Governor Markell issues limited state of emergency for Sussex County, Level 1 driving warning

DELAWARE –With significant snowfall accumulating in Sussex County, Governor Markell has issued a Limited State of Emergency and Level 1 Driving Warning for Delaware’s southernmost county effective at 8:00 a.m. today. [See text of the Governor’s order below and attached.]

According to state law, a “Level 1 Driving Warning” means that any person operating a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways must exercise extra caution. All nonessential employees, public and private, are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle unless there is a significant safety, health, or business reason to do so.

With snow accumulation forecasted throughout the state, the Governor also urges all Delawareans to drive cautiously as conditions can result in poor visibility and icy roads.

By issuing a State of Emergency, the Governor authorizes the National Guard, in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), to take precautionary or responsive actions and directs the Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to, if necessary, order bridge and road closures to protect public health and safety. After working through the night Thursday to limit ice on the roadways statewide during Friday’s light snowfall, DelDOT crews reported in Sussex County at 2:00 a.m. today to begin salting and plowing operations.

“Heavy winds and below freezing temperatures overnight and into this morning have made this a challenging storm and it is important for Delawareans in Sussex County to recognize the hazardous driving conditions resulting from this snowfall,” said Governor Markell. “I urge people in Sussex County to stay off the roads whenever possible to help keep everyone safe and to allow for DelDOT as well as emergency and health officials to do their jobs as effectively as possible. We will continue to monitor conditions in Sussex as well as in Kent and New Castle Counties, and consult with emergency management and transportation officials about when it is appropriate to issue updated orders.”

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Sussex County effective through 6:00 p.m., noting the potential for near-blizzard conditions near the beaches and for strong wind gusts up to 35 miles power to cause snow drifts that blow snow more than a foot. Snowfall of about 5-9 inches is possible, with highest amounts expected along the coast. A Winter Storm Warning is also in effect through 6:00 p.m. in Kent County, though less snowfall is anticipated. A Winter Storm Advisory is in effect in New Castle County until 4:00 p.m.

Real-time snowplow tracker and road condition information can be found through DelDOT app or by going to www.deldot.gov/map.

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