Rain, wind expected to batter state

DOVER — Hurricane Florence appears unlikely to hit Delaware directly, but residents should be prepared for plenty of rain and wind.

As of Monday evening Florence was a Category 4 storm, with wind speeds reaching 140 mph. Its impact, weather experts said, could be devastating when it makes landfall.

Dare and Hyde counties, both in North Carolina, have issued mandatory evacuation orders ahead of the storm.

Delaware appears safe — for now.

“It’s becoming more and more likely that we’re looking at landfall generally in the Carolinas,” said Sarah Johnson, a meteorologist with the NWS Mt. Holly, New Jersey, office.

The hurricane is likely to pass over land Thursday night or Friday morning and then transition into a tropical storm.

Delawareans should still expect a wet week, however, both from an unrelated weather system and from the far reaches of the storm.

“The Delaware Emergency Management Agency is closely monitoring the approach of Hurricane Florence, as well as Hurricane Isaac farther out in the Atlantic,” Gov. John Carney said in a statement Sunday. “We are communicating and coordinating with Delaware state agencies, local partners, FEMA officials, and authorities in surrounding states.

A Coast Guard crew heads out of the Indian River Inlet into the
raging Atlantic Ocean on Monday morning.

“Emergency management officials will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on any protective actions that should be taken in response to Hurricane Florence. Delawareans and visitors should be prepared in the event that Delaware feels an impact from the storm.

“It is still too early to tell what impact Delaware will experience, but it is never too early to plan and ensure you are prepared. Delawareans should visit preparede.org for tips and monitor your local forecasts.”

The state has already been impacted by rain: Monday saw a coastal flood warning, the result of the 4-plus inches Delaware received over the weekend.

Roads were closed Monday, and 20 roads, most of which are in Kent County, remained blocked off into today. Visit https://www.deldot.gov/About/news/index.shtml for more information about impacted roadways.

The Associated Press reported a bus carrying 45 students to William Penn High School in New Castle become stuck after the driver tried to drive through standing flood waters on Route 9 near Dobbinsville.

A tow truck pulled the bus of the water, and the students were taken to the school by another bus. The driver was ticketed for ignoring road closure warning signs.

Indian River School District instructed parents in the River Road and Delaware Avenue areas of Oak Orchard to pick up their children at the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company Monday instead of the school.

Even if the storm misses Delaware, residents are still urged to stay alert and to prepare a hurricane kit. Essential items to have in case of an emergency include at least a gallon of water per person per day, nonperishable food items, medications, a first aid kit, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, candles and batteries.

“It’s always a good idea and a good reminder to make sure that you are prepared for the Atlantic hurricane season,” which lasts through November, Ms. Johnson said.

 

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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