HURRICANE WATCH for Delmarva; Officials monitor storm closely

Storm projected to skirt Delaware coast without major impact

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Smyrna, DE – Delaware emergency managers and partners continue to follow the progress of Hurricane Earl very closely, but they remain cautiously optimistic that the storm will not have significant impact on the Delmarva Peninsula and state beach areas.

However, optimism is tempered with the knowledge that this is no time for officials or the public to let their guard down. All agree that it is prudent to take precautionary preparedness measures now and to have plans and resources ready for the state and for individuals should the storm characteristics change.

Earlier today, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Hurricane Watch for the coastal regions of the peninsula, including Delaware’s beaches as far as Cape Henlopen. A hurricane watch means that the stated conditions are possible within the next 48 hours for the specified areas. According to the NWS, the designation might be downgraded to a Tropical Storm Warning as the storm progresses northward. At this time, current projections show Earl to be more than 150 miles east of Fenwick Island by Friday late morning to mid-day.

Resulting winds are predicted to be close to or at Tropical Storm strength of 39 mph with gusts up to 45 mph. They are expected to be of much lower velocity inland and will drop off significantly along the beaches by late afternoon or early evening. Although the storm’s northward progress has slowed slightly since yesterday, it is still expected to be past Delaware by Friday night.

Rain on Friday is not expected to amount to more than 1/2 to 1 inch along the beaches and less inland.

Surf and rip currents are forecasted to be strong starting late Thursday and to continue into the weekend. These conditions, coupled with possible minor to moderate tidal flooding at the high tides could result in some beach erosion.

Since this is a holiday weekend, those visiting the beaches are strongly advised to monitor weather and water conditions and to heed any orders issued regarding swimming in the ocean or Delaware Bay. Area resort beaches have already had tragedies occur this summer as swimmers were lost or injured, and beach patrols and state and local authorities are working to ensure the safety of all.

Coastal residents and businesses are urged to secure loose objects that might become projectiles as winds increase Thursday night into Friday. Lawn furniture or ornaments should be brought into shelter or tied down. Owners should enact their emergency plans for securing boats and remove objects from docks that might be subject to loss in strong winds.

Evacuations are not anticipated, but coastal residents or those who live in areas prone to flooding should review their plans for packing out, securing their homes and reaching their chosen destination. It is anticipated that most residents can remain comfortably at home, but should take advantage of this weather event to check all emergency supplies. Food and water for three to five days, flash lights, battery or crank powered radios, first aid supplies, pet supplies and some extra cash are staples to start with.

Tips and guidance on a family emergency preparedness plan and items for an emergency supply kit are available at www.dema.delaware.gov, www.delawarecitizencorps.org, www.preparede.org and www.ready.gov.