While the cleanup continues in several areas , thousands of Delaware residents went back to work or school Monday after Hurricane Irene barreled through the East Coast this past weekend. With evacuation orders lifted, residents were returning to their homes and businesses Sunday afternoon to assess any damage inflicted by the hurricane.
As of Sunday evening, Delmarva Power reported that 120,000 of its customers remained without power.
While the cleanup continues in several areas , thousands of Delaware residents returned to work or school Monday after Hurricane Irene barreled through the East Coast this past weekend.
With evacuation orders lifted, Delaware residents were returning to their homes and businesses Sunday afternoon to assess any damage inflicted by Hurricane Irene.As of Sunday evening, Delmarva Power reported that a total of 120,000 of its customers remained without power.
As of 9:30 a.m. Sunday, 42,740 Delmarva Power customers were without electricity: 34,378 in New Castle County, 2,826 in Kent County, and 5,536 in Sussex County.
DART First State, Delaware's public transportation provider, reported Monday that but service is now operating with normal service. Train service is operating with delays of up to 15 minutes.
In light of the storm, many school districts canceled classes Monday, including Brandywine, Colonial, Appoquinimink, Smyrna, Milford and several charter schools throughout the state. Other districts, like Capital and Caesar Rodney, both in the Dover area, operated on delays this morning.
At about 11 a.m. Sunday, the center of the tropical storm was about 70 miles north, north-east of Sandy Hook, N.J., according to the National Weather Service. It was downgraded again Sunday evening as losing its tropical storm characteristics.
Rainfall totals ranged from about 10 inches in areas of Sussex County to about 7.5 inches at the Dover Air Force Base in Kent County, to nearly 7 inches in areas of New Castle County. Flood warnings remained in effect Sunday.
In New Castle County, emergency personnel were busy with general medical concerns but reported no significant storm-related medical incidents in New Castle County Sunday, according to the county's Communications Director James Grant.
The Delaware National Guard conducted a steady number of evacuations to shelters and moved many stranded individuals to safer ground. New Castle County special-operations personnel made two water rescues involving four victims at the Red Clay Creek near Ashland. The Brandywine was expected to crest at about 19 feet at around 8 p.m.; the creek’s flood level is 16.5 feet.
South of I-95, 21 roads were closed. Another 11 were closed north of the interstate. Among the closed roads were Route 9, Kirkwood Highway from the Millcreek firehouse to Duncan Road and from Maple Avenue to Beech street in Elsmere near the Veterans Administration Hospital, Route 141 north and south at Newport, Route 13 at the airport and into the city of Wilmington, Gov. Printz Boulevard at Merchant Square Shopping Center, Maryland Avenue at Germay Drive, Route 4 in Stanton, Harmony Road, Route 1 at the Smyrna exit, Carpenter Station Road, and Marrows Road at Chelsea Drive. Go to Deldot.gov for a complete list.
Delmarva Power is still urging customers to call in power outages so they can assess which areas need the most help.
"Do not assume that your neighbor called in the outage," said spokesperson Matt Likovich.
To report an outage in Kent and Sussex counties, Delmarva Power customers should call 800-898-8045, and in New Castle they should call 800-898-8042.
Likovich said crews were out Saturday night responding to public safety calls such as downed wires, but were pulled in as the weather became too dangerous.
As of Sunday morning, crews were out and assessing damage. LIkovich said, as they expected, this could be a multiple day event when it comes to restoration, depending on the extent of the damage.
"In the wake of the storm, weakened trees can continue to fall and equipment can fail for an extended period of time," a Delmarva Power release stated. "A preliminary damage assessment process must be completed before a 'global' estimated restoration time can be generated. Delmarva Power’s 'global' estimated restoration time indicates when the last Delmarva Power customer is expected to have power restored."
Residents who woke up to find downed power lines on or near their property were urged to use extreme caution and contact 911.
The county's 911 center handled 1,034 calls from 6 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday, more than triple the usual number.
In Wilmington, the city's Emergency Operations Center remains in operation at the Public Safety Building at 4th and Walnut streets. During the night, workers there fielded calls for 14 downed trees, two roof collapses, and three vehicles trapped in high water.
According to William S. Montgomery, chief of staff for Mayor James Baker, officials at the EOC are still evaluating the impact of Hurricane Irene on the City of Wilmington.
