Winter storm heading toward Delaware

DOVER — Delaware’s weather is notoriously tough to predict with a sense of accuracy, that much is certain.

Dover Police Department said as much on Wednesday, citing “many conflicting forecasts for the weekend” with a variance of 1 to 3 inches of snow to a foot of the white stuff.

Regardless, the Delaware Department of Transportation urged residents to stock up on supplies early and avoid the rush on Friday.

Department of Transportation crews often apply brine, a mixture of salt and water, on roads — such as this one in Harrington Wednesday — days before a snow event. While the water may evaporate, the remaining salt granules settle into the crevices of the road surface, adhering to the road, allowing vehicles to travel the road without blowing the salt into the shoulders. (Delaware State News/Andrew West)

Department of Transportation crews often apply brine, a mixture of salt and water, on roads — such as this one in Harrington Wednesday — days before a snow event. While the water may evaporate, the remaining salt granules settle into the crevices of the road surface, adhering to the road, allowing vehicles to travel the road without blowing the salt into the shoulders. (Delaware State News/Andrew West)

“We encourage people to get their supplies today,” DelDOT spokesman Jim Westhoff said.

The National Weather Service forecast “with high confidence” a major winter storm running from late Friday through Saturday night. But the service admitted “lower confidence in the details.”

A winter storm watch advisory was released Wednesday afternoon.

The NWS issued three potential snow accumulation models, with the most likely scenario forecasting possibly 8 to 10 in Kent and New Castle counties, and tapering off to two inches at most in northern Sussex County.

The most severe snowstorm possibility, according to the NWS, could bring 13 inches to New Castle County and 10 to 13 inches in Kent County, with 1 to 2 inches in Sussex County.

The forecast covered Delaware, New Jersey and northeast Maryland. It speculated on the chance for a significant snow accumulation, especially inland from the coast, along with possible high winds.

“Snow late Friday should mix with or change to rain or sleet for a time Saturday morning,” according to the NWS. “Especially along the coast, any sleet or rain should change back to snow Saturday afternoon.

“Gusty northeast winds could produce blowing and drifting snow, mainly in areas where the snow is wet.”

The NWS communicated that 60 mph wind gusts along coastal areas were possible Saturday morning.

A high probability for moderate to major coastal flooding during a high tide cycle including the Delaware Bay, Atlantic coasts of Delaware and New Jersey were possible.

Off the roadways

When it comes to driving in the snow, DelDOT advised “don’t” unless absolutely necessary. Snow plow drivers report the most dangerous obstacle to maintaining safe and clear roadways are other vehicles bringing collision

DOVER PLANS On Wednesday, the Dover Police Department said it will continue normal patrol operations throughout the duration of the storm and has a fleet of four-wheel drive vehicles prepared to continue to serve the City of Dover. The following streets must be cleared of parked vehicles within one hour of the first snowfall: State, Division and Water street and Governors Avenue. Vehicles not moved are subject to ticketing and towing at the owner’s expense by the Dover Police Department. Dover residents must clear their sidewalks of snow within 24 hours after final snowfall. This code is strictly enforced by Dover Inspections/Code Enforcement. The city is requesting residents to NOT leave trash cans and other items on the curb/sidewalks to allow room for the plows to clear the roadways without obstacles. If possible, do not park on any roadsides to allow plows the ability to properly clear roadways, the city said.

DOVER PLANS
On Wednesday, the Dover Police Department said it will continue normal patrol operations throughout the duration of the storm and has a fleet of four-wheel drive vehicles prepared to continue to serve the City of Dover.
The following streets must be cleared of parked vehicles within one hour of the first snowfall: State, Division and Water street and Governors Avenue. Vehicles not moved are subject to ticketing and towing at the owner’s expense by the Dover Police Department.
Dover residents must clear their sidewalks of snow within 24 hours after final snowfall. This code is strictly enforced by Dover Inspections/Code Enforcement.
The city is requesting residents to NOT leave trash cans and other items on the curb/sidewalks to allow room for the plows to clear the roadways without obstacles.
If possible, do not park on any roadsides to allow plows the ability to properly clear roadways, the city said.

possibilities.

