Crosley? ‘49 Olds? Weather ahead; railroad bridge future

January 29, 2021

So how’s our mid-Atlantic weather looking for the rest of January, and into February and March? 

Paul Pastelok, lead long-range forecaster for AccuWeather in State College, Pa., sees January ending on a cold note and February starting relatively mild before Arctic air drops down and brews up a storm in its third week. 


“We’re seeing March still kind of active with a few storms as a possibility,” said Pastelok.

With ocean temperatures running above normal for this time of year, and the Great Lakes - unusually - not yet frozen over, Pastelok said that’s working against weather turning seriously cold. “If you don’t like cold and snow, this is helping us. But it could come back to haunt us in March.  When the weather flips in mid-February, we could see temperatures drop into the 20s and teens at night.  Then the water will begin to cool.  Maybe a storm.  By then, these east-to-west weather systems we’re seeing could begin to dip down into the southwest and that could then lead to storms lifting northward and developing along the East Coast on into March.”  

Pastelok said the January pattern we’re seeing is running a little longer than expected because of the Great Lakes and warmer Atlantic.  “This storm system we’re seeing this week warmed things a little, but that will be followed by colder, drier air before we shift back to milder temperatures in early February.”

The forecaster added that the current weather pattern is also leading to rougher surf than usual, a condition that could continue into February.

About that dunes wreck

Is that wreck of a rusted car featured in last week’s column a Crosley, or a 1949 Oldsmobile, or something else?  Two readers ventured those guesses while a third reader, Paul Lowe of Lewes who spent 40 years in the auto repair industry, wants directions to the old dumping grounds in the pines so he can take his own look.

“Maybe a Crosley?” asked John McLaughlin of Lewes. “Has the right shape and I believe they sold several to the military.”

McLaughlin is probably suggesting the military connection because the Army was active in the pines of Cape Henlopen during World War II, when Fort Miles and its big guns and mines guarded the entrance to Delaware Bay.

David Ogden of Rehoboth cautioned that he could be miles off but suggested the 1949 Oldsmobile. “I ran your engine plate number and looked at the vehicles that came up with that number type. Looking at their pictures and further searching brought it up to be either a Hudson Hornet circa 1954 or the Olds.”

Railroad bridge disposition

Lewes has offered ground for a relocation of the historic railroad bridge that once carried heavy artillery for Fort Miles across the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.  Rotated with a hand-operated, man-sized key, the bridge is one of the last of its kind in the United States. 

When bridge inspectors, just a few years ago, found that supporting stone buttresses were slumping, they declared the bridge unsafe. It’s since been decommissioned, as has the portion of the railroad line between Harbeson and Lewes that used it.

DelDOT plans to remove the bridge and is working with Lewes officials to have it moved to its new site for public display.  Its new location will be at the connection of the bicycle trail leading east from American Legion Road in Lewes to the section of the trail that heads across Freeman Highway and into Cape Henlopen State Park.  It’s all part of the Great Cape Loop trail. 

At the intersection where the railroad bridge will find its new home, the trail also heads westward to the canal where the bridge now stands. An interpretive sign will be placed as part of the new bridge installation explaining how the bridge worked and where it was located.

The relocation will fulfill the dream of Lewes resident Russ Tatman, an engineer.  Russ harbored a great fondness for the mechanical ingenuity of the bridge. He lobbied hard for its preservation and eventual relocation to the new site. His death last year prevented Russ from seeing the fruit of his labor, but his spirits were lifted tremendously in his waning months when Lewes Mayor and City Council approved use of the city land for the bridge’s relocation and DelDOT agreed to move forward with the plan.

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