Sussex County emergency agency gives tips as winter approaches

Delaware State News
Posted 12/2/21

As one season ends, another begins. But being prepared for tricky weather remains constant.

That’s the word from the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center, which reminds the public that hazard preparation is a year-round necessity, whether it’s ahead of hurricane season, which officially ended Tuesday, or the nor’easter season, running through mid-March.

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Sussex County emergency agency gives tips as winter approaches

Posted

As one season ends, another begins. But being prepared for tricky weather remains constant.

That’s the word from the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center, which reminds the public that hazard preparation is a year-round necessity, whether it’s ahead of hurricane season, which officially ended Tuesday, or the nor’easter season, running through mid-March.

With the onset of winter this month, residents and property owners are encouraged to check supplies, monitor weather conditions and take appropriate action if directed to do so.

“Thankfully, this hurricane season was not as active as 2020, and Sussex County fared well in not having any major issues with tropical weather,” Sussex County EOC director Joseph L. Thomas said.

“While concerns about hurricanes fade away for another year, Mother Nature’s threats don’t end. Nor’easters have historically been some of our biggest weather events, so the public should remain vigilant in the months ahead. Extreme cold, heavy rain and snow, howling winds and tidal flooding are all some of the challenges winter brings to Sussex County. So the public needs to stay vigilant and be prepared, just as they do at the start of every new hurricane season.”

Over the years, Sussex County has experienced its fair share of harsh winters, including the “polar vortex” that brought extreme cold to the region in early 2014, as well as back-to-back blizzards in 2009 and 2010 that closed schools, stranded motorists, scoured beaches and knocked out power.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s seasonal outlook for this winter predicts better-than-average chances for warmer temperatures and equal chances for precipitation in the county.

In mid-October, forecasters said they expect the reemergence of a persistent La Nina pattern — the phenomena of cooling waters in the east-central Pacific Ocean that can have global effects on weather. That includes producing warmer and often drier conditions in much of the U.S., particularly along the southeastern coast.

Whether that affects the number and intensity of coastal storms this season along the East Coast and mid-Atlantic remains to be seen.

Whatever unfolds, to ensure you are prepared for winter weather, the Sussex County EOC suggests the following preventive actions.

Before a storm

  • Spread an ice-melting agent on walkways and driveways to keep surfaces free of ice; use sand to improve traction.
  • Have snow shovels and other equipment handy.
  • Winterize your vehicle. Ensure antifreeze levels are sufficient to avoid freezing and that the heater and defroster work properly. Check lights and flashing hazard lights for serviceability.
  • Pack a winterization kit that includes an ice scraper, a de-icer for door locks, blankets and sand or cat litter to provide grip if your vehicle becomes stranded.
  • Create a safety profile for your household with the county’s free smart911.com service to provide potentially lifesaving information in advance.

During a storm

  • Listen to television, radio or NOAA radio for weather reports and emergency information. Also, visit the EOC website and its social media channels.
  • Eat regularly and drink ample fluids; avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Conserve fuel and power, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
  • Limit unnecessary travel and heed all advisories and warnings.

Dress for conditions

  • Wear layers of loose-fitting, thin, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water-repellant.
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves, as well as a hat.
  • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from the cold.

For more information and tips, click here and click on the “Other Hazards” link.