State of Emergency announced for Sussex County

January 4, 2018

With roadway conditions continuing to deteriorate, Gov. John Carney has issued a State of Emergency for Sussex County and has restricted driving for essential personnel only.

Carney announced the State of Emergency for Sussex County at 2 p.m., Jan. 4 and the Level 2 Driving Restriction took effect at 1 p.m., said Jessica Borcky, spokeswoman for the governor’s office. 

Carney also authorized the Delaware National Guard to assist state and local officials with any necessary response and recovery for this severe winter storm, she said. The latest driving restriction is an upgrade from a level 1 issued at 7:30 a.m., which warned people to stay off roadways.

“This is a serious storm, and Delawareans across Sussex County should stay off the roadways as conditions continue to worsen,”  Carney said. “That will help personnel from the Delaware Department of Transportation more effectively clear the roadways, and help us provide services to our neighbors most in need.”

Under Delaware law, the term “essential personnel” means employees or personnel who are necessary to maintain the core functions of government, and to maintain the health and safety of the people of Delaware. The following persons are specifically designated as “essential personnel” under Delaware law:

  • Operators of snow removal equipment (public and private);
  • Persons providing public utility services;
  • Persons providing healthcare services; and
  • Persons providing food and fuel deliveries.

In addition to the above, employers who fall outside the above categories may apply for a waiver from the Level 2 Driving Restriction from the Delaware Emergency Management Agency.  Waivers will be granted when a significant safety, health or business necessity is shown. 

Waivers must be obtained in advance of emergency incidents. No waiver application will be granted within 21 days after receipt of the application for waiver, and applications will not be processed for approval during an emergency period. Employers already granted a waiver by DEMA may also continue to travel if necessary.

Updated information from the National Weather Service indicates the following for Delaware:

Sussex County

  • A Blizzard Warning remains in effect until 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 4
  • Expect heavy snow and blowing snow, with snow accumulations of 8 to 12 inches. Tree branches could fall due to the weight of the snow.
  • Strong winds may cause power outages.
  • A Coastal Flood Advisory remains in effect until 2 p.m.

  • New Castle County
  • A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 4
  • Expect heavy snow and blowing snow, with snow accumulations of 4 to 7 inches.
  • Strong winds may cause power outages.

Kent County

  • A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 4
  • Expect heavy snow and blowing snow, with snow accumulations of 4 to 7 inches. Tree branches could fall due to the weight of the snow.
  • Strong winds may cause power outages.
  • A Coastal Flood Advisory remains in effect until 2 p.m.

To be connected to Code Purple resources, call Delaware 2-1-1 or click the Code Purple button at Or call the Delaware Housing Alliance’s Centralized Intake Line at 302-654-0126, ext. 112. If you see someone outside who appears to be homeless, encourage them to seek emergency shelter or call a non-emergency police number to alert the police to the situation.

The Delaware Division of Public Health reminds residents to protect themselves and animals during winter storms.

With extreme cold conditions and a possible severe winter storm bearing down the East Coast, Cape Region businesses and organizations and government officials are taking precautions to ensure safety.

Rehoboth offices to open at 10 a.m.

The Rehoboth Beach administrative offices will open at 10 a.m., Friday, Jan. 5.

City Manager Sharon Lynn said the current concern is high winds up to 30 MPH through the night, causing snow to blow over sidewalks and roads that have been cleared. She said the strong winds will cause higher than normal tides over the next two days. Temperatures are expected to drop to 10 degrees overnight with a wind chill below zero, with temperatures on Jan. 5 and Saturday, Jan. 6 being in the teens. 

Lynn said city crews will continue to plow and treat the roadways through the night and into Friday. She advised motorists to stay off the roads so crews can make roads passable. Lynn said side streets will be plowed when crews can drive on them safely; many businesses in town are closed, she said.

Anyone that has lost power or seen downed power lines should contact Delmarva Power at 1-800-898-8042. Further updates from the city can be found at or at For emergencies, call the Rehoboth police department at 9-1-1 or at 227-2577. 

