Anyone wishing to take up residence in the temporary shelters set up in Kent County and the rest of the state must act quickly as conditions deteriorate throughout Delaware in the wake of the formidable Hurricane Sandy, which measured more than 900 miles across and had sustained winds of 90 miles per hour at its core.
As of noon Monday, 89 people had taken up resident in the two shelters set up in Kent County and 528 people overall had gone to the seven shelters set up throughout Delaware, state officials said.
Dover High School and Smyrna Middle Schools were the shelters set up for Kent County residents, said Melanie Rapp, one of the public information officers working out of the Delaware Joint Information Center. The center was set up at the Delaware Emergency Management Center near Smyrna to help facilitate communications with media throughout the Diamond State.
Dover High could accommodate up to 1,203 people, leaving plenty of room still at the shelter, Rapp said.
As of Monday morning, 54 people had taken up shelter at Dover High, Dover Public Affairs & Emergency Management Coordinator Kay Dietz-Sass said. People could still be transported there if needed, she said.
The Level 2 driving restriction issued at 5 a.m. Monday by Gov. Jack Markell remained in effect until further notice, state officials said. That meant the only vehicles allowed on the road were those operated by essential government personnel and persons in the healthcare, food and fuel deliveries service, as well as members of the media.
But, Dover residents in need of transportation to the temporary shelter set up at Dover High were urged to call the city helpline at 736-5085, Dietz-Sass said. It was best if people got rides over to the shelter from emergency personnel on duty and exempt from the Level 2 driving ban, she said.
Anyone using a rotary phone could call 736-7086 and ask to be transferred to someone in the command post, Dietz-Sass added.
The same applied to Smyrna Middle School and the rest of the shelters set up in the state, Delaware Public Information Officer Jason Miller said out of DEMA in Smyrna.
"It may not be too late to go to a shelter," he said. "But we advise people to contact their local emergency center to make sure there was space and to discuss any necessary travel arrangements. They need to make a decision quickly as conditions are deteriorating."
People throughout the state were urged to call one of the following numbers, depending on their location:
New Castle County Emergency Operations Center, 395-5555
Kent County Emergency Operations Center, 735-3465
Sussex County Emergency Operations Center, 856-7366
The National Weather Service in Mount Holly, N.J. said the rain could be heavy at times this afternoon at Dover Air Force Base, with 1 to 2 inches falling in all. The high would be near 55 degrees with a north wind of 41 miles per hour to 44 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph.
The rain would continue to be heavy at times on Monday night, with an additional 2 to 3 inches predicted to fall, National Weather Service meteorologists said. A southwest wind between 44 miles per hour to 50 mph, with gusts as high as 70 mph, were predicted, with a with a temperature low of around 42 degrees.
The National Weather Service had issued coastal flood warnings for Kent County, Sussex County and New Castle County, Del. as well as high wind warnings throughout the Diamond State.