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Winter storm watch to begin Friday night

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Storm to bring snow, rain, flooding

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch from late Friday, Jan. 22, into Sunday, Jan. 24, for New Castle, Kent and inland Sussex counties.

Heavy snow is expected to sweep through Delaware this weekend, with more than a foot of snow expected near the Interstate 95 corridor.

Snow is expected to begin Friday night, increase Saturday and taper off Sunday morning.

Accu Weather senior meteorologist Tom Kines said Jan. 20 that Delaware will be hardest hit on Saturday, with most accumulation seen in New Castle County.

Because of warm ocean temperatures, he said, coastal Sussex County may see less snow fall than surrounding areas, with maybe 3 or 4 inches, compared to 8 or 9 inches expected for New Castle County.

"As far as big winter storms go, this is taking a pretty typical path," he said. "The big issue with this storm is it's going to affect the major cities in the east - D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and up into Boston."

Kines said the Washington, D.C.-area is in line for a least a foot of snow, and as of Jan. 20, the storm was slowing down as it passed over the Rocky Mountains.

The National Weather Service has also issued a coastal flood watch from 4 a.m., Jan. 23, to midnight, Jan. 24, and a high wind watch from midnight, Jan. 23, to midnight, Jan. 24. Wind gusts could reach as high as 55 mph, said the weather service.

Along the coast, Kines said, the major concern is going to be high winds, beach erosion and possible flooding, primarily on Saturday, Jan. 23. Northeast winds will blow 30 to 40 mph along the coast, he said, while inland areas will see more blizzard-like conditions.

Saturday may see a mix of snow and rain, which Kines said will produce slick roads and possible flooding in poorly drained areas.

"This type of storm has happened before," he said. "We've been living the good life here so far this winter."

Sussex County Emergency Operations Center Director Joe Thomas said planning is underway to tackle whatever this weekend's storm brings.

"One of the issues I'm concerned with is the last forecast we saw projected significant coastal flooding," he said Jan. 20. "That, on top of the wind forecast coming off the coast, could create some problems for us."

Thomas and Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan said statewide agencies are planning and watching forecasts closely. In New

Castle County, DelDOT crews were beginning salt preparations for a light snowfall expected during the night Jan. 20.

"For anyone that's from this area, this is a typical winter storm," Thomas said. "It could be raining right along the coastline, and in Georgetown we could see a mixture of snow, rain and sleet. On the western side of the county, it could be all snow. We have to be prepared for all scenarios across the board."

Thomas and Kines said anyone with weekend travel plans should re-evaluate, and Delmarva residents who do not need to be out in the elements should avoid driving during the storm. Thomas said residents should also be aware of flooded areas, and avoid driving through high water.

For more information as the storm develops, go to accuweather.com, weather.gov or follow the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center on Facebook or Twitter.

Keeping track of snow removal

Any Delaware resident with a computer or smartphone is now able to track real-time locations of DelDOT's plows during snow storms.

The tracker uses global positioning system sensors placed in 330 plows throughout the state. This year, DelDOT does not have the ability to show whether a truck is plowing, salting or driving to another location, but officials hope to make an upgrade over the next two years.

Trucks that are idling or stopped for more than 10 minutes will not be shown on the system. To download the free application, search for DelDOT at the Google Play and Apple App stores. DelDOT's interactive map is at deldot.gov.



Copyright 2016 Cape Gazette, Lewes, Delaware. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: January 22, 2016



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