WEATHER ALERT: Delaware readies for more snowfall with 1 to 3 inches forecast and possible weekend storm
With a weather advisory from the National Weather Service in effect, state agencies on Tuesday were preparing to meet the challenge of yet more snow.
The National Weather Service Mt. Holly office issued a winter weather advisory for Delaware that was to be in effect from 7 p.m. Tuesday evening to 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.
A low pressure system moving northeast is forecast to bring precipitation to the state that could result in 1 to 3 inches of snow by early morning Wednesday. A winter weather advisory means that periods of snow will cause travel difficulties. Motorists who must be out should use caution while driving and be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities.
Precipitation is expected to start as a mix of rain and snow along the coastal areas but will be mainly snow inland. With some accumulation predicted throughout the state, Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) officials reminded the public Tuesday to avoid late-night travel and to restrict early-morning travel as much as possible.
DEMA Deputy Director Glenn Gillespie said, “It is very important that members of the public support road crews and responders by staying off the roads as much as possible during and following snowfall. Even 2 to 3 inches on the roads can make driving difficult and can lead to accidents. The safety of everyone is our concern – road crews, as well as the general public. We need to all work together to stay safe and help each other out.”
At the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), crews were sent home early with the reminder that they may be called back later in the evening.
“Since we put down 14,000 tons of salt and sand since Saturday, there is no need for us to pre-treat the roads,” said DelDOT spokesman Jim Westhoff. “Because of all salt still on the roads, we can send some people home to get some rest until they are called back in.”
Westhoff said that some DelDOT staff will remain on the job, monitoring road conditions and forecasts.
“As soon as we need them, we can have our people behind the wheels of the plows very quickly,” he said.
State also bracing for a possible storm this weekend
Gillespie said the overnight snow should be a good reminder of the importance of storm preparedness since long-range forecasts point to a more significant snowfall event this coming weekend.
“The National Weather Service is looking at development of a system that is very similar to the one that led to the snow storm that hit Delaware Dec. 19,” he said. “This is the time to review family emergency plans that include a three- to five-day supply of food and water, alternate lighting such as battery-operated or crank-powered flashlights and lanterns, and a portable radio.”
He said tips for family emergency plans and supplies are available on the DEMA Web site, at dema.delaware.gov, or on the state Citizen Corps Web site, at delawarecitizencorps.org.
County urges care and preparedness ahead of expected snow
Sussex County residents still digging out from the 8 inches of snow that fell this past weekend should keep the shovels and salt handy, county officials advised on Tuesday, as more snow was on the way.
Emergency officials urged the public to use caution if traveling and to be prepared at all times for the possibility of winter weather. All motorists should have basic supplies on hand, including an ice scraper, blankets, sand or cat litter, de-icer and a full tank of gas, they said.
“Although the forecast is for a minor snowfall event, that along with this past weekend’s weather could cause problems, particularly with driving,” Emergency Operations Center Director Joseph L. Thomas said. “We urge motorists to slow down and allow some extra room between themselves and other drivers. And everyone should keep a watchful eye on the upcoming weekend forecast, as a more significant storm appears possible.”
Most roads in the county are now clear of this past weekend’s snow, officials said Tuesday, but those routes could quickly ice over with any daytime snow melt and new snowfall overnight.
The Sussex County Emergency Operations Center will continue to monitor forecasts for this evening’s expected weather and the possible winter storm this weekend. Further updates will be issued should they become necessary, officials said.
For updates, stay tuned to local television and radio stations, and the Sussex County EOC Web site, at www.sussexcountyde.gov/services/storm.
The Indian River School District policy committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 3, has been postponed. The meeting will be rescheduled for a later date.