Governor Markell Issues Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County at 5:00 p.m. Saturday as Tropical Storm Hermine Approaches Delaware

Governor Markell Issues Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County at 5:00 p.m. Saturday as Tropical Storm Hermine Approaches Delaware
Urges those in low-lying and coastal areas to closely monitor weather conditions and communications from emergency management officials


Woodland Beach at first high tide, hermine, delaware, kent county
Woodland Beach at first high tide … Photo by Buddy Cahall

Wilmington, DE— As Tropical Storm Hermine approaches Delaware, Governor Markell has issued a limited State of Emergency for Sussex County beginning at 5:00 p.m. today that allows public safety, emergency response, and transportation agencies to position resources in affected areas.

“Tropical Storm Hermine is a powerful storm that will bring significant rainfall and localized flooding, especially in coastal and Delaware Bay communities in Sussex County,” said Governor Markell.  “I encourage Delawareans and visitors to our state to take precautions and stay tuned to weather forecasts and transportation updates throughout the weekend.”

The National Weather Service has declared a Tropical Storm Warning for the entire State of Delaware.  Significant rainfall is forecast to fall in Sussex County from today through Monday, with wind gusts as high as 50 miles per hour along the coast Sunday and Monday, and localized flooding along the coast and lower Delaware Bay during high tides on Sunday and Monday.  Those in low-lying and flood-prone areas in coastal Sussex County and Delaware Bay communities in Sussex and Kent Counties should pay special attention to changing conditions and have a plan in place should water levels begin to rise.

White House Beach first high tide, long neck, delaware, sussex county, hermine
White House Beach first high tide … photo by Scott Jost

Through today’s State of Emergency the Governor has authorized the Delaware National Guard, in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, to pre-position its forces in anticipation of the storm’s biggest effects in Delaware Sunday and Monday.  The State of Emergency declaration allows the Governor to deploy the Delaware National Guard, DelDOT, first responders, and other agencies to open and close roadways and take other actions to protect public safety and property during the storm event.  The State of Emergency does not impose driving restrictions at this point, however, members of the public should closely follow media outlets and social media sites for restrictions that may be imposed should conditions change.

State and local emergency management officials, DelDOT, the Delaware National Guard, and other state agencies and service providers have been closely monitoring the storm system as it has developed.  The Governor is monitoring the forecast regularly and will remain in contact with emergency management and transportation officials over the course of the storm to determine any further actions that may be necessary.


The Governor urges the public to check local media outlets and these social media sites for storm-related updates:


Full text of today’ Executive Order:


Executive Department

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WHEREAS, a significant storm system is affecting the State of Delaware and is projected to continue to impact the State as Tropical Storm Hermine continues to move through the region; and

WHEREAS, the National Weather Service has issued Tropical Storm Warnings covering all three counties in Delaware, although the effects of Tropical Storm Hermine are currently expected to be felt most strongly in Sussex County; and

WHEREAS, rain, wind, and high tides from the weather system have the potential to result in flooding conditions in Sussex County, Delaware; and

WHEREAS, weather conditions throughout Sussex County for the remainder of the weekend and continuing into next week may exacerbate any such flooding; and

WHEREAS, the effects of this storm system threaten public safety and have the potential to cause major damage to the infrastructure of Sussex County, and otherwise present a potential danger to life, safety and property; and
WHEREAS, based upon evidence presented to me by the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, I have found that the potential for the occurrence of an emergency is high in Sussex County; and
WHEREAS, flood-prone areas of Sussex County and throughout Delaware are at risk of significant flooding, and residents of those areas should seriously consider taking precautionary measures, including evacuating voluntarily or planning for potential evacuation and use of travel routes around flooded streets and roads; and
WHEREAS, it is necessary to pre-stage and potentially deploy resources and assets of the Delaware National Guard in anticipation of responding to any such threats to public safety;
NOW THEREFORE, I, JACK A. MARKELL, pursuant to Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code, do hereby declare a Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County, Delaware.  This Limited State of Emergency is effective on September 3, 2016, at 5:00 p.m., and shall continue until terminated as provided under State law.  The nature of the emergency includes high winds, rain and flooding and the potential effects caused by the storm beginning September 3, 2016 and continuing thereafter.  Along with such other actions authorized by Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code, I specifically direct and authorize:

  1. All departments and agencies of the State of Delaware shall assist in response and recovery activities, as directed by and in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), in consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS), necessary in those areas affected by the storm.


  1. The Delaware National Guard shall take precautionary or responsive actions directed by the Director of DEMA, in consultation with the Secretary of DSHS, upon request by local authorities in affected areas of Sussex County.


  1. DEMA shall activate the State Emergency Operations Plan and cooperate with federal authorities, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency in making application, if necessary for relief and assistance for those towns and communities adversely affected by the continuing storm, pursuant to the Delaware Emergency Operations Plan and any potentially applicable federal disaster or emergency relief laws, including but not limited to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.


  1. I authorize the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and the Delaware State Police, in consultation with DEMA and the Secretary of DSHS, to order such bridge and road closures as necessary to protect the health and safety of the public.


  1. Unless otherwise directed, all normal operations of State government shall continue without interruption.


  1. I reserve the right to take or direct state or local authorities to take, without issuance of further written order, any other necessary actions authorized by Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code to respond to this emergency.


APPROVED this 3rd day of September, 2016, at 1:00 p.m.

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