Storm brought significant flooding to coast, bay beaches

 

DOVER — Gov. Jack Markell said he continues to be worried about flooding after taking a helicopter tour of Sussex County.

“The crews are out there,” he said. “They’re continuing to work to get people prepared for the work week, but we’re concerned about the flooding along the southern coast around our bay beaches.

He, along with a bevy of state officials, held the conference at Bethany Beach after a helicopter tour of flooded coastal areas.

“For Prime Hook we need to evaluate what needs to be done as soon as possible,” he said. “The work has to be done.”

Tony Pratt, shoreline administrator for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said the dunes suffered dramatic loses during the storm.

“The most damage was done to our urbanized beaches of Bethany and Rehoboth,” he said. “We had protection before the storm. But most of the dunes were damaged on these beaches.”

Mr. Pratt said he hopes to start working on restoring the dunes as soon as possible.

“We’re hoping to get on it right away,” he said. “When the waves are down, we’ll bring it back to build that mound that we need. In the middle of the week we should be able to bring that back up push it against the boardwalk.”

Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., also was at the conference.

“Locally, people said this may be the worse storm they’ve seen since 1962,” Sen. Carper said. “It’s concerning but it wasn’t what it was 50 years go we invested tens of millions of dollars for the dunes.

“The problems are that the oceans are rising. It was 70 degrees a few weeks ago and we need to be mindful there are outlining causes that are causing these problems too.”

The inland bays communities, such as Oak Orchard and Pot-Nets also saw significant flooding with water rising around their homes Saturday morning during a well-above normal high tide. About 50 people had to be evacuated from Oak Orchard.

The two high tide cycles that followed Saturday night and Sunday morning did not create the significant issues.

Gov. Markell also thanked everyone that had helped during the nor’easter.

About 6 p.m. Sunday night, DelDOT announced that Del. 1 had reopened from Dewey to Bethany Beach. Water was on the roadway near the Indian River Inlet bridge Saturday morning because of the rising tide.

He said about 500 Department of Transportation employees have been in rotation since 7 a.m. on Friday. “More than 250 National Guard Troops who have helped has well,” Gov. Markell said.

“We were able to address many issues. A level 1 driving warning is in effect. If you don’t have to drive then you shouldn’t.”

Gov. Markell has lifted the Level 2, more restrictive driving ban at 10 a.m. Sunday.

The state of emergency, however, remained in effect.

According to state law, a “Level 1 Driving Warning” means that any person operating a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways must exercise extra caution. “All nonessential employees, public and private, are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle unless there is a significant safety, health or business reason to do so,” Gov. Markell’s office wrote in a prepared statement.

According to state law, under the “Level 2 Driving Restriction,” no person may operate a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways, except for persons designated as “essential personnel” or who have received a waiver from the Delaware Emergency Management Agency. The following persons are specifically designated as “essential personnel” under Delaware law:

•Operators of snow removal equipment (public and private);

•Persons providing public utility services;

•Persons providing healthcare services; and

•Persons providing food and fuel deliveries.

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