Delaware Braces for Winter Storm - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Braces for Winter Storm

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(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP/WBOC)- Delaware Department of Transportation crews are preparing for a winter storm expected to blanket the state with snow and ice.

Forecasters say the storm could bring up to half a foot of snow in northern Delaware, with lesser amounts in central and southern Delaware. A winter storm warning was to take effect at 6 p.m. Thursday for New Castle County, with winter weather advisories posted for Kent and Sussex counties and much of Maryland's Eastern Shore.
 
Travel will become hazardous starting Thursday night, with snowfall rates of up to an inch per hour, and high winds bringing possibility of near-blizzard conditions. Temperatures in the 20s are expected to create icy road conditions.
 
DelDOT pretreated roads in Kent and Sussex County Thursday.

Lows will be in the teens in Kent County Thursday night. Friday highs will be in the 20s, and the town will have single digits Friday night.

It's not just the cold itself the Delaware Department of Emergency Management says you need to worry about.

"With the low temperatures we'll have, it's going to be wind chills in some areas around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. People need to bundle up and be prepared for it," said Gary Liang, spokesman for DEMA. "You really want to find shelter. You want to be inside during the overnight.

Liang says to be especially careful if you're traveling in the cold. Be prepared if your car breaks down. Have blankets and  water. And make sure your cell phone is charged. Getting caught in this cold can have serious consequences, like hypothermia.

"Obviously you'll start to feel really cold. Some people actually start to get a little confused, a little altered. Some people, if it gets really severe, can become less responsive," said Dr. Rhonda Gill, an emergency department physician at Kent General Hospital.

Frostbite is also a concern.

"The first thing you'll notice is your extremities will feel really cold," Gill said. "You might start to feel a numbness. Once you start feeling those, you want to make sure to get to a warm environment."

Kevin Usilton, executive director of the First State Animal Shelter and SPCA, says humans aren't the only ones facing the extreme cold.

"Shelter is required by state code for all animals," he said. "You must provide shelter. And when the temperature drops below 35 degrees, you are also required to provide additional bedding."

Usilton says failing to do this can result in charges as severe as animal cruelty, which is a felony in Delaware.

People are also getting prepared for the first snowfall of 2014 by flocking to grocery stores to stock up on food.

"They're only calling for maybe two to three inches of snow," said Michael Scheerer of Townsend, who was shopping at Food Lion in Smyrna Thursday.

Michael Scheerer and his wife Linda say they only came to the supermarket to shop for snacks.

"We just got some lunch meat and snacks for my grandson for his lunch, which I'm pretty sure he's not going to school tomorrow," said Linda Scheerer.

Michael Scheerer says a few inches of snow is not worth stocking up at a supermarket. WBOC asked him why.

"Because of the way the news hypes it up. They make it a big deal," said Michael Scheerer.

Not everyone agrees with Scheerer. Store manager Wade Williams says he's ready for a crowd. Williams says the busiest time for shoppers is between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Shelves are stocked with milk, bread, eggs, water and even salt.

"If we think there's going to be extra product needed, it should be here. It shouldn't be a problem. We have extra associates coming in to help handle the influx in business," said Williams.  
 
Thursday just happens to be Grace Ennis' normal shopping day.

"I figured it would be chaotic in here today, everybody after milk and bread," said Ennis.

So why do people flock to supermarkets for milk and bread?

"I don't know. I guess that's what everybody uses all the time, milk and bread," said Ennis.  

Still, with several inches of snow expected to hit the region, Scheerer says some folks are over reacting.
 
"I'm from New York so I was born and raised in the snow," said Michael Scheerer.

Several inches of snow are expected to blanket the region and bring with it bitter cold.

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