The notoriously unpredictable weather in Delaware makes it necessary for state agencies to prepare for more snow than is forecast this weekend, officials from various state agencies say.
Carolann Wicks, secretary of The Delaware Department of Transportation, said her department is ready for the storm. “In Sussex County, our crews spent yesterday applying brine, which is a salt and water mixture,” Wicks said. “Today, we are switching over vehicles so they can apply only salt, and we are also studying the weather forecasts.”
Wicks said DelDOT equipment and materials have been fixed and replenished since the mid-December snow storm. “Since that storm, our people been working hard to replenish the salt stockpiles and make repairs on the vehicles. The tanks are full and we’re ready. Drivers, mechanics, dispatchers and supervisors have been told to be ready, and I am confident that if needed, the people at DelDOT will once again do an outstanding job.”
DelDOT supervisors will decide about when, and if, to call in crews, as the storm comes nearer.
As of Friday morning, the National Weather Service is forecasting that Delaware will not see much, if any, snow accumulation from the storm heading across from the mid-South. Sussex County is expected to receive, at most, only one to two inches with accumulation decreasing on the northern edges of the storm track across the county. Some southern areas might see up to four inches, others only a dusting. No accumulation is expected from mid-Kent and north to New Castle County.
The Delaware Department of Emergency Management (DEMA) reminded the public to be aware of road conditions before traveling. “Even a light layer or dusting of snow can affect steering and stopping,” said spokesperson Rosanne Pack.
Pack said that state officials will continue to monitor the storm’s progress and will stay in communication with other state officials, local emergency management agencies and responders “The public should be aware that regardless of the nature of this approaching storm, it is a good time to review personal emergency plans, including supplies for a three- to five-day period when travel and utilities might be affected. Food and water supplies should always include special dietary and medical needs for household members and food and sanitation supplies for pets,” Pack said.
Although this weather event might not cause much disruption, it is still early in the winter season and everyone should be prepared for additional and perhaps more fierce and disruptive storms.
Frigid temperatures in the low 20s and some teens will be a safety factor in the next few days and can affect people and pets.
Prolonged exposure to bare skin is to be avoided. Appropriate clothing should be worn for any outdoor activity, with special attention given to keeping ears, fingers and feet covered, dry and warm. Children playing outdoors should be monitored closely and they should be brought in for frequent warm-ups. Adequate shelter and fresh water must be provided for pets if they cannot be brought indoors. Even a garage, if it is unheated, may not ensure a pet’s safety.
For those who have adequate food and water supplies and who have battery or crank powered lights and radios, it is always a good idea to check on the safety of neighbors when possible.
Even though snow fall totals for this storm are not expected to be as significant as the last, motorists are still urged to use caution and common sense, said Andrea Summers, spokesperson for the Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS). “What concerns us is that this weather event is happening on a weekend when more people have the availability to be on the roads – yet that doesn’t mean they should be.”
Summers said people should stay off the roads if they don’t have to go out for several reasons: 1) it gives transportation crews time to treat the road surfaces and clear them 2) the chance for being involved in a crash in inclement weather is greater than normal 3) your vehicle may become disabled creating a danger for yourself and other motorists. This also puts our emergency responders who must assist motorists at unnecessary risk in conditions that are more dangerous than usual.
“If you must go out please use extreme caution and drive at speeds slower than normal that are consistent with the changing weather conditions,” Summers said.