(Smyrna) – A Winter Storm Warning, issued by the National Weather Service (NWS), remains in effect for New Castle and Kent Counties until 4:00pm today, March 3rd. Sussex County is also under a Winter Storm Warning until 6:00pm today.
Governor Jack Markell issued a State of Emergency and a Level 1 Driving Warning, both of which went into effect at midnight. Delaware law states, a “Level 1 Driving Warning” means that any person operating a motor vehicle when a Level 1 Driving Warning has been activated shall exercise extra caution in the operation of their motor vehicle. Nonessential employees, regardless of whether employed by a public or private entity, are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle on the State’s roadways when a Level 1 Driving Warning has been activated, unless there is a significant safety, health or business reason to do so.”
Sunday afternoon, Governor Markell issued an Executive Order authorizing the Delaware National Guard, as directed by the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) to take precautionary or responsive actions upon request by local authorities. DEMA activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as of 8:00pm, Sunday night. The EOC activation brings multiple response agencies together with DEMA serving as the coordinating lead agency. DEMA is working along with other emergency response agencies across the state to monitor conditions caused by the winter storm and take appropriate action.
State of Delaware offices are closed today, during regular business hours 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Non-essential employees are not to report to work for this period. Essential employees are to report as scheduled.
The forecast still calls for New Castle and Kent Counties to see 6-10 inches of snow from the storm. Inland Sussex County is forecast at 4-8 inches of snow with lesser amounts at coastal areas. Snow will fall moderate to heavy at times before ending late afternoon. Winds will be 10-15 MPH with gusts up to 25 MPH in New Castle and Kent Counties. Slightly higher winds are expected in Sussex County, with gusts up to 35 MPH.
Road and weather conditions will have varying impacts on the morning rush hour. Motorists should allow extra time for their morning commute, reduce speeds, and use extreme caution while driving. The speed limit on Interstate 495 in New Castle County has been reduced to 45 MPH. DelDOT is plowing and salting roadways in New Castle County, and watching conditions downstate.
All public schools in Delaware are closed today. The University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Wilmington University, Wesley College, and Delaware Technical and Community College are also closed.
Near-record cold weather will follow the storm on Monday, as temperatures in some portions of the state could be in the single digits Monday night and overnight until Tuesday.