The blizzard of 2018. The bomb cyclone. The bombogenesis. ‘That #@$%! snow.’ Whatever you called the epic storm that roared through the southern portions of the peninsula in early January, you are probably sick of hearing about it.
However, the timeline of the storm deserves a review. Keep in mind the following chart while reading the timeline of the Blizzard, because after reviewing the facts, one can see Delaware’s response was objectively ridiculous:
|Blizzard of 2018 comparative analysis: DE v. MD|
Area affected by Blizzard (Sq. mi)
|% of State||47.25%||11.91%|
Population affected by Blizzard (2015)
|% of Population||22.84%||3.00%|
|Number of Announcements/Alerts/Warnings from State Emergency Management Agency||1||3|
|Governor’s first quote in relation to storm (T = 8:30 PM, Jan. 3rd)||Jan. 4th, 2:15 PM
|Jan. 3rd, 5:30 PM
|State’s Emergency Management Agency first release||Jan. 4th, 3:35 PM
|Jan. 3rd, 5:30 PM
|State Emergency Management Agency last release||Jan 4th, 3:35 PM
|Jan. 4th, 12:42 PM
|Driving Restriction emplaced||Jan. 4th 2:15 PM||
Jan. 3rd 9:15 PM
|Driving Restriction lifted||Jan. 5th 12:00 PM||
Jan. 6th 8:00 PM
|Length of driving restriction (hours:minutes)||21:45||70:45|
It began January 2nd, with the National Weather Service issuing a winter storm watch for the southern Delmarva peninsula.
3:00 AM January 3rd – The watch gets upgraded to a warning. The storm begins to be referred to as a bomb cyclone, or bombogenesis by national media, because of its potential rapid, explosive development.
10:00 AM – Delaware Emergency Management Agency issues a press release about 3 staff members going to Puerto Rico to help with Hurricane Maria relief efforts.
11:27 AM – National Weather Service issues Blizzard Warning for Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
12:24 PM – Delaware State Fire Marshal issues “Winter Fire Safety Tips” press release. Does not mention the impending storm, offers tips like get a professional to inspect your chimney annually.
1:40 PM – DelDOT issues press release regarding prepartions for the upcoming winter storm. Offers current snowfall estimates for the state (2 – 8 inches) as well as DelDOT’s plan of attack for the storm.
3:13 PM – NWS issues a Blizzard Warning for Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland, Sussex County. Shortly afterwards, Virginia Governor declares a State of Emergency for Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
4:00 PM – Town of Georgetown declares Snow Emergency. Implementing parking restrictions, residents asked to avoid travel.
5:27 PM – Maryland Emergency Management Agency issues a press release alerting people of the storm, explaining response efforts, and plans to coordinate with county and local governments.
“As we prepare for this winter weather I urge all Marylanders to use common sense and take all necessary precautions,” says Governor Larry Hogan. “Put safety first by staying off the roads whenever possible, following your local weather forecasts, and heeding all warnings.”
6:46 PM – Delaware Health and Social Services issues a press release “In Face of Blizzard and Winter Storm Warnings, Code Purple being Declared Across Delaware to Shelter People in Need” relaying available cold shelters opening.
7:31 PM – Governor John Carney tweets: “We are monitoring the winter storm expected to impact #Delaware tonight and tomorrow. #snowDE #netDE” providing links to school and state closings websites.
Over the next hour and a half, snow begins on southern portions of the peninsula. Due to frigid temperatures of the days leading into the storm, snow begins sticking and accumulating immediately. Roads pre-treated with brine deteriorate rapidly.
9:14 PM – Maryland State Police enact snow emergency plans for Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. Cars only allowed on roads if all four tires have snow chains or are snow tires.
10:52 PM – Sussex County announces its government offices will be closed.
11:21 PM – Gov. Larry Hogan declares a state of emergency for Eastern Shore of Maryland, saying “I urge all Lower Shore residents to stay warm, stay safe, and avoid unnecessary travel. Freezing temperatures and heavy winds mean increased danger on our roads, even after the snow has stopped falling. The state stands ready to offer any and all necessary resources to impacted counties.”
Later the next morning, MDOT Spokesman Charlie Gischler said Hogan made the right decision.
“That was a good thing to do that, because we do have some pretty seriously bad conditions out there,” said Gischler. “We’re urging people not to go out this morning, let us get out in front of the storm until it passes, and then we can make significant progress once it stops precipitating.”
11:53 PM – Gov. John Carney closes State Offices in Sussex County.
Midnight, January 4th – 2 inches on the ground in Georgetown. Main roads barely passable due to heavy snowfall and high winds. Heaviest portion of storm begins within the hour.
Snowfall rates overnight hours in Central Sussex County:
1:40 AM – 2.7 inches
2:40 AM – 4.1 inches
3:50 AM – 5 inches