Wintry blast bears down on Cape Region

Winter storm warning in effect; forecasters predict up to 9 inches
DelDOT crews were out all day Jan. 20 pre-treating many Sussex County roads with a brine solution. This truck is working in the Lewes area. BY RON MACARTHUR
January 20, 2014

The Cape Region is bracing for another round of winter weather.

Following the crippling cold that struck the area two weeks ago, the National Weather Service is predicting a snowstorm that could produce a half a foot of snow throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

Forecasts Jan. 20 called for snow to begin falling late morning or early afternoon Tuesday, Jan. 21, with accumulation expected to be 5 to 9 inches.

A winter storm warning is in effect from 10 a.m., Tuesday, to 6 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 22, for the Delaware beaches, inland Sussex County, and Kent and New Castle counties. Highs are expected to be in the low 30s, but steady northeast winds of 15 to 24 mph will create a wind chill in the low 20s.

Chip Guy, Sussex County's chief of public information, said county officials are aware of the forecast. He said Emergency Operations Center Director Joe Thomas and his staff will monitor to determine whether the EOC should be activated. He said the public should do the same.

“The public should carefully monitor the forecasts, take precautionary steps now to prepare for possible hazardous weather, and heed any suggestions, advisories or warnings that may come before, during and after the event,” Guy said.

In anticipation of the storm, crews from Delaware Department of Transportation were out all day Jan. 20 treating state roadways with brine – a mixture of salt and water. Jim Westhoff, DelDOT spokesman, said he is hopeful the storm will not begin with rain. During the last snowstorm Jan. 3, rain washed away the brine treatment before the snowfall, allowing snow to build up on state roadways.

He expects the brine to keep roadways clear for motorists this time around.

“We haven't finalized plans,” he said. “We're still looking at the forecast, but our people expect to be working tomorrow.”

He said DelDOT's first priority during snowstorms is to clear the main roads. Once they are under control, he said, crews will move to secondary roads.

“Drivers should be aware,” he said. “People should expect to have a longer commute.”

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