaration allowed the Governor to deploy the Delaware National Guard, DelDOT, first responders, and other agencies to open and close roadways, and take other actions to protect public safety and property during the storm event.

According to state law, a “Level 1 Driving Warning” means that any person operating a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways must exercise extra caution. All nonessential employees, public and private, are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle unless there is a significant safety, health or business reason to do so.

The Governor continues to monitor the forecast regularly and will remain in frequent contact with emergency management and transportation officials over the course of the storm to determine any further changes in driving restrictions or other actions that are necessary.

A Blizzard Warning from the National Weather Service is now in effect for New Castle and Kent Counties until 6:00amSunday. Total accumulations of 18-24 inches of snow are expected in New Castle County, while Kent County is also forecast to receive 18-24 inches of snow, with 12-18 inches near the shore.  A Winter Weather Warning is now in effect until 6am Sunday for Sussex County with an expected accumulation of 12-18 inches inland, and 8-12 inches along the coast.  Snow will continue heavy at times throughout the day on Saturday in New Castle County before tapering off tonight and early Sunday morning.

DelDOT has been working hard to prepare the roads for snow and to prepare its crews for a weekend of plowing. More than 330 Equipment Operators have been working through the night.

Crews started applying brine solution to Delaware roadways mid-week. All equipment used in snow removal operations has been checked and rechecked from the snow plows to the windshield wipers. Residents can track the progress of DelDOT plows by watching the snowplow tracker, which is available at deldot.gov, or on the DelDOT app on a smart phone.

Yesterday, the Governor authorized the National Guard, in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, to pre-position its forces to assist local first responders with stranded motorists, flooding, and other emergencies that may require their attention. They will remain in position to assist Delawareans throughout the weekend.

Code Purple locations are available in all three counties for individuals who are homeless and in need of shelter during the storm. More information, including a list of sites statewide, is available here. To be connected to Code Purple resources, call Delaware 2-1-1, search for “Code Purple” on the Delaware 2-1-1 mobile app or on its website at www.delaware211.org and click on the Code Purple button.

Original Post – 

Level 1 Driving Warning to Begin at Midnight

With a severe winter storm expected to generate significant snowfall in New Castle and Kent Counties, as well as coastal flooding and strong sustained winds in Sussex County, Governor Jack Markell has issued a State of Emergency effective Friday, January 22 at 5:00 p.m., and a “Level 1 Driving Warning” effective Saturday, January 23 at 12:00 a.m. [See text below].

At the Governor’s request, Delaware National Guard and DelDOT began pre-positioning their resources yesterday in anticipation of this weekend’s storm. The State of Emergency declaration allows the Governor to deploy the Delaware National Guard, DelDOT, first responders, and other agencies to open or close roadways and take other actions to protect public safety and property during the storm event.

According to state law, a “Level 1 Driving Warning” means that any person operating a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways must exercise extra caution. All nonessential employees, public and private, are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle unless there is a significant safety, health or business reason to do so.

If the predicted forecast comes to fruition, the “Level 1 Driving Warning” is likely to be upgraded to a “Level 2 Driving Restriction” as roadway condition deteriorate Saturday. The Governor continues to monitor the forecast regularly and will remain in frequent contact with emergency management and transportation officials over the course of the storm.

According to state law, under a “Level 2 Driving Restriction,” no person may operate a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways, except for persons designated as “essential personnel” or who have received a waiver from the Delaware Emergency Management Agency. The following persons are specifically designated as “essential personnel” under Delaware law:

•Operators of snow removal equipment (public and private);
•Persons providing public utility services;
•Persons providing healthcare services; and
•Persons providing food and fuel deliveries.

The National Weather Service has declared a Blizzard Warning for New Castle County and Kent and Sussex Counties are under a Winter Storm Watch. Residents are encouraged to avoid travelling area roads Friday night and Saturday, and Delaware residents in flood-prone areas in Kent and Sussex should seriously consider relocating during this time.

“With authorities predicting snowfall amounts of 12-18 inches, it is important that all Delawareans take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones”, said Governor Markell. “Conditions are predicted to rapidly deteriorate during the overnight hours and through tomorrow, which will create hazardous driving conditions and the threat of flooding in low-lying coastal areas. That’s why I’m urging Delawareans to find a safe place to be this weekend and to arrive there this evening, and why I’m asked all non-essential personnel to avoid travelling our roadways after the snow begins so that DelDOT and emergency crews can clear the roads and keep our citizens safe.”

Because of the amount of snow expected and duration of the snowfall, many roads will be snow-covered and could be impassable throughout the day tomorrow. DelDOT has been working hard to prepare the roads for snow and to prepare its crews for a weekend of plowing.

DelDOT crews started applying brine solution to Delaware roadways on Wednesday, and have since completed those operations. All equipment used in snow removal operations have been checked and rechecked from the snow plows to the windshield wipers. Plow trucks are being loaded with salt, and all normal snow removal preparations are underway.

DelDOT has Equipment Operators for 330 snow plows currently at work and on standby ready to act as the snowfall requires this evening and Saturday.

Yesterday, the Governor authorized the National Guard, in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, to pre-position its forces to assist local first responders with stranded motorists, flooding, and other emergencies that may require their attention. They will remain in position to assist Delawareans throughout the weekend.

Code Purple locations will open today in all three counties for individuals who are homeless and in need of shelter during the storm. More information, including a list of sites statewide, is available here. To be connected to Code Purple resources, call Delaware 2-1-1, search for “Code Purple” on the Delaware 2-1-1 mobile app or on its website at www.delaware211.org and click on the Code Purple button.