Wilmington, DE – Governor Jack Markell declared a State of Emergency covering the entire state of Delaware effective at 8:00 pm today, with vehicles ordered off the roads as of 10 p.m.
Conditions are expected to intensify with heavy snowfall and strong winds that will make driving exceptionally dangerous. Given the anticipated strength of this storm, DelDOT crews are expected to concentrate on major arteries for plowing, initially leaving many secondary roads unattended.
As of 10 p.m. tonight and until further notice, the emergency declaration allows only emergency vehicles and essential personnel on the roads until further notice. The Governor will evaluate the conditions of the roads after the storm passes on Saturday morning to determine how long this restriction will remain in place.
Private sector businesses are strongly urged to consider the safety of their employees and the restriction of travel during the storm when deciding whether to remain operating. Abandoned vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense.
“For your safety, the safety of our emergency personnel, and the safety of all Delawareans, drivers should stay off the roads once this storm begins and intensifies,” Markell said. “Our state agencies have been working together to prepare for and combat the effects of this storm. Remaining off the roads helps them in this effort and is important to public safety.”
The Emergency Operations Center of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency has been activated, National Guard personnel and equipment have been placed around the state to be used if needed for emergency transportation and rescues, and plans are being made between emergency managers and the American Red Cross to open shelters throughout the state should the need arise.
The text of the declaration follows:
State of Delaware
DECLARATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY
FOR THE STATE OF DELAWARE
DUE TO A SEVERE WINTER STORM
WHEREAS, a severe winter storm with significant snowfall accumulations expected in all three counties of the State of Delaware, and blizzard conditions expected in Kent and Sussex counties has begun; and
WHEREAS, the predicted weather will likely create dangerous and life-threatening conditions and result in additional public safety responses from treacherous road conditions in all or parts of each county; and
WHEREAS, the weather conditions have the potential to cause additional safety issues to our citizens as well as damage and destruction to property; and
NOW THEREFORE, I, JACK A. MARKELL, pursuant to Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code, do hereby declare a State of Emergency for the entire State of Delaware. This State of Emergency is effective at February 5, 2010 at 8 p.m. E.S.T. and continuing until terminated as provided under state law. The nature of the emergency is heavy snowfall, potentially high winds, whiteout conditions and minor to moderate coastal flooding. Along with such other actions authorized by Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code, I specifically direct and authorize:
1. All departments and agencies of the State of Delaware shall assist in response and recovery activities, as directed by and in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, in consultation with the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security, necessary in those areas affected by the storm.
2. As of 10 p.m. February 5, 2010 and until further notice, no motor vehicles are to be operated on any road in the state of Delaware, unless such vehicles are being operated by authorized personnel responding to the State of Emergency or other emergency situations. Essential personnel who are traveling to assigned work locations for critical facilities operating on a 24/7 basis are exempt from this order and must carry credentials identifying them as employees of such facility. Private sector businesses are strongly urged to consider the safety of their employees and the restriction of travel during the storm when deciding whether to remain operating.
3. In order to enforce paragraph 2 of this Order, state and local officials are directed to remove abandoned vehicles from roads in the State of Delaware at the expense of the vehicle owner.
4. The Delaware National Guard shall take precautionary or responsive actions directed by the Director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, in consultation with the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security, upon request by local authorities.
5. Government entities subject to bidding requirements are exempted from those bidding requirements for the purpose of purchasing materials necessary for responding to this snow and wind emergency.
6. I authorize the Delaware Department of Transportation and the Delaware State Police, in consultation with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security, to order such bridge and road closures as necessary to protect the health and safety of the public.
7. The Delaware Emergency Management Agency shall activate the State Emergency Operations Plan and cooperate with federal entities in making applications, if necessary, for relief and assistance for those towns and communities adversely affected by snow, winds and coastal flooding, pursuant to the State Emergency Operations Plan of the State of Delaware and any potentially applicable federal disaster or emergency relief laws, including, but not limited to, the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. The director of DEMA, or his designee, shall be the Governor’s Authorized Representative with respect to interaction with FEMA.
8. I reserve the right to take or direct state or local authorities to take, without issuance of further written order, any other necessary actions authorized by Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code to respond to this emergency.
APPROVED this 5th day of February, 2010, at 4:45 p.m.
Jack A. Markell