As more deep cold lurks, Code Purple sites extended

 

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DELAWARE (2/17/2015) With Delawareans digging out of the latest snowfall, attention returns to the continued deep cold expected for the next few nights.

Code Purple sites in New Castle County are extending operations to protect the homeless at least through Thursday night, with the likelihood they may need to be extended into next week, state officials announced.

Dangerous wind chills are expected through early Saturday, the National Weather Service says, with the temperature predicted to minus 2 in New Castle County on Thursday night.

The latest storm left 6.5 inches of fresh snow on the ground at spots and led to the closing of state offices for the day.

New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County government offices also are closed today, as well as some city and town offices — including Wilmington, Newark and Dover.

Most school districts and private schools have closed for the day.

DART canceled all fixed route and paratransit services in Sussex County.

“DelDOT crews are working hard this morning to clear Delaware’s primary roads,” said Gov. Jack Markell in a statement released early this morning. “While the snow will stop this morning, freezing conditions will remain throughout the day and some roads will remain treacherous. DelDOT does not expect to start clearing secondary roads statewide until mid-day. Due to those road conditions and because it does not appear that state facilities will be safe for employees and the public until some point late today, state offices will be closed. Other employers should evaluate for themselves whether and when their facilities will be safe and the status of road conditions in their vicinity. We encourage drivers who do not need to travel to delay or refrain from going on the roads to give DelDOT plows time and ability to work.”

At an 8:40 a.m. news conference in Wilmington, Markell said after driving into Wilmington he felt “we definitely made the right call.”

Roads are reported snow covered, said Gary Laing, spokesman for the Delaware Emergency Management Agency near Smyrna.

“Road and weather conditions will have varying impacts on the morning rush hour. Motorists should allow extra time for their morning commute, reduce speeds, and use extreme caution while driving,” Laing said.

The speed limit on Interstate 495 was reduced to 45 mph around 3 a.m., he said, and the speed limit on the Delaware Memorial Bridge was dropped to 50 mph.

“DelDOT is plowing and salting major roads across the state, and will get to secondary and minor roads as the snow ends,” Laing said.

Delaware Technical & Community College closed all of its campuses.

The University of Delaware’s main campus in Newark is open today but the Wilmington and Georgetown sites are closed and the Lewes campus will open two hours late.

All Wilmington University locations are closed until 4 p.m. Offiicials said a decision on evening classes will be made by 3 p.m.

Wesley College main campus and Dover Air Force Base classes are canceled today.

Laing said there have been some minor problems statewide with power outages, but most areas have been restored. Delmarva Power reported only a half dozen outages at 6 a.m.

At 8 a.m., snowfall totals ranged from 6.5 inches at Selbyville to 2.4 inches in Newark, according to the Delaware Environmental Observing System and the National Weather Service.

Another storm Wednesday may bring up to 2 inches of snow, the Weather Service says.

Latest details on school closings, delays