Last blast? Coastal storm brings seven inches of snow

Forecast for rain and warmth may make this a quick memory
A robin, its feathers puffed for warmth, perches on the branch of a beech tree in an upland woods near Milton Monday morning. A coastal storm sweeping up from the southwest dropped about eight inches of snow on Delaware's Cape Region over the night. Starting at about 8 p.m. Sunday with a mix of rain and snow, the temperature soon dropped a couple of degrees and a quiet and steady snow started covering roads, yards, marshes and trees. The snow fell without pause at least until daylight MondayNational Weather Service forecasters were all over this storm predicting starting and stopping times and total accumulation with impressive accuracy.State, municipal and private plowing teams worked overnight to keep main roads passable and, by morning, Route 1 was wet as a result of pre-storm brining, temperatures hovering just above and below freezing, and a wetter and heavier snow than other storms earlier this winter brought. BY DENNIS FORNEY
March 17, 2014

For the second time this month, a snow storm covered the Cape Region in inches of snow over an 18-hour period.

The storm began late March 16 and lasted well into March 17 covering Sussex County in three to seven inches of snow. Kent County received between 2-5 inches and New Castle County received between one and three inches. There was a steady northeast wind at 10 to 20 mph, with gusts up to 30 mph, said the National Weather Service.

Before the first snowflake fell Sunday night, the Cape Region had already seen 20 times more snow this month than the average for March.

According to Evan Duffey, meteorologist, the normal snowfall total for March in Dover, the closest location they keep such information, is .3 inches; their records show 6.5 inches had fallen before this most recent storm.

The snow that fell on Sunday and Monday, more than doubled that percentage.

“This has been one of the snowiest Marches in Delaware,” said Duffey.

Temperatures are expected to reach the low 40s on Tuesday, so this snow should melt faster than the snow that fell at the beginning of the month, said Duffey.

He said this month has also been considerably colder than normal. From March 1 to March 16, the average temperature has been 6.1 percent below normal, which he categorized as pretty significant.

Duffey expects the unseasonably cold weather to continue for the rest of the month.

“Basically, the cold air from Canada has been willing to sink south this year,” he said. “Winter is definitely going to continue. It may not be snow, but it looks like a couple of cold rains are shaping up for the future.”

All schools in Kent and Sussex Counties were closed March 17 as were state offices.

And while many people spent another day cooped up waiting for warmed weather, some took the white stuff in stride.

Chae Sade, a bartender at Hammerheads in Dewey Beach, said the restaurant was open for business at 9 a.m. Monday.

“We might get some people for breakfast, but I think they'll come in a little later in the day,” she said. “It'll end up being a local thing because all the nonlocals left before the storm hit.”

Sade said this year's St. Patrick's Day was one of the slowest ones she can remember. Many people left early because the holiday fell on a Monday and the storm was approaching, she said.

“We were busy on Saturday, but I believe it was weather related,” she said, keeping a positive attitude though. “We're always happy with the patrons we get.”