On Wednesday, DelDOT continued to drop a brine mix of salt and water that can remain effective in limiting roadway snow accumulation for four or five days.

Mr. Westhoff suggested those shoveling snow out of their driveway push to the right to coordinate with the direction of plows moving it away.

DelDOT employees were advised of possible late duty needs from Friday into Saturday, while all the snow clearing equipment was checked for readiness, from snow plows and front end loaders, right down to the windshield wiper blades.

So far, a mild winter has been easy on the state’s budget and thousands of tons of salt are available to drop.

The state transportation agency isn’t in the meteorology business, and Mr. Westhoff said the National Weather Service provides valuable forecasting insight and updates.

Also, weather stations throughout the state monitor conditions including air, road, and subsurface temperatures, with the Transportation Management Center in Smyrna staffed 24 hours a day to evaluate current conditions and appropriate responses.

Sanaa Dudley, of Smyrna, relished Sunday’s dusting of snow, the possible appetizer for what Mother Nature could serve up this weekend. The 11-year-old convinced her mother into letting her out of the car Sunday so she could play in season’s first snow for a few minutes at the Legislative Mall. Depending on which forecast you believe, Dover could get anywhere from a couple of inches to a foot Friday into Saturday. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

Sanaa Dudley, of Smyrna, relished Sunday’s dusting of snow, the possible appetizer for what Mother Nature could serve up this weekend. The 11-year-old convinced her mother into letting her out of the car Sunday so she could play in season’s first snow for a few minutes at the Legislative Mall. Depending on which forecast you believe, Dover could get anywhere from a couple of inches to a foot Friday into Saturday. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

In December 2015, DelDOT announced a Snow Plow Tracker program that included Global Positioning System sensors in the state’s more than 330 plows, allowing residents to monitor their real time locations via smart phone or computer for free.

The application cost $22,440. DelDOT touted it as way to better inform the public of DelDOT’s operations during winter storms.

More features are expected to be added in the coming years, DelDOT said.

The application is available for download by searching “DelDOT” at Google Play and Apple App stores. DelDOT’s interactive map is available at www.deldot.gov.

Remember the pets

The city of Dover’s Animal Control Officer said checks on animals outdoors would be made to ensure that shelter laws are observed. While best practice includes bringing a pet inside, officials said, outside shelters must have “three solid sides and a roof with fresh water at all times (not frozen).

“Wood chips are a good base layer for bedding, as blankets can absorb moisture when outdoors and can actually make your pet colder.”

Detected ordinance violations could bring seizure of pets, and state law offense result in criminal charges. Animal cruelty reports can be called into the City of Dover at 736-7111, officials said.

