Level 1 driving warning for Sussex, storm conditions to worsen today

Delawareans are waking up to blowing and drifting snow, increasing winds and a forecast that calls for conditions to worsen today.

Gov. John Carney has issued a Level 1 Driving Warning for Sussex County, which means that any person operating a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways must exercise extra caution. Driving is not banned, but motorists are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle unless there is a significant safety, health or business reason to do so.

State offices are closed in all three counties along with most municipal and county government facilities, public school districts and some private businesses. The state department of transportation, which reported 6 inches of accumulation in Sussex, said its snow-removal crews were “fully mobilized” and public transportation buses were running on a delay in Kent and New Castle counties. DART services in Sussex have been cancelled.

Bayhealth announced this morning that it has normal operations at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus and Milford Memorial Hospital as well as Bayhealth Emergency Center, Smyrna, but many satellite locations are closed. Beebe Healthcare had closed its satellite locations for today.

The National Weather Service, which raised its predictions Wednesday evening to include a blizzard warning for coastal Delaware, increased flooding warnings and snowfall totals, has a coastal flood advisory in effect until 2 p.m. The winter storm warning is in effect for parts of Kent County until 5 p.m. today and the blizzard warning remains in effect in Sussex County until 7 p.m.

Its forecast for the Dover area, where temperatures were 24 degrees – the high for today, called for: Snow, mainly before 1 p.m. Areas of blowing snow and northwest winds of 21 to 26 mph with gusts as high as 39. The 100 percent chance of precipitation could bring 3 to 5 additional inches of snow.

For the Georgetown area, the forecast called for a high of 29, northwest winds of 39 to 44 mph and gusts as high as 65. The 100 percent chance of precipitation could bring 5 to 9 more inches of snow.


A special weather statement from the weather service for Delaware’s beaches and inland to Georgetown said, “Near blizzard conditions developing this morning along coastal New Jersey and Delaware and unnecessary travel is highly discouraged this morning. Snow was intensifying and spreading ashore across coastal New Jersey and coastal Delaware. Visibilities at 5:45 a.m. were already one quarter to one half mile and will occasionally drop below a quarter mile in heavy snow and blowing snow. Northerly winds will frequently gust over 40 miles an hour…to possibly as high as 60 miles an hour within a mile of the Atlantic. Snow will taper off during mid or late afternoon but potentially severe blowing and drifting will continue tonight through Friday evening as temperatures plunge and wind chills drop to 5 below zero.”

Forecasters expected 8-12 inches for most of Sussex County, 6-8 inches in Kent County and 4-6 inches in New Castle County starting Wednesday evening and continuing into this morning.


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