Sussex County EOC Reminds Public to be Ready for Winter Weather as 2023 Hurricane Season Draws to a Close

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With hurricane season coming to a close, another type of season is getting underway. During the winter months, this area has seen coastal storms also known as nor-easters. As the colder winds of the season blow, residents and property owners are encouraged to check supplies, monitor weather conditions, and take appropriate action if directed this winter season. The Sussex County Emergency Operations Center reminds you that while the weather may change, what remains the same is the need to always be prepared.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s seasonal outlook for this winter (December through February) predicts better than average chances for warmer temperatures and precipitation in Sussex County. Forecasters in mid-October, when the outlook was released, predicted a strong El Niño pattern to remain in place, the phenomena of warming waters in the east-central Pacific Ocean affecting weather globally. That includes producing warmer and often wetter conditions in much of the U.S., particularly along the southeastern coast. This pattern may affect the number of and intensity of coastal storms this season along the East Coast and mid-Atlantic.

Additional Information from Sussex County Government:

“Sussex County had only one short brush with tropical weather this season, Tropical Storm Ophelia, and overall we made it through pretty well,” Sussex County EOC Director Joseph L. Thomas said. “But that should never give people a false sense of security, and it should never be viewed as a ‘free pass’ when it comes to preparedness. Historically, nor’easter season can bring some of our most intense weather, from heavy rains and snow to strong winds and coastal flooding. That’s why it’s critical for the public to remain on guard, as severe weather truly knows no 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 across the county.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s seasonal outlook for this winter (December through February) predicts better than average chances for warmer temperatures and precipitation in Sussex County. Forecasters in mid-October, when the outlook was released, predicted a strong El Niño pattern to remain in place, the phenomena of warming waters in the east-central Pacific Ocean affecting weather globally. That includes producing warmer and often wetter conditions in much of the U.S., particularly along the southeastern coast. That could affect the number of and intensity of coastal storms this season along the East Coast and mid-Atlantic, but only time will tell.

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

Before the 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;
  • Ensure the heater and defroster work properly;
  • Check lights and flashing hazard lights for serviceability;
  • Pack a winterization kit that includes an ice scraper, de-icer for door locks, blankets, and sand or kitty 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 life-saving information in advance.

During the Storm

  • Listen to television, radio, or NOAA Weather Radio for weather reports and emergency information. Also, visit the Sussex County EOC website and its social media channels, including Facebook at www.facebook.com/SussexCountyEOC and Twitter at www.twitter.com/SussexCtyDE_EOC, for up-to-date information;
  • 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 the Weather

  • 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.

For more winter weather information and helpful tips, please visit the Sussex County website at www.sussexcountyde.gov/emergency-preparedness and click on the ‘Other Hazards’ link on the left to download a useful guide about preparing for winter storms and other types of hazardous events.


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