Slipping and sliding: Storm causes crashes, hazards and headaches

A shopper puts her groceries in her car’s trunk as heavy snow and wind blows in Dover on Wednesday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — While northern Delaware caught the brunt of Wednesday’s snowstorm the First State’s central area experienced difficulties from the early March weather event as well.

Delaware State Police reported 50 property damage vehicle crashes in Kent County through 3:30 p.m., five with injuries. There were 22 disabled vehicles and three traffic hazards that resulted, authorities said.

There were no incidents to report to the south in Sussex County, according to authorities.

In the north, New Castle County was the site of 60 property damage crashes, four injury crashes, 69 disabled vehicles and 24 traffic hazards.

Two men walk through Loockerman Way in downtown Dover as heavy snow and wind blows on Wednesday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

Snow totals gathered by Delaware Environmental Observing System listed 10.4 inches fell in New Castle’s Greenville, while the Middletown area received 4.2 inches. Smyrna — Kent County’s northernmost town — received 2.7 inches.

The totals dropped in the south, with west Dover seeing 1.7 inches and Woodside 1.3. Harrington and Frederica were listed as having no snow late Wednesday afternoon.

Delaware’s General Assembly was closed due to the conditions in New Castle County.

New Castle schools were closed Wednesday, along with Smyrna. Some Kent County schools let out early as the snowfall arrived.

Citing “snowfall intensifying” at 2 p.m., Gov. John Carney urged motorists to use extra caution when issuing a Level I driving warning which meant:

• Any person operating a motor vehicle shall exercise extra caution in the operation of their motor vehicle.

• Motorists are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle on the state’s roadways unless there is a significant safety, health, or business reason to do so.

A shopper carries her groceries to her car as heavy snow and wind blows in Dover on Wednesday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

“Conditions are worsening across New Castle County, and we encourage everyone to stay off the roads if possible,” Gov. Carney said. “If Delawareans have to be on the roadways, they should exercise extra caution while driving.

“DelDOT will continue to work throughout this afternoon and tonight to clear the roads.”

The driving warning was lifted at 5 p.m. as conditions improved.

“While we continue to encourage motorists to use caution, we are able to lift the driving restriction with conditions improving countywide,” Gov. Carney said.

According to the National Weather Service, Dover will see mostly sunny skies today with a high temperature of near 44 degrees and west winds up to 13 mph.

There’s a 20 percent of precipitation, with snow showers possible until 10 a.m. Friday.

Early Wednesday afternoon the Delaware Department of Transportation said the southbound right lane on Del. 1 near Dewey Beach in Sussex County was closed due to flooding.

“The Delaware Department of Transportation crews have been plowing and salting the primary and secondary roads in New Castle and Kent Counties,” according to a news release at 1:15 p.m.

“ … DelDOT crews may return to the primary roads even after operations have started on the secondary roads due to weather conditions. These conditions may be lower temperatures that produce freezing of the roadway and additional accumulations. The Department cannot guarantee when specific subdivisions will be plowed.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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