Storm causes closings; Dagsboro woman dies in Del. 1 crash

A Bobcat pushes snow at Brecknock Park in Camden during Wednesday’s snowstorm, which was less severe than expected by most accounts. Snow fell heavily for several hours in the late morning, but Downstate was largely spared. Smyrna recorded 2.3 inches and Woodside got only about a inch. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — Though snow fell heavily for several hours in the late morning on Wednesday — mostly in the north part and middle of the state — the winter storm was less severe than expected by most accounts.

A 35-year-old Dagsboro woman died after losing control of her vehicle in the snow on Del. 1 in New Castle County shortly after 1 p.m., according to state police.

Police said the driver, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle, was traveling northbound on the curved portion of Del. 1, just north of New Discovery Road. The driver lost control on the snow-covered roadway, at which time the vehicle slid off the east edge of the roadway and down a snow covered grass embankment, entering into a retention pond.

Police said the vehicle became completely submerged in the water and the victim was unable to exit the vehicle. The victim was extricated from the vehicle by rescue divers, and then transported to Christiana Hospital, where she was pronounced deceased.
Identification of the victim is pending notification of next of kin.

Delaware State Police responded at approximately 1:06 p.m., and were also joined by the Port Penn Fire Company. The patient was transported via an Odessa Fire Company ambulance, accompanied by New Castle County EMS.

DelDOT spokesman C.R. McLeod said the storm underperformed according to the earlier forecasts and moved out sooner than expected.

“With temperatures rising we aren’t anticipating any further freezing problems especially in the lower part of the state, and temperatures will climb into the 50’s on Thursday,” Mr. McLeod said.

Jerry Hubbard shovels the sidewalk at Caesar Rodney High School on Wednesday.

In Kent and New Castle counties, the accumulation totals roughly lived up to expectations. New Castle County was hit the hardest with totals between 2 inches and over 3 inches throughout, according to the Delaware Environmental Observing System (DEOS).

Kent County saw the most snow around Smyrna, which reported 2.3 inches of accumulation, but it saw less further south with Woodside reporting about an inch. By DEOS’s totals, Sussex County came out of the winter storm relatively unscathed, reporting only “trace” amounts of snow accumulation in the Laurel area. The highest accumulation recorded in the state was in Hockessin with 3.4 inches.

Despite conditions not being as hazardous as originally predicted, the storm still took a toll on the First State. Schools, businesses and government buildings throughout the state either closed for the day or shut their doors early on account of travel conditions. The Delaware State Police reported a number of weather related accidents as well.

Windshield wipers are lifted on a snow covered car in Bowers Beach on Wednesday.

Master Cpl. Melissa Jaffe noted that there were several dozen accidents reported statewide on Wednesday related to weather conditions. Again for Sussex County there was only a single “disabled vehicle” incident reported.

With higher snowfall totals, Kent and New Castle counties fared worse.

Ten property damage accidents, five personal injury accidents, one disabled vehicle and one “traffic hazard” were reported in Kent County, said the state police.

Three personal injury accidents and 26 property damage accidents were reported in New Castle County.

Warming up

While the hazardous weather outlook and winter storm warnings were dropped for Kent and Sussex counties mid-day on Wednesday, they remained in effect for New Castle County into the evening. Scattered rain throughout the state remains likely through this morning, but temperatures are expected to pick back up today, according to National Weather Service in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

Rain may continue up until around 8 a.m., but clouds are expected to begin clearing mid-morning followed by an increase in temperatures to a high of 54 degrees.

Staff writer Ian Gronau can be reached at 741-8272 or igronau@newszap.com

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