As of 9 a.m., officials announced Thursday morning, after consultation between the Governor’s Office and state and local emergency management officials, it was decided that the State of Emergency declared by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell will remain in effect today, February 11, 2010 as will the travel ban.
No motor vehicles are to be operated on Delaware roadways unless operated by essential personnel. Essential personnel are defined as authorized personnel responding to the State of Emergency, peace officers, emergency management or rescue personnel, medical personnel, utility personnel, snow clearance and building and systems maintenance personnel, members of the media, carriers and drivers of commercial motor vehicles transporting commodities such as heating oil, propane, gasoline and salt, or staple grocery supplies to food stores, or deliveries of agricultural products necessary to maintain the life of livestock, and employees of critical 24/7 facilities such as health care facilities, commercial facilities and correctional institutions.
Due to unsafe travel conditions, non-essential private sector employers are reminded of the terms of the travel ban and are strongly urged to consider the safety of those employees and others on the road before asking employees to report in violation of the ban. Violators may be cited with a criminal summons to appear before a judge for violating the travel ban.
“The purpose of leaving the State of Emergency with travel restrictions in place is for public safety,” said Rosanne Pack, spokesperson for the Delaware Emergency Management Agency. “The roads are simply too treacherous at this point for the public to be out on them.”
Roads remain snow and ice covered, and crews from the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) are working to clear them. Efforts are being hampered by vehicles that are going out, becoming disabled and in many cases are blocking the paths of snow removal personnel and salt trucks. Additionally, abandoned vehicles and vehicles that have gotten stuck in snow are preventing the DelDOT trucks from clearing a path for emergency responders working to provide life-saving functions.
Travel remains hazardous on most roadways in the State of Delaware, and snow removals efforts are concentrated first on major roads, and it is likely take several days before all roads can be cleared.
For updates on the State of Emergency, the public is being asked to visit either www.delaware.gov, www.dema.delaware.gov, or follow updates on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/DEStorminfo. Changes will be posted immediately to these sites, so if you do not see a change, there are likely no updates. There is currently no time table for lifting the State of Emergency.
State, safety and emergency management officials thank the public in advance for their cooperation during the recovery period of these severe winter weather events.
Again, for updates on the status of the state of emergency either visit: www.delaware.gov or www.twitter.com/DEStormINfo. Any changes will be posted there immediately. If you don't see any changes posted there the status has not changed. Alternately, you can get the same information by calling the Delaware Helpline at 1-800-464-4357.