Smyrna – Given the severity of Hurricane Irene, Governor Jack Markell today expanded his mandatory evacuation order to include all persons in coastal areas. He encouraged residents to begin their evacuation immediately before the weather makes leaving more difficult, and said evacuations should be completed before 9 am on Saturday.
“There will likely come a point during the day on Saturday when winds will require us to shut the bridges over the C&D canal and concerns about flooding will require closing the Indian River Inlet Bridge,” Markell said. “People need to reach their destinations well before we reach those closure points on Saturday.”
Tolls along Route 1 have been suspended to aid in the speed of the coastal evacuation and State Police and National Guard troops are assisting DelDOT with the evacuations. Evacuation routes are posted on signs along the roads and on the state’s website – www.delaware.gov.
All businesses in evacuated areas must be closed by midnight this evening, First responders, medical services and other essential personnel, food and fuel deliveries, members of the media, public utilities and other businesses necessary to maintaining the health and safety of the people in Delaware are exempted from this requirement. All other persons are advised that they should not enter the Evacuation Areas unless absolutely necessary.
The State of Emergency and Evacuation Order does not include a driving ban, because the point of the evacuation is for people to travel away from areas of potential danger, and we are certainly urging them to do so, and to do so sooner rather than later. There may come a point this weekend when storm conditions make driving unsafe, and driving restrictions may be instituted. The Governor also closed state government offices at noon today.