WEATHER ALERT: Caution advised as flash-flood, wind advisories continue [UPDATED, 5 p.m.]
A wind advisory is in effect from 6 p.m. Wednesday evening to 6 p.m. Thursday. A deep low pressure system to the north will cause a cold front to cross the area early Wednesday evening. Strong and gusty winds from the west or southwest will develop behind this front. Gusts up to 45 mph will occur.
The ground is very wet from earlier rains, so the possibility of trees a few trees toppling is greater than with dry ground.
A wind advisory means that sustained winds of 35 mph and/or gusts over 45 mph are expected. Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles. Use extra caution. Secure any loose objects that are outdoors.
The Delaware State Police and Office of Highway Safety issued a warning to motorists about hazardous driving conditions due to the storm.
As of 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 9, several roadways throughout the First State, including Route 1 north in Frederica, had areas where water was beginning to pond on the roadways.
The Office of Highway Safety is asking motorists to drive slowly and with caution, as it is often difficult to see the standing water until the driver is almost upon it. In areas of high water, do not attempt to drive through the water; instead, go around it, they advised.
Additionally, the high winds expected from the storm are making driving challenging. Drivers of taller (high-profile) vehicles, such as SUV’s, trucks and vans, may find themselves pushed out of their lanes – particularly when going over bridges and overpasses, officials warned. The Office of Highway Safety is asking drivers to use caution and drive more slowly than normal on these structures.
Locally, flooding is already a problem in low-lying areas normally impacted by heavy rain, though a low tide on the oceanfront about 7:30 a.m. and on the inland bays about 9:30 a.m. has meant that areas normally impacted by coastal flooding were not seeing much in the way of flooding this morning.
As the day progressed, additional areas of flooding were being reported, including Route 26 in Bethany Beach in the vicinity of WaWa and along N. Pennsylvania Avenue.
Across Sussex County, officials were reporting water hazards on secondary roadways. In Seaford, Johnson Road was reported under 2 feet of water, with possible damage. Road closures were reported for CR 431 between 24 and 421 in Millsboro, CR 536 between 542 and 541 in Seaford and CR 392 between 387 and 17 in Roxana as of 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Reported closed as of 4 p.m.: Woodland Road between Butler Branch Road and Lonesome Road in Seaford, Gum Road between Hudson Road and Route 17/Roxana Road in Frankford and Conaway Road between Route 24 and Careys Camp Road in Millsboro. Flooding along Garfield Parkway
For further information on real-time travel advisories for the area, visit www.deldot.gov/information/travel_advisory/ or contact DelDOT’s Office of Public Relations at 1-800-652-5600 or (302) 760-2080.
Route 16 in Ellendale was also shut down as of noon. That road closure was due to a utility pole down across the roadway.
As high tide approaches about 4:30 p.m. on the bays and their tributaries, additional problems with flooding in traditionally vulnerable areas were expected. Those living in low-lying areas should keep an eye on nearby bays, creeks, stormwater ponds, drainage ditches and other bodies of water that have been impacted by the heavy rain.
A flash-flood watch remains in effect through this afternoon for portions of Delaware, northeast Maryland and southern New Jersey, including the Delaware beaches and inland Sussex.
The National Weather Service warned that rain will continue and be heavy at times through the morning hours. Rainfall was forecast to average 1 to 2 inches, with some 3-inch amounts possible. Additional rain – up to another inch – was expected. The rain will gradually taper off to showers this afternoon, they said, though skies were sunny and dry as of 2:30 p.m.
The heavy rain could cause flooding along small streams and creeks and in areas of poor drainage. Rainfall rates may be quite high, also resulting in flash flooding. No flooding is expected along main stem rivers, such as the Delaware.
Those who live in a location that is prone to flash flooding should be prepared to take action if a warning is issued. Anyone observing rapidly rising water should move to higher ground immediately. Do not drive through flood waters. The water may be deeper than it appears. Monitor forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash-flood warnings be issued.