Extremely frigid temperatures arriving on Sunday

DOVER – Sunday night into Monday morning may be the worst of it, but daylight hours won’t be comfortable either.

A stretch of extremely cold Arctic winter air is forecast to arrive from the west this weekend, according to the National Weather Service. The possibility of 10 to 12 degree temperatures overnight Sunday and Monday (not counting wind chill potentially dropping it to zero or colder) could have deadly consequences for homeless with no sanctuary.

“We take (the extreme cold) very seriously and will be out looking for people,” Code Purple Director Becky Martin said Friday. “We had a situation like this last year and a plan is already in place.”

On Friday, Delaware Department of Transportation spokesman Charles “C.R.” McLeod said a “flash freeze” is a concern following two inches of rain dropping onto roadways and potentially fast dropping temperatures.

“We will be monitoring conditions all weekend and anyone who plans to be out and about, especially the second half of Sunday, should be mindful of the likelihood of icy conditions on all roads,” Mr. McLeod said.

According to Mr. McLeod, “DelDOT will not be brining roadways as a result of the heavy rains that are expected which will wash the pre-treatment solution from road surfaces.

“Once the rain has ended, DelDOT crews will be salting roads across the state as the temperatures fall below freezing. We (determined staffing levels Friday) as there still could be some brief changeover to snow, especially in the northern part of the state.”

Saturday’s daytime promises to be milder, with rain beginning after 11 a.m., and a snow mix coming after 3 p.m. in up to 38-degree temperatures. While wind gusts may reach 20 mph, they’ll mostly be 6 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent, with little or no snow accumulation.

The NWS said overnight rain is expected Saturday night, with up to an inch possible. The chance of precipitation is 100 percent.

On Sunday, rain may arrive before 1 p.m., then could be joined by snow in a 39-degree high temperature with a northwest wind from 17 to 23 mph, gusting to 34 mph. Again, little to no accumulation is expected.

Code Purple details

Hospitals and police will also be looking for the needy who should be routed to Code Purple sanctuaries in Dover and Smyrna, Ms. Martin said.

Admissions will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday and continue through Tuesday morning where needed. A high of 20 degrees is forecast for daytime on Monday. Martin Luther King Jr. Day will mean many businesses are closed, heightening the need for indoor stays somewhere.

“Sunday night is going to be horrible because everything is going to freeze and we’ll wake up Monday morning with gusting winds with a possible minus-10 degree wind chill,” Ms. Martin said.

Women and children can report to Marantha Church at 1235 E. Division St. in Dover, men to Wyoming Methodist Church at 216 Wyoming Mill Road. Transportation will be available at the Dover Public Library beginning at 4:30 p.m. On Monday, Peoples Church at 26 S. Bradford St. opens at 5 p.m.

Smyrna’s Centennial Church at 44 E. Mount Vernon St. opens at 5 p.m. Sunday for men only.

“We are ready, we have plenty of food, water, socks, hand warmers and supplies – we are ready,” Ms. Martin said.

AAA described the weather arriving as a “one-two-storm punch followed by the coldest temperatures of the season. The first punch (was) a fast-moving clipper system arriving Thursday night into Friday and the second, more intense system, is Winter Storm Harper, which is set to snarl travel over the holiday weekend Saturday into Sunday across the Delaware Valley.”

Readying for roadside assistance calls, AAA cautioned that vehicle batteries are 35 percent weaker at 32 degrees, and loses about 60 percent of strength in zero degrees. An engines needs twice as much power to start, and quicker battery drains are caused by plugged in devices including cell phone chargers, upgraded audio and GPS devices.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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