DelDOT urges caution as temperatures drop

While today’s storm is bringing mostly rain with scattered snow showers to the state, temperatures will continue to fall as the system moves away and below freezing temperatures are expected overnight.

Surface temperatures remain above freezing, however, DelDOT advises motorists to use caution on roads that remain wet as the possibility of black ice forming is possible with the cold air mass moving in. Please slow down and be aware of the temperature and conditions while out on the roads.

This week is also Winter Weather Awareness Week, and the arrival of very cold air is a reminder to have your car ready for the winter season ahead and prepare an emergency kit in your vehicle. More information can be found at www.preparede.org.

As a wintry mix fell on much of Delaware today, Gov. John Carney highlighted winter weather awareness week via social media, using the weather to help spread the news.

For Kent and Sussex counties, the weather service forecast wind gusts as high as 32 mph, 90 percent chance of precipitation and a low around 22 tonight.

The weather event even prompted the postponement of sporting events like the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Field Hockey Semifinals.

The forecast shows continued colder weather for at least the next week, peaking at a high of nearly 56 degrees on Monday.

Forecasters said that swing is caused by the arctic air mass that has settled into the Plains continuing to spread record cold temperatures south and eastward into the Ohio Valley and down into the southern Plains today.

“By Wednesday morning, record low temperatures in the teens and 20s will be common along much of the East Coast, the Ohio Valley, and down as far south as the upper Texas coast, making it feel like the middle of winter for these areas. This latest arctic outbreak will begin into moderate on Thursday as the center of the expansive high pressure system begins to move off the New England toward the Canadian Maritimes.”

The high this time last year on Nov. 12 was 53 degrees, just a few degrees shy of today’s high of 58 degrees, with a low of 29 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. They reported warmer weather on New Year’s Day, which reached a high of 68 degrees and a low of 46 degrees – and no snow.

Prepping for problems

Luckily for Delawareans who might not be ready for snow before Thanksgiving, Milford’s Public Works Director Mark Whitfield says the rain and snow today shouldn’t cause a problem.

“We prepped trucks with salt spreaders this morning, just in case we have some roadway icing tonight.   Our salt bin has been full since last April, so we have plenty of material on hand if we need it. The forecast is for roadways to dry off prior to freezing, but we are prepared either way.  We also did leaf collection today and cleaned inlets off due to the rain expected,” he said.

The city of Milford started thinking about winter early this year when they contacted local schools hoping to find students who could paint their snowplows. The designs were revealed to the public during the inaugural We Are Milford Day Nov. 2.

“I learned of this program through the American Public Works Association as a way to connect school students to city functions. I approached the school last spring about the idea, and they jumped at it.    The theme this year was Winter Fun in Milford. We also had students paint the plow that would be used in their neighborhood, again as a way to connect them with what the city provides for in services,” Mr. Whitfield said.

Ken Grant, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic urged Delaware residents and visitors to also use the preparation time wisely before getting stuck by colder weather.

“No one ever plans to get stuck but plummeting temperatures can wreak havoc on a vehicle resulting in a need for roadside assistance,” he said. “Drivers are more likely to experience dead car batteries or tire pressure issues as the temperature drops, which is why our AAA roadside assistance fleet is preparing for the expected surge in call volume in the coming days.”

Others still are already prepared and ready for more winter events, celebrating the seasons as they come here in Delaware. Anita Wheeler-Bezy, co-owner of La Baguette Bakery and Catering in Dover, says cooler weather simply means a few small changes for her and her husband, Chef Ludovic Bezy, who owns the business with her.

“It depends on what the severe weather is. For example, if it’s just rain, business does not slow down. If it’s severe like road closures because of the snow, then it’s just Jeff and I who come in. But with weather like this today, lots of people come in,” she said.

The bakery stays open, even in adverse weather, so those working to clear any weather-related damages or roads can find a warm meal like one of their popular hot beef sandwiches or warm croissants.

“In that case, we make just enough bread and croissants for the few people who are going to come in. It’s just us, we basically live here. And we bake everything on site and fresh every day,” she added. “It’s a nice place to stop and watch people go by on Governors Avenue, maybe have a hot cocoa.”

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