Nor’easter whips state with high winds and rain

DelDOT workers use a chainsaw to cut a tree that fell on Horsepond Road in Dover on Friday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — The nor’easter that pounded Delaware all day Friday with strong winds, rain and even some snow, left its mark in the form of power outages, downed trees and limbs littering roadways.

Kay Sass, public affairs and emergency management coordinator for Dover, said the city made out well considering the strength of the storm which produced a northwest wind around 33 mph with gusts as high as 65 mph.

“We’re holding up fine,” Ms. Sass said. “There’s quite a few downed limbs around the city. We had just driven around a little bit (Friday afternoon) just to check everything out. So far, we’ve been able to maintain electric service to all of our customers.”

Ms. Sass said there was still a high level of concern heading into the overnight hours Friday night into Saturday morning.

“The biggest problem is the level of sustained winds for the length of time that we’ll have them,” she said. “The longer something blows like this over a period of time you kind of run into more issues.”

Delaware residents will get a bit of a reprieve today. The National Weather Service is calling for partly sunny skies with a high near 48 degrees.

Drivers wait as DelDOT workers uses a chainsaws to cut a tree that fell on Horsepond Road in Dover on Friday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

It will still be breezy, with a northwest wind from 23 to 25 mph and gusts as high as 41 mph. But it should be nothing like Friday.

While a high wind warning is expected to end at 6 this morning, a coastal flood warning will remain in effect until 2 a.m. Sunday for Kent County, inland Sussex County and Delaware beaches. Surges could reach up to 2½ to 3 feet today.

The National Weather Service said numerous roadways are expected to flood throughout the nor’easter. Minor to moderate property damage is possible. The tides and wave action will likely result in moderate beach erosion.

Meanwhile, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) placed its Emergency Operations Center at an Enhanced Activation Level due to weather conditions Thursday night. Those weather conditions are expected to continue into today.

“DEMA is in communication with its emergency response partners at the state, county and municipal levels in order to assist or coordinate response to any problems created by the extremely high winds and rain,” said Gary Laing, community relations officer for DEMA.

Delaware’s Department of Transportation reduced the speed limit on I-495 on Friday until further notice. In Maryland, officials closed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge twice on Friday due to the high winds.

Officials from Delaware Electric Cooperative said the high winds caused downed trees, branches and power lines across the state Friday and more were expected during the overnight hours.

“The coastal storm hasn’t just brought strong, damaging winds to our area. Temperatures are in the 30s and the wind chill is even colder,” the Delaware Electric Cooperative’s Facebook page said.

“Crews continue to restore power to members across our service territory. We expect crews to continue to respond to outages through the night as winds gust to 65 mph.”

Delmarva Power line workers were also facing the same kinds of troubles.

“In the last 24 hours, crews have restored power to more than 11,000 customers,” Delmarva Power wrote on Facebook on Friday afternoon.

“Heavy rain and winds, gusting to more than 70 mph, are bringing down trees and tree branches and causing damage to power lines and other electric equipment.”

Kent County Library at 497 S. Red Haven Lane in Dover closed Friday afternoon after high winds, heavy rains and downed trees caused power outages in the area.

Around 4,000 people were left without power from the Camden area to Frederica early Friday, but the electricity was eventually restored.

Pending restored power, the library plans to resume normal business hours today from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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