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Weekend snowstorm piles on Sussex

Southern Delaware hit hardest in first weather event of 2017
The sun rises on Rehoboth Beach on the morning following the first winter storm of the season. RON MACARTHUR PHOTO
January 10, 2017

Sussex County is still cleaning up after the first winter storm of 2017 dumped about a half a foot of snow on most of the Cape Region.

Portions of Route 1 and many southern Delaware backroads were still partially covered by snow and ice Jan. 9 as people bundled up and returned to work. Cape Henlopen and Indian River schools, along with other districts in Kent and Sussex counties, were closed to students as travel remained questionable.

Data from the National Weather Service and the University of Delaware's Environmental Observation System show Selbyville was the hardest hit by the storm, recording 10-13 inches of snow. Lewes and Bethany Beach saw 6 inches and 7.1 inches, respectively. Northern Delaware saw an average of 2-4 inches total.

Events including Dewey Beach town meetings were canceled due to the storm, which prompted Gov. Jack Markell to issue a limited state of emergency and level 1 driving ban for Sussex County Jan. 7.

On Jan. 8, the Delaware Department of Transportation said drifting snow on secondary roads in Kent and Sussex counties posed a challenge as the clean up continued. DelDOT spokesman Greg Layton said crews are still salting and plowing primary and secondary roads in Sussex, some of which remain covered by about 2 inches of snow and ice. 

“We still advise people to drive below the speed limit and don’t travel if you don’t have to,” Layton said.

Delaware State Police spokesman Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said there were 87 crashes with no reported injuries statewide – 28 in Sussex County – from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Jan. 7. Seven crashes statewide resulted in personal injuries.

In addition to those crashes, there were 23 disabled vehicles reported, 19 of which were in Sussex, Fournier said.

“Obviously some of the secondary roads are still snow-covered or iced over,” Fournier said Jan. 9. “Use extreme caution. Take your time to get wherever you need to go, if it's a necessity.”

Beebe Healthcare did not provide emergency room statistics by press time.

Temperatures dropped significantly overnight Jan. 8; by the morning, some parts of Sussex County saw negative temperatures. Following a record-warm winter last year, this is the first time since March 2015 that Sussex County has seen single-digit temperatures in the morning, according to DEOS's Facebook page

Wind chills Jan. 9 dropped average morning temperatures by about 10 degrees. Temperatures on the coast dropped to 13 degrees, and down to 1-2 degrees inland, according to The National Weather Service.

But a warm front on its way will soon change all of that, bringing temperatures to a high of 50 degrees on Wednesday, Jan. 11, and a predicted high of 60 degrees on Thursday, Jan. 12, Accuweather reports.

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