CODE PURPLE INFO People seeking shelter through Code Purple conditions can dial 211 from any phone. An intake-housing specialist will be available to assist between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours calls to 211 will be directed to shelters with openings. The shelter schedule, with openings at 5 p.m., include: Today: Wyoming United Methodist Church (men only); Centennial United Methodist Church (men only); Milford Community Center (women and children); Wesley United Methodist Church (women and children) At all times, snow alerts and emergency shelter time adjustments will occur as needed, officials said. Friday: Wyoming United Methodist Church (men only); Centennial United Methodist Church (men only); Milford Community Center (women and children); Christ Church (women and children) Saturday: Wyoming United Methodist Church (men only); Centennial United Methodist Church (men only); Milford Community Center (women and children); Christ Church (women and children) Sunday: Dover Presbyterian (men only); Centennial United Methodist Church (men only); Milford Community Center (women and children); Christ Church (women and children) Monday: Dover Presbyterian (men only); Centennial United Methodist Church (men only); Milford Community Center (women and children); Calvary Baptist Church (women and children) Tuesday: Dover Presbyterian (men only): Centennial United Methodist Church (men only): Milford Community Center (women and children): Calvary Baptist Church (women and children) Sanctuary addresses Centennial United Methodist Church, 44 E. Mount Vernon St., Smyrna Calvary Baptist, Fulton and New streets, Dover Christ Church, 523 S. State St., Dover Dover Presbyterian Church, 54 S. State St., Dover, (entrance is on Reed Street) Milford Community Center, 105 N.E. Front St., Milford Wesley United Methodist Church, 15 E. North St., Dover. Go to the building in church parking lot, purple light is on outside on North Street. Wyoming, United Methodist Church, 216 Wyoming Mill Road, Dover • Morning leave time is 7 a.m. for each day listed, and sanctuaries will be closed as of 7 a.m. Wednesday unless further notice is given. Free meals at soup kitchens are available 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the following: Monday: Calvary Baptist, 410 Fulton St., Dover. Tuesday: Mount Zion AME Church, 101 N. Queen St., Dover. Wednesday through Saturday: Salvation Army at 611 Forest St., Dover. Sunday: Dover Public Library, 35 E. Loockerman St. Financial donations to Code Purple should be mailed to 412 N. Governors Ave., Dover 19904. Items needed, according to Code Purple’s Facebook page, include long underwear tops and bottoms, socks, hooded sweatshirts, sweat pants,hand warmers, feet warmers, hats, scarves and gloves.

CODE PURPLE INFO
People seeking shelter through Code Purple conditions can dial 211 from any phone. An intake-housing specialist will be available to assist between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours calls to 211 will be directed to shelters with openings.
The shelter schedule, with openings at 5 p.m., include:
Today: Wyoming United Methodist Church (men only); Centennial United Methodist Church (men only); Milford Community Center (women and children); Wesley United Methodist Church (women and children)
At all times, snow alerts and emergency shelter time adjustments will occur as needed, officials said.
Friday: Wyoming United Methodist Church (men only); Centennial United Methodist Church (men only); Milford Community Center (women and children); Christ Church (women and children)
Saturday: Wyoming United Methodist Church (men only); Centennial United Methodist Church (men only); Milford Community Center (women and children); Christ Church (women and children)
Sunday: Dover Presbyterian (men only); Centennial United Methodist Church (men only); Milford Community Center (women and children); Christ Church (women and children)
Monday: Dover Presbyterian (men only); Centennial United Methodist Church (men only); Milford Community Center (women and children); Calvary Baptist Church (women and children)
Tuesday: Dover Presbyterian (men only): Centennial United Methodist Church (men only): Milford Community Center (women and children): Calvary Baptist Church (women and children)
Sanctuary addresses
Centennial United Methodist Church, 44 E. Mount Vernon St., Smyrna
Calvary Baptist, Fulton and New streets, Dover
Christ Church, 523 S. State St., Dover
Dover Presbyterian Church, 54 S. State St., Dover, (entrance is on Reed Street)
Milford Community Center, 105 N.E. Front St., Milford
Wesley United Methodist Church, 15 E. North St., Dover. Go to the building in church parking lot, purple light is on outside on North Street.
Wyoming, United Methodist Church, 216 Wyoming Mill Road, Dover
• Morning leave time is 7 a.m. for each day listed, and sanctuaries will be closed as of 7 a.m. Wednesday unless further notice is given.
Free meals at soup kitchens are available 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the following:
Monday: Calvary Baptist, 410 Fulton St., Dover.
Tuesday: Mount Zion AME Church, 101 N. Queen St., Dover.
Wednesday through Saturday: Salvation Army at 611 Forest St., Dover.
Sunday: Dover Public Library, 35 E. Loockerman St.
Financial donations to Code Purple should be mailed to 412 N. Governors Ave., Dover 19904.
Items needed, according to Code Purple’s Facebook page, include long underwear tops and bottoms, socks, hooded sweatshirts, sweat pants,hand warmers, feet warmers, hats, scarves and gloves.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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