A winter storm warning is in effect from 1 a.m. March 3 through 6 p.m., and while the National Weather Service predicted up to 2 feet of snow for the area, Milford weather watcher Lucy Mehl has measured only about 4 inches of accumulation for the period of the snow storm.
In response to the forecast, Gov. Jack Markell issued a state of emergency with a Level 1 driving warning that began at midnight and was lifted at 2 p.m. for New Castle County, 6 p.m. for Kent County and 8 p.m. for Sussex County.
The Milford School District has announced that it will be closed for students on Tuesday, March 4, with a liberal leave for staff reporting two hours late and essential employees reporting on time.
Sunday morning temperatures may have had Milford feeling like spring is coming, but a snow storm that blanketed the area through the night and until shortly after 5 p.m. March 3 has left about 4 inches of snow.
The National Weather Service originally predicted up to 2 feet of snow for central Delaware, but the region has only seen a total accumulation of about 4 inches. According to DelDOT's snow totals, Harrington has a recorded 4 inches of snow and Ellendale received about 3.4 inches.
The Milford School District closed on Monday due to the snow, and school officials closed all schools to students on March 4 as well. Staff are on liberal leave, and are to report two hours late, while essential employees must report on time.
In response to the predicted inclement weather, Gov. Jack Markell issued a state of emergency with a Level 1 driving warning that began at midnight on Sunday. He removed the state of emergency and driving warning for New Castle County at 2 p.m. on Monday.
A Level 1 driving warning means the public is encouraged to avoid driving on state roadways, and those who must drive are urged to use caution. The warning for Kent County was lifted at 6 p.m. and the warning for Sussex County was lifted at 8 p.m.
State offices closed March 3 for non-essential employees. Essential employees reported as scheduled.
City of Milford offices also closed March 3.
Earlier Sunday afternoon, DelDOT announced that it will not be able to properly treat roadways with brine in anticipation of the snowfall because the storm is likely to begin as rain, which will wash away the treatment. DelDOT crews are fully mobilized with more than 450 pieces of equipment statewide to battle the forecast snow fall rate of one to two inches per hour.
Markell continued to urge Delaware residents to use caution if traveling, and to avoid using the roadways if possible.
“We continue to urge people to be cautions on the roads and to not get on them if you don’t have to,” Markell said. “Since the wee hours DelDOT crews have been out salting and plowing. They are now out and will be through duration and beyond. So far they’ve had to focus on primary roads. It’s not until they finish those that they can get to secondary and minor roads.”
Prior to today’s storm the state had spent $13 million on snow removal, much more than what had been budgeted, Markell said.
“Obviously we want spring to come as quickly as possible so people can go back about their normal lives, as far as school days and the like,” Markell said.
According to the Delaware State Police, troopers responded to 85 crashes in a 12-hour period March 3. Those crashes included seven minor injuries and 55 disabled vehicles. DSP reported that roads in Kent and Sussex counties were slippery and slushy, with no reported road closures. Of the 85 statewide accidents, 19 occurred in Kent County and 28 occurred in Sussex County.
The Milford Police Department only reported one accident this afternoon on Del. Route 1, with a lone vehicle driving off the roadway. No injuries were reported and the police department urged local residents to stay off the roads if possible because they are covered in ice as well as snow.