Information provided by Sussex County, DE Emergency Operations Center
5 p.m. Fri., Sept. 2, 2016
An unwelcomed guest is threatening to ruin more than summer’s last hurrah, as Tropical Storm Hermine is expected to breeze into the region this Labor Day weekend and then linger about, bringing with it up to 5 inches of rain, 50 mph winds, major beach erosion, dangerous rip currents and moderate to severe flooding that could batter coastal communities over several days.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service expect the storm to make its way off the southeast U.S. coast by early Saturday, after raking the Florida Panhandle and the Carolinas with torrential rains, damaging winds, and rough surf. Once off shore, though, it could sit and spin, putting Sussex County and the rest of the Mid-Atlantic through a wash-rinse-and-repeat cycle that will see waves of heavy rain, rough surf and gusty winds push ashore through at least Labor Day.
The National Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm warning for Sussex County until further notice. The storm’s projected track just off the Delmarva Peninsula, where it is forecast to stall, could mean days of strong onshore winds piling up water along Delaware’s beaches and inland bays, likely flooding low-lying areas and cutting off access in some places.
At this time, no evacuations have been ordered, and no shelters have been designated. However, the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center, which is actively monitoring the situation, is cautioning those in vulnerable areas to be ready and think about relocating to higher ground, if necessary.
“Sussex County may escape a direct hit, but the prolonged effects of this storm may be just as bad if not worse,” Sussex County EOC Director Joseph L. Thomas said. “Two to three days of rain, winds and tidal surge could really cause a lot of trouble for the beaches and low-lying communities. If this storm parks itself off our doorstep, whether it’s a direct hit or a glancing blow it really doesn’t matter. We’ll have flooding, wind damage, road closures, power outages, everything you would expect. The public should prepare now for those likely possibilities.”
The Sussex County EOC encourages residents and visitors to continue monitoring the forecast and conditions as they deteriorate.Sussex County cautions those planning to visit the area for the long holiday weekend to carefully monitor conditions and adjust accordingly. Campers in area parks should also monitor the forecasts, and be prepared to leave if ordered to do so.
Areas that historically flood, including Long Neck, Broadkill Beach and Primehook, could see moderate to severe flooding through at least Labor Day with tides as much as 2 to 4 feet above normal.
Conditions are expected to begin deteriorating Saturday morning and could last through at least Sunday evening, if not longer. All will depend on how much the storm re-strengthens and what track it takes – if it takes a more easterly track away from the coast, the effects of wind, rains and flooding likely would lessen.
Residents, visitors and property owners should take time now to secure loose objects, such as lawn chairs and trash cans, to prevent winds from turning those items into projectiles. Also, residents and visitors in low-lying areas should make sure submersible pumps are working and check storm drains to ensure they are clear of debris.
For updates, stay tuned to local television and radio stations, as well as the Sussex County website at www.sussexcountyde.gov. The public also should monitor the National Weather Service, at www.weather.gov/phi and the National Hurricane Center at www.nhc.noaa.gov for the latest forecasts.
DelDOT Prepares for Labor Day Weekend Storm and Possible Flooding
The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) officials continue to monitor this weekend’s forecast of Tropical Storm Hermine. The storm is projected to produce heavy rain, wind gusts, and tidal flooding over the next few days. DelDOT encourages the public to use caution if traveling on the roadways, to respect necessary barricades and follow detour routes if implemented during or after the storm. Never enter a roadway that is flooded.
DelDOT’s maintenance and traffic crews are pre-checking trucks and necessary equipment and will be on call as needed throughout the event. DelDOT’s crews will be prepared to remove debris along the roadway; clear storm drains and grates to help reduce the potential of flooding; place portable signs and barricades if roadways become flooded, and activate generators if traffic signals lose power.
Because the storm is expected to initially impact Sussex County, motorists should be alert to the possibility that traffic along SR 1 between Dewey Beach and Fenwick Island and on the Charles W. Cullen Bridge over the Indian River Inlet on SR 1 could be restricted due to flooding and high winds.
Evacuation routes are posted on DelDOT’s website http://www.deldot.gov/information/projects/tmt/evac_map.shtml
DART and Paratransit Services
DART First State buses remain on schedule in all three counties. DART and Paratransit customers are urged to stay tuned to weather reports and be prepared for service interruptions should weather conditions worsen. In the event of any service interruption, DART will issue Rider Alerts to riders who subscribe to the service. For further information www.DARTfirststate.com
Motorists can adjust their routes or travel times by using DelDOT’s Smartphone application. The DelDOT App is available for Apple & Android smart phones and tablets, and can be downloaded free at the Apple and Google Play stores or go to www.DelDOT.gov and click on the link to stores.
Those interested can view video of “Live Traffic” conditions in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties athttp://www.DelDOT.gov/information/travel_advisory
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