Mayor Carleton E. Carey Sr. encouraged all city of Dover residents in mobile homes and flood prone areas to evacuate as the formidable Hurricane Sandy gathered strength and approached landfall in the Diamond State.
Similar action has been taken in the city of Wilmington as well as Middletown farther north, and Gov. Jack Markell issued a limited state of emergency meant to facilitate the evacuation of the coastal communities in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties. The National Weather Service had already issued coastal flood warnings for Rehoboth Beach and the rest of the resort area from 4 p.m. Sunday until midnight Tuesday, and state officials had already closed Del. Route 1 between Bethany and Dewey beaches Sunday morning due to that coastal flooding.
Back in Dover, city officials urged those did not have friends or family that they could stay with to go to shelters opening at noon Sunday. For Kent County, Dover High School or Smyrna Middle School were the designated shelters. There would also be a shelter opening in Milford.
"The importance of planning and preparing for your own safety is important," Carey said. "We need to be sure that our crews and staff are safe as well."
Those heading to one of the shelters are urged to bring blankets/sleeping bags, pillows, any medications that are necessary, toiletries and something to help pass time, Dover Public Affairs & Emergency Emergency Management Coordinator Kay Dietz-Sass said. Suggested items for children are books, cards and other small items.
It is very realistic to expect to lose electricity with Hurricane Sandy, Dietz-Sass said.
"Crews will get to all areas where outages are as soon as it is safe to do so," Dietz-Sass said. "This may take a substantial amount of time.
"We do encourage people to make sure they can take care of themselves for a few days," she said. "Of course, you can't be out in 70 mile per hour winds trying to repair a power line in a bucket truck. Sometimes, we have to wait for the storm to pass through before our people go out. Safety has to be our priority."