Don’t count on mail delivery in Sussex Thursday, possibly Friday
Due to winter weather conditions, including snow and ice mail may be delivered late or possibly not at all for some residential and business customers particularly in Sussex County.  The conditions have also affected many retail locations - some retail locations may be closed or open on a limited basis.  The Postal Service is monitoring conditions and will provide updates on possible closures.. The Postal Service will make every attempt to safely deliver the mail.
Cape Gazette offices closed Friday, Jan. 5
Due to the dangerous driving conditions the Cape Gazette offices will be closed Friday, Jan. 5. The staff is making every effort to have the Jan. 5 edition of the paper to the Post Office and newsstands in as timely a manner as possible.
Only dialysis trips in Sussex Jan. 5

Based on conditions, no bus services will operate Friday, Jan. 5, in Sussex County, with the exception of dialysis paratransit trips only. All services in Kent and New Castle County are expected to operate with likely delays on Friday.

Check for updates.  DART's Real-Time Transit Information is free on the DelDOT App.  Download today!  DART riders can also subscribe to Rider Alerts and DART news at Delaware Notification Service.  Find DART under DelDOT.

Use caution getting to bus stops due to potentially slippery conditions; have driveways and sidewalks cleared for the patient’s safety and the safety of the paratransit operator.

Update - 8:27 a.m., Jan. 4 - Rehoboth Beach offices closed

The city of Rehoboth Beach administrative offices are closed due to the snow storm.

City crews have been plowing the roads since late Wednesday night, City Manager Sharon Lynn said, but it is advisable to stay off the roads if there is no need to travel outside so the streets department can best operate snowplows and make the roadways passable. She said crews will plow the roads throughout the day and the night

Lynn said anyone experiencing power outages or seeing downed wires can call Delmarva Power at 1-800-898-8042. 
For further updates from the city, visit or at To reach the Rehoboth police department, call 227-2577. 

Update - 1:45 p.m., Jan. 4 – All state offices closed Jan. 4

State of Delaware offices are closed in all three counties during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Offices will remain closed in all three counties through 11:59 p.m. Jan. 4.  Non-essential employees are not to report to work for this period. Essential employees are to report as scheduled. All employees should continue to check for updates.

 DART will not operate regular bus services or paratransit in Sussex County; however, services in Kent and New Castle will operate with delays. Please use caution getting to bus stops due to potentially slippery conditions.

State offices closed in Sussex Jan. 4

The Delaware Department of Transportation continues to prepare for the arrival of a statewide snow event. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday night, all DelDOT maintenance and operations yards were fully staffed. Snow plows have been deployed as precipitation begins in the overnight hours.
The DelDOT snow plow tracker is now active and available via the DelDOT app and under the interactive maps icon.
Due to the forecasted severe conditions, Gov. John Carney has announced State of Delaware offices in Sussex County are closed Thursday, Jan. 4, during regular business hours 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Non-essential employees who live or work in Sussex County are not to report to work for this period. Essential employees are to report as scheduled. Non-essential employees whose shift includes hours after 4:30 p.m. should check for updates throughout the day.
The Georgetown DMV will be closed Jan. 4. DART First State transit services will continue to operate throughout the day, however, delays can be expected.

Update: Sussex offices closed Jan. 5

Sussex County government offices will be closed Friday, Jan. 5, due to winter weather.
Rehoboth library closed Jan. 5
The Rehoboth Beach Public Library is closed Friday, JN. 5
Most schools closed Jan. 4

Cape Henlopen and Sussex Tech school districts, along with Delmarva Christian High School in Georgetown and the Milton Campus are closed Jan. 4 because of poor weather conditions. Worcester Preparatory School will also be closed Jan. 4. Cape Henlopen will be closed Jan. 5.

Georgetown activates snow emergency plan; parking restrictions begin at 7 p.m.

Georgetown has activated its snow emergency plan. Parking restrictions apply to designated snow emergency routes, making it easier and more effective for equipment to clear snow from the streets.