“Calls for service were surprisingly light last evening considering the severity of the storm forecast,” said Montgomery. “Now that daylight has arrived, we anticipate an increase in the number of residents needing assistance for storm-related issues.”
While the strong winds originally forecast for Wilmington fortunately did not fully materialize, flooding remains an issue in areas of the City. As of 6 a.m., Irene drenched Wilmington with more than six inches of rain. While the eye of the hurricane has long passed Wilmington, flooding associated with the system is expected to continue through Sunday afternoon.
Mayor Baker had ordered an evacuation order for southeast Wilmington on Saturday as streets were flooded in this area, and another high tide around 11 a.m. was expected to exacerbate the flooding. However, the evacuation order for residents in Southeast Wilmington had been lifted on Sunday, Communications Director John Rago said. Residents may return to their homes and businesses.
The Delaware Emergency Management Agency has a call center up and running for people seeking information about the storm. The 24-hour hotline is designed to provide information to the public without tying up emergency phone lines and emergency personnel. For information, call (800) 464-4357.
INITIAL DAMAGE REPORTS
Strong winds, possibly a tornado, damaged 15 homes near Lewes Saturday night, according to WBOC-TV 16 from Salisbury, Md.
Local Facebook posts included reports of another possible tornado damaging several homes in the Marydel area west of Dover, near the Maryland line.
In the Smyrna area, several Facebook posts reported fallen trees and branches.
Citizens' Hose Company of Smyrna only received two calls related to the storm, both on Saturday.
"We received a call at 10:30 p.m. about a motorist stranded in high water on Route 1," said Eugene Tucker, public information officer for Citizens' Hose. "We rescued the driver and took him to the shelter at Smyrna Middle School."
"We also had report of a tree down at a house on Rodney and Delaware streets, but there was no damage to the home," said Tucker.
"Other than that, we responded to a couple of automatic fire alarms that went off, and today we're playing catch up on water in basements," he said.
The Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times received reports of power outages outside the town limits of Smyrna off of Carter Road, and in areas near Kenton on Underwoods Corner Road and Sudlersville Road (Route 300). The report from the Carter Road area said power was out from Saturday at about 8:30 p.m., until 7:30 a.m. this morning. As of 8 a.m., the power hadn't been restored at the homes affected by the outage in the Kenton area.
On Sunday morning, Smyrna Police said while there were a few issues the town is still standing. Lt. Norman Wood said there were some problems with trees down and flooding in some developments.For the most part, Smyrna is okay.
Lt. Wood said town workers were cleaning up fallen trees. Moreover, the town has power and those who lost power had it restored.
Residents from Bowers Beach were able to return to their homes on Sunday. Originally on the mandatory evacuation list, officials from Bowers Volunteer Fire Department said there was some flooding but no serious damage. As of Sunday afternoon, residents in the area were home surveying their homes for damage.
In the City of Dover, flooding caused a few streets to close down and a few trees came crashing down as well, Dover Police Capt. Tim Stump said. That included a pretty good-sized tree on State Street, where city crews got it out of the road pretty fast, he said Sunday morning.
Areas that flooded included the Treadway Towers off East Loockerman Street, Stump said.
“Mirror Lake off Loockerman had some pretty bad flooding, just down from the old post office,” he said. “It’s pretty substantial. The lake is all the way up over Park Drive and parts of that area are closed. They were telling me that Fraizer’s had 3 feet of water inside of it.”
In addition, parts of Saulsbury Road were closed down because of flooding, and there were reports of a tree down behind Dennys Road by Delaware Technical & Community College as well as additional flooding in that vicinity, Stump said.
“I’m quite certain that there’s going to be more reports of damage,” he said. “For the most part, relatively speaking, I think we fared pretty well.
“We also want to thank everybody for adhering to the restrictions that were put out. The guys were telling me that everybody adhered to that and we really appreciate it.”
Officials from the Milford Police Department also said no significant damage had been reported in Milford as of 9 a.m. Sunday.
Bob Powell of the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center said flooding and downed tree limbs caused several roads to be closed in the county, including Snake Road in Laurel, Governors Avenue in Greenwood and River Road in Oak Orchard.
Powell said for a Saturday night in the summer, calls for service were relatively light throughout the night.
"We want to thank the community for doing what they were told to do in order to help us prepare and keep them safe," he said.