Three area schools in will serve as evacuation shelters for Sussex County residents forced to leave their homes as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
Gov. Jack Markell issued mandatory evacuation orders this evening for numerous coastal and flood-prone areas throughout the state, including dozens of communities in Sussex County. The evacuation period begins at 8 p.m. tonight.
“The prospects of Sussex County dodging a bullet this time are looking less and less by the hour,” Joseph Thomas, director of the county’s emergency operations center said in a release issued Saturday evening. “Now is the time to move as we get closer to this storm coming ashore. If you’ve experienced flooding from any storm in the past, you’re going to have flooding from this one. For anyone who doesn’t get out now, it may be days before help can get to you.”
The Sussex County evacuation shelters include Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, Indian River High School in Dagsboro and Milford Middle School in Milford.
All three shelters will open at noon on Sunday.
None of the three districts has announced any school closings for next week, although officials from Milford School District said they are expecting to announce a decision sometime tomorrow.
Capacity at each shelter will be limited and should only be used if refuge cannot be found with friends or family, county officials said.
Anyone who plans to seek refuge at a state shelter should take adequate closthing, medications, sleeping material and food for themselves and their pets.
Shelters will be staffed by the American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula.
Areas of Sussex County affected by the mandatory evacuation include:
Prime Hook Beach
Lewes Beach, east of the Rehoboth Lewes canal
Flood-prone areas within ¾ of a mile of the coast in the following communities :
Flood-prone areas south of Route 24 (John J. Williams Highway) including Angola, Long Neck and Oak Orchard
Flood-prone areas along Route 26 (Vines Creek Road and Atlantic Avenue)
Flood-prone areas along Route 54 (Lighthouse Road)
Flood-prone areas in close proximity to the Nanticoke and Broad Creek Rivers