Wilmington, DE – Gov. Jack Markell Wednesday afternoon ended the declared state of emergency for Hurricane Sandy. The state of emergency had remained in effect in Sussex County into Wednesday morning to provide authorization for continued evacuation zones until each area was inspected for safety and cleared by Sussex emergency officials.
Sussex officials reported at 1 p.m. that all evacuation areas had been cleared to open. Shelters in each county at Indian River High School, Dover High School and William Penn High School that had remained open Tuesday night with evacuees in them closed Wednesday morning. Emergency officials from the city of Wilmington and Sussex, New Castle and Kent counties along with the DEMA concurred with ending the emergency.
“Though we were spared the worst of Sandy, we did see significant damage in Delaware, especially in Sussex County and will be working to help those people and areas recover” Gov. Markell said. “I again express my thanks to the thousands of people from federal, state, local, private and non-profit organizations who spent the last few days away from their homes and families preparing for and responding to the storm. Their actions and expertise helped keep Delawareans safe, and I appreciate all Delawareans who heeded the warnings, evacuations and driving restrictions designed to keep them safe.”
Even with the end of the state of emergency period, the Governor provided specific authorization for the Delaware National Guard to continue providing support for storm cleanup and damage assessment operations.
On Wednesday, DelDOT, DNREC and the National Guard engaged in damage cleanup operations. DEMA, FEMA and local emergency staff performed a damage assessment tour, which begins the process of applying for potential federal disaster help. Homeowners and business owners with property damage should report that damage to their local emergency office (Wilmington, New Castle County, Kent or Sussex).
The state of emergency began Saturday night for the purpose of beginning a 24-hour evacuation period of flood-prone areas identified by local officials. On Sunday, it was modified to order closure of businesses in those evacuation areas, then to impose a Level 1 driving warning statewide Sunday afternoon. On Sunday night, it was announced a Level 2 driving restriction statewide would start early Monday morning.
As the storm passed, the Level 2 restriction was eased to the Level 1 warning Tuesday morning while maintaining evacuation zones. Then the Level 1 warning was lifted late Tuesday afternoon and the state of emergency and evacuation zones were ended in New Castle and Kent counties. And now the state of emergency remaining in effect for Sussex evacuation areas ended as well.