Tropical storm watch in effect; 3 to 5 inches of rain, 40 mph winds expected

The Sussex County Emergency Operations Center is continuing to monitor the movement of Tropical Storm Hanna, which is forecast to track along the East Coast this weekend and bring gusty winds and heavy rain to Delaware. Forecasters expect Tropical Storm Hanna to pass just to the east of Delaware’s coast on Saturday. However, as the storm’s center moves northward, the system is expected to reach far enough inland to spread heavy rain and strong winds across Sussex County. Rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches, with winds up to 40 mph, are possible. Gusts could reach 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

The National Hurricane Center has posted a tropical storm watch for the entire state, which went into effect at 5 p.m. Thursday. Minor tidal flooding, some beach erosion and strong rip currents are considered likely during the event.
The first effects of the storm are expected to begin as early as Friday evening, with winds and rain increasing during the overnight hours into Saturday. The storm should clear the region sometime Sunday, officials said.

Sussex County officials were reminding residents and property owners leading up to the storm's arrival to secure loose objects, such as lawn chairs and trash cans, to prevent storm winds from turning those items into potential projectiles. Also, residents in low-lying tidal areas should make preparations now, if necessary, by making sure submersible pumps are working and checking storm drains to ensure they are clear of debris, they said.

Sussex County is encouraging visitors to the area, especially those who are camping, to closely monitor the weather and be prepared to take appropriate action. Additionally, swimming is not advised this weekend, as surf conditions will be rough and many area beach patrols either have limited staffs or have ended coverage for the season.

For updates, visitors and residents should stay tuned to local television and radio stations, the Coastal Point Web site, and the Sussex County EOC Web site, at Members of the public who have questions regarding this information should contact the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center at (302) 855-7801.

Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce officials on Friday morning announced the cancellation of Saturday's annual Bethany Beach Boardwalk Art Show in light of the oncoming storm, citing concerns about wind, rain and potential overwash of the ocean up to the boardwalk.

In the Town of Bethany Beach, officials confirmed Friday that scheduled voting in town council elections on Saturday would take place as planned, between noon and 6 p.m. at the town hall, regardless of the weather. however they noted that the town trolley will be running throughout the day and should any voter have special transportation needs because of inclement weather, they can call (302) 539-1000 (the Bethany Beach Police Department) and the Town will arrange for their transportation.