Delaware Gov on floods, evacuations


Meeting with reporters in a Rehoboth Beach hotel, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell summarized damage from hurricane Sandy:

- Delaware 1, the state's main north-south road, cut by storm surge yesterday between Rehoboth and Dewey Beach.

- C&D Canal bridges linking Middletown, Dover, points south to I-95 and Wilmington are still open (DE 9, US 13, DE 1, DE 896) but will be closed with 2 hour notice when winds threaten to top 50 mph.

- Sustained winds expected 40-50 mph, gusting to 90 through Tuesday morning.

- Most driving forbidden since 5 a.m.  Mandatory evacuations of flood-prone areas. State offices (non-emergency) closed through Tuesday.  (U of Delaware offices, classes closed at least until Thursday.)

- "Hours away from storm making a full landfall." Impact to be felt for many hours after landfall. High water in Delaware Bay, likely to worsen flooding in Lewes and other towns." Lewes Canal "overtopped." Marsh flooded. 

- 6600 power outages statewide as of 4 pm. "We expect more" and long duration.

- High tides on top of storm surge 9 pm tonight til midnight. Will affect the whole Bay coast including New Castle County (Claymont south to New Castle and Delaware City, chemical plants). When tide falls, water will rush out rapidly,  hazardous for anybody on the bay.

- 7 shelters, 650 people, 23 pets, number of both people and pets are growing. 300 Delaware National Guard on duty.

- Beach erosion reduced by recent sand improvements.

- Questioned about evacuations: "We don't live in a police state... We expect people to use common sense... People had time to get out... If a first responder doesn't have time to (evacuate late departees safely) they may not get out."

- 8 to 10 inches of rain expected. "The storm has not actually hit us yet."