District superintendent Phyllis Kohel said Saturday that a final decision on school closures will not be made until tomorrow

Milford Middle School will serve as one of three emergency shelters for Sussex County residents forced to evacuate in advance of Hurricane Sandy.

Milford Middle School will begin accepting evacuees at noon on Sunday. Pets are welcome.

While the Milford school board has cancelled its Monday meeting, district superintendent Phyllis Kohel said Saturday that a final decision on school closures will not be made until tomorrow.

Gov. Jack Markell issued mandatory evacuation orders this evening for numerous coastal and flood-prone areas throughout the state, including dozens of communities in Kent and Sussex County. The evacuation period begins at 8 p.m. tonight.

Other Sussex County evacuation shelters include Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes and Indian River High School in Dagsboro. Evacuation shelters in Kent County include Smyrna Middle School and Dover High School.

"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."

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.

Shelter will be staffed by the American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula.

Areas of Sussex County included in the mandatory evacuation include:

Slaughter Beach

Prime Hook Beach

Broadkill Beach

Lewes Beach, east of the Rehoboth Lewes canal

Flood-prone areas within ¾ of a mile of the coast in the following communities :

Henlopen Acres

Rehoboth Beach

Dewey Beach

North Bethany

Bethany Beach

South Bethany

Fenwick Island

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