The designated snow emergency routes are East Market Street, West Market Street, North Bedford Street, South Bedford Street, Bridgeville Road, East Pine Street, West Pine Street, North Race Street, South Race Street, North Front Street, South Front Street, East Laurel Street from North Bedford Street to North Race Street, West Laurel Street from North Bedford Street to North Front Street, Edward Street from North Bedford Street to North Front Street, West North Street from North Bedford Street to Route 113 and Albury Avenue from East Market Street to Cedar Street.

Vehicles parked along these streets may be subject to towing if not removed by the owner. Residents are asked to avoid traveling during adverse weather conditions.

Town ordinance also states that the sidewalks be cleared within 24 hours after a snowfall. Residents with a fire hydrant near their property are asked to take an extra minute or two to ensure that it is cleared and visible.

For more information go to or call town hall at 302-856-7391.

Ferry suspends operations Jan. 4

Due to significant ice accumulations in the Cape May canal and associated wind conditions expected with the impending nor’easter on the Delaware Bay, Cape May-Lewes Ferry officials announced that ferry operations have been suspended for Thursday, Jan. 4.  

“Bitter cold temperatures and strong northwest winds are causing ice sheets to stack up in the Cape May canal,” said Heath Gehrke, director of ferry operations. “With the approaching winter storm, these conditions are expected to worsen over the next few days.  We will continue to monitor the weather conditions and will be providing service updates on a daily basis on both our website and social media venues.” 

Gehrke added that given the current conditions and anticipated frigid temperatures over the next few days, additional departures may also be affected. 

Harbeson Allen Harrim plant: closed Jan. 4

Due to inclement weather, Allen Harim's Harbeson processing plant will not be operating a 1st shift  Friday, Jan. 5. Second shift should report at their regular 
scheduled times. Corporates offices in Seaford, will open at noon. 

Harrington Casino closing for day

Harrington Raceway & Casino will be closing today at 11 a.m. and reopening at 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 5, due to inclement weather.

DelDOT treats roads

DelDOT’s maintenance crews in Kent and Sussex counties are brining the primary roads in anticipation of the storm, and they will continue to monitor weather conditions statewide as the winter storm approaches. New Castle County primary roads have already been pre-treated. 

With the forecasted gusty winds, DelDOT anticipates drifting snow which will greatly impact visibility and road conditions and slow snow removal operations. Motorists should use caution when driving on bridges, ramps, and overpasses that may have ice and slippery conditions.

After the primary roads are passable, DelDOT’s crews will move to the secondary roads. DelDOT’s crews may also return to the primary roads even after operations have started on secondary roads due to the changing of weather conditions.

No sledding on dunes

DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation reminds residents and visitors that sledding or snowboarding are illegal on dunes within Delaware state parks.

“Dunes contain fragile habitat and provide protection for the beaches and the communities that border them,” said Pat Cooper, Cape Henlopen State Park superintendent. “Recent storms have already caused some damage, so we’re asking the public to help protect the dunes.” 

Except for marked crossings, dunes are closed year-round to pedestrian traffic and activities in Cape Henlopen and Delaware Seashore state parks.

Update: Beebe Healthcare announces Jan. 5 schedule

Beebe Healthcare:
  • Tunnell Cancer Center will open for regular hours
  • Walk-in Care center at Beebe's Rehoboth Health Campus on Route 24 will be open regular hours
  • All patient care services at Beebe Medical Center on Savannah Road will be open regular hours

 • All other Beebe satellite locations will be closed

  • All Beebe Medical Group physician practice offices will be closed
  •  Services at the main hospital in Lewes remain open, including the cath lab, regular lab, imaging, outpatient and inpatient surgeries, and support services.  Monday-Friday departments at the hospital are also closed. 
For up-to-date weather information, go to: or check our Facebook page.

Pettyjohn constituent coffee rescheduled

Sen. Brian Pettyjohn has rescheduled his Jan. 4 constituent coffee to Thursday, Jan. 18, at CHEER Center Sandhill Road, Georgetown, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Special guest speaker is Alastair Probert, South District engineer, Delaware Department of Transportation. Pettyjohn will be discussing news of the Legislature as well as topics from the audience.