Lewes and Rehoboth going ghostly this weekend

Lewes has posted signs, like this one on the front door of Café Azafran, advising people that businesses will be closed this weekend by order of the governor. BY DENNIS FORNEY
August 26, 2011

It's going to be tough getting a cup of coffee in Lewes or Rehoboth Beach this weekend - or anything else for that matter.  Gov. Markell has ordered businesses to be closed Saturday and Sunday, and possibly Monday depending on how mean Irene is to the coastal area.

Lewes passed out bright yellow signs Friday afternoon explaining that businesses have to be closed this weekend.  It also explained the mandatory evacuation.  The electronic sign in front of the firehouse proclaims a mandatory evacuation for all residents from Third Street to Delaware Bay.

Now the question is how many businesses will stay open despite the Governor's order.  At last review, it looked like the eye of the storm - which reportedly was weakening Friday morning and is expected to weaken further after it hits the North Carolina coast Saturday morning - was expected to hit the Virginia and North Carolina line at 8 p.m. Sunday night.  Traveling at 14 miles per hour, the storm then would reach us with its full intensity at about 2 or 3 a.m. How hard it will hit us is still uncertain. Wouldn't you rather have the storm hit during the day than at night?  All that wind blowing and rain falling and branches creaking and cracking?  I'd rather see what's coming.

Of course, although the storm is weakening, it is still a huge storm and is expected to bring a ton of rain and enough wind to knock down lots of trees in the sodden earth.  Then, when the trees fall across power lines, the big problem will be power outages.  Jeff Masters, an esteemed climatologist with, estimates that this storm could result in one of the nation's top five power outages of all time.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best and keep an eye out for your neighbor.  He or she may be making coffee.