Sussex County EOC scales back operations as major winter storm begins to exit region

SUSSEX COUNTY – As the ill effects of a major winter storm begin to lessen with the system’s slow departure off the East Coast, the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center will scale back operations during the overnight hours into Sunday morning, with a skeleton crew monitoring conditions, particularly flooding in coastal areas.

Sussex County EOC Director Joseph L. Thomas said the slowdown in the weather, along with the lessening of damage reports and calls for service, is a perfect opportunity to give staff time to rest so the task of cleaning up and assessing damage can begin Sunday.

“It has been relatively quiet this evening as we’ve gone through the latest round of high-tide cycles. Thankfully, those do not appear to have been as high as the near-record flooding we saw this morning in places along the Atlantic coastline and in the Inland Bays,” Mr. Thomas said. “Things should begin to gradually improve in the hours ahead, and then everyone can get to work in the morning assessing the damage and cleaning up from what is sure to be a storm remembered for years to come.”

A coastal flood warning remains in effect for Sussex County through noon Sunday. Moderate to major tidal flooding that had been observed in many low-lying communities earlier Saturday is expected to diminish over the next 18 to 24 hours, as the storm pulls away from the region and winds continue their shift from the northeast to the north and northwest.

The wind shift will help to push out to sea water that has piled up in coastal areas.

A state of emergency and a Level 1 driving advisory for Sussex County remain in effect; while travel is not prohibited, motorists are encouraged to avoid travel if at all possible, particularly during the overnight hours, as several roads in the county remain closed either due to flooding or debris.

Meantime, the county’s designated shelter during the storm, Sussex Central High School, was scheduled to close at 11 p.m. Saturday. Volunteers with the American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula are working with the one individual who remained at the shelter to find temporary housing following relocation from the Oak Orchard-Riverdale community earlier in the day.

The public is reminded to stay tuned to local television and radio stations, as well as the Sussex County website at www.sussexcountyde.gov, for updated information. The public also should monitor the National Weather Service, at www.weather.gov/phi for the latest forecasts.

Sussex County offers a variety of social media outlets: www.facebook.com/SussexCountyDE, www.facebook.com/SussexCountyEOC, and www.facebook.com/SussexCountyEMS on Facebook; and www.twitter.com/sussexde_govt, www.twitter.com/SussexCtyDE_EOC, and www.twitter.com/SussexCoDE_EMS on Twitter.

The Sussex County Post delivers news from Georgetown and southern Delaware. Follow @SussexPost on Twitter.

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