Gov. Jack Markell issued a Declaration of a State of Emergency calling for the mandatory evacuation of persons located within three quarters of a mile of the Atlantic coast including the City of Rehoboth Beach. Persons in this area are to begin evacuating this evening and shall complete such evacuation no later than 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28. Gov. Markell went on to say “All persons within the Evacuation Areas who have the ability to evacuate are urged to do so as soon as possible.”
The declaration further states “Driving is not restricted at this time. However, residents are advised that driving restrictions may be put into place as conditions warrant.”
For those wishing to go to a shelter, the Red Cross along with the county and state will be opening shelters as of noon on Sunday, Oct. 28 at Cape Henlopen High School, Indian River High School and the Milford Middle School. Jamie Turner, director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency advises, "Those who come to the shelters need to be aware that [all] the shelters provide is space on a floor and some basic food. There are only cots for the elderly and those with special needs. People who evacuate to one of the shelters should bring sleeping bags, pillows and blankets, as well as books and games or other items to keep themselves and their families occupied."
Sandy continues on a track that is expected to bring potentially historic storm conditions to Rehoboth. These will include winds of near hurricane force and gusts potentially exceeding hurricane force, torrential downpours with rains during the event possibly exceeding 12 inches. A significant storm surge will accompany Sandy causing major beach erosion. This surge has the real potential to approach the storm surge created by the great Nor’easter of 1962, the storm of modern record.
On its current forecasted track and speed we will likely see gale force winds starting early Sunday evening and continuing to ramp up until they reach a peak Monday evening or in the wee hours of Tuesday. Top winds are expected to be near 70 miles per hour with higher gusts. At some point the winds are likely to shift and come from the west. The timing of this shift depends on the exact track which will not be known ahead of time. Winds of gale force are expected until at least midday Wednesday.
This is a system born in the tropics and thus will be accompanied by torrential rains. The amount of rain will be area specific with some areas seeing a great deal more than others. The ocean front will experience the strongest winds and coupled with the storm surge, major beach erosion will occur. It is entirely possible that oceanfront structure may suffer considerable damage.
One of the most significant outcomes of this storm will probably be the loss of electrical power. This loss could possibly last a week or longer if the experience of other areas is any indication.
This is a very serious threat – one that few of us have had to deal with before. Please do not take this situation lightly. Use the time between now and the onset of major storm conditions to secure your property and make and implement a plan for your personal safety and well being.
Anyone who has questions or needs assistance should call the Rehoboth Beach Dispatch Center at 302-227-2577.