Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker today signed an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency in Wilmington due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Sandy. The State of Emergency will become effective at 3 p.m. this afternoon, according to a press release from Rich Neumann, Director of Communications.
The Executive Order includes the mandatory evacuation of the southeast section of Wilmington beginning at noon Sunday. This area of the city is located in a flood plain and will experience higher than normal water levels that may threaten the safety of the 3,000 citizens who live there.
The evacuation zone (the southeast portion of the city) is bounded by Vandever Avenue, Northeast Boulevard, Church Street, Front Street and South Market Street. This area is further bounded to the south by the City line just past the South Market Street Bridge and the Delaware River to the east.
A map depicting the evacuation area is posted on the City's website: www.WilmingtonDE.gov.
In the press release, Mayor Baker said he felt it was necessary to issue his executive order as early as possible today to give residents living in the southeastern section of Wilmington ample time to make arrangements to stay with family and friends before the mandatory evacuation becomes effective on Sunday.
The Mayor's State of Emergency declaration does not, at this time, affect any business or government closings in the city nor does it affect travel. Additional announcements regarding these matters may be forthcoming.
The Mayor said the City of Wilmington will provide transportation to those residents living in the evacuation zone until 6 p.m. Sunday evening if needed. Buses from the City's Parks and Recreation Department will shuttle evacuees to an emergency shelter operated by the Red Cross at William Penn High School in New Castle.
To arrange for transportation, evacuees are asked to call Constituent Services beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday by calling 302-576-2489.
After 6 p.m. Sunday, evacuees will need to find their own transportation from the evacuation zone. Residents from the evacuation zone are cautioned that once the heaviest portion of the hurricane arrives, flood waters may make it impossible for emergency personnel to rescue those individuals who did not follow the evacuation orders.
Evacuees who head to the emergency shelter at William Penn High School are urged to bring their own blankets and pillows due to limited supplies.
The Mayor said today that all city government offices and emergency managers are prepared for various responses and actions that may be needed because of the hurricane. He said the city will begin to feel the effects of the storm early Sunday morning, although the highest winds are expected Sunday evening through Monday night. Mayor Baker said Wilmington residents should be prepared for extraordinarily high winds in the range of 35-45 MPH sustained, with wind gusts to 65 MPH.
Page 2 of 2 - Rainfall is expected to also begin Sunday, with an accumulation of 4 to 8 inches through Tuesday. Residents should be prepared for the possibility of losing electric service for several days due to downed trees and wires.
The city will open its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 8 a.m. on Sunday from which the City's emergency response to the hurricane will be managed throughout the duration of the storm. All emergency calls should be directed to 911 as is always the case.
Here are the details of the Mayor's mandatory evacuation directive:
* The MANDATORY evacuation takes effect at 12 noon Sunday for the southeast portion of the City bounded by Vandever Avenue, Northeast Boulevard, Church Street, Front Street and South Market Street. This area is further bounded to the south by the City line just past the South Market Street Bridge and the Delaware River to the east.
* All citizens in the evacuation area should make immediate plans to vacate their properties no later than 6 p.m. Sunday night and are urged to make plans to stay with family or friends.
* Those citizens who do not have a place to seek shelter may go to the William Penn High School on Basin Road which has been established as a Red Cross Shelter. Citizens in the evacuation area who need transportation to the emergency shelter may call the City of Wilmington's Office of Constituent Services at 302.576.2489 beginning Sunday at 9 a.m. to schedule a ride (actual departures will begin at 12 noon). The Department of Parks and Recreation will provide transportation to the shelters.
• Should you choose not to evacuate the MANDATORY evacuation area, the Mayor and the City's Emergency Management Team stress that after 6 p.m. Sunday they can provide no guarantee that emergency or public safety services will be available to you or your family. The evacuation area will be patrolled by the Wilmington Police Department to protect properties and to ensure that no one enters the evacuation area after 6 p.m. on Sunday.
• The approximately 3,000 citizens who live in the evacuation area are being notified of the directive to leave by tomorrow night through announcements through the news media, the City's website