Governor Carney declares state of emergency for Sussex County, plans to lift level 2 driving restrictions

Governor Carney declares state of emergency for Sussex County, level 2 driving restrictions

UPDATED at 11:30 a.m., Friday, Jan. 5: DELAWARE – Governor John Carney has terminated the Level 2 Driving Restriction in Sussex County, effective at noon. The State of Emergency will remain in effect in Sussex County until further notice to allow the Delaware National Guard to continue assisting local and state authorities with response to the winter storm.

As he lifted all driving restrictions, Governor Carney urged Delaware motorists to continue exercising caution.

“Snow and ice on roadways still pose risks, so Delawareans should exercise caution while driving,” said Governor Carney. “Thank you to everyone at the Delaware Department of Transportation, the Delaware National Guard, and all local and state authorities for their work responding to this storm. I also want to thank Delawareans across Sussex County for their patience as we worked to clear the roadways.”

Original release

With roadway conditions continuing to deteriorate, Governor Carney on Thursday issued a State of Emergency for Sussex County and Level 2 Driving Restriction. The State of Emergency for Sussex County took effect at 2:00 p.m., and the Level 2 Driving Restriction took effect at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 4. Governor Carney also authorized the Delaware National Guard to assist state and local officials with any necessary response and recovery for this severe winter storm.

A Level 1 Driving Warning had been in effect across Sussex County since 7:30 a.m.

The Level 2 Driving Restriction means that no person may operate a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways, except for persons designated as “essential personnel.”

“This is a serious storm, and Delawareans across Sussex County should stay off the roadways as conditions continue to worsen,” said Governor Carney. “That will help personnel from the Delaware Department of Transportation more effectively clear the roadways, and help us provide services to our neighbors most in need.”

Under Delaware law, the term “essential personnel” means employees or personnel who are necessary (1) to maintain the core functions of government, and (2) to maintain the health and safety of the people of Delaware.  The following persons are specifically designated as “essential personnel” under Delaware law:

  • Operators of snow removal equipment (public and private);
  • Persons providing public utility services;
  • Persons providing healthcare services; and
  • Persons providing food and fuel deliveries.

In addition to the above, employers who fall outside the above categories may apply for a waiver from the Level 2 Driving Restriction from the Delaware Emergency Management Agency.  Waivers will be granted when a significant safety, health or business necessity is shown.

Waivers must be obtained in advance of emergency incidents. No waiver application will be granted within 21 days after receipt of the application for waiver, and applications will not be processed for approval during an emergency period. Employers already granted a waiver by DEMA may also continue to travel if necessary.

Updated information from the National Weather Service indicates the following for Delaware:

New Castle County

  • A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until Thursday, January 4, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Expect occasionally heavy snow and blowing snow through mid afternoon, with snow accumulations of 4 to 7 inches.
  • Strong winds may cause power outages.

Kent County

  • A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until Thursday, January 4, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Expect occasionally moderate snow and blowing snow through early this afternoon, with snow accumulations of 4 to 7 inches.
  • Tree branches could fall.
  • Strong winds may cause power outages.
  • A Coastal Flood Advisory remains in effect until 2:00 p.m.

Sussex County

  • A Blizzard Warning remains in effect until Thursday, January 4, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Expect occasional blizzard conditions snow and blowing snow through mid or late afternoon, with snow accumulations of 8 to 12 inches.
  • Tree branches could fall.
  • Strong winds may cause power outages.
  • A Coastal Flood Advisory remains in effect until 2:00 p.m.

A Code Purple has been declared across the state to assist Delawareans in need of shelter. To be connected to Code Purple resources, call Delaware 2-1-1 or click the Code Purple button at www.delaware211.org. Or call the Delaware Housing Alliance’s Centralized Intake Line at 302-654-0126, ext. 112. If you see someone outside who appears to be homeless, encourage them to seek emergency shelter or call a non-emergency police number to alert the police to the situation.

The Delaware Division of Public Health reminds residents to protect themselves and animals during the winter storm.

From DelDOT: Road Conditions Update:

In Sussex County, DelDOT is advising residents that this will be a prolonged clean up event due to the high winds, drifting snow, and extremely cold temperatures. DelDOT will continue to focus its efforts on plowing primary roads.

While Kent and New Castle Counties have seen lesser snow accumulations, high winds and drifting snow are still a hazard and motorists should be cautious of icy conditions due to the below freezing temperatures. DelDOT snow plows remain active in plowing and treating primary roadways.

DelDOT will continue to provide regular updates throughout the duration of the storm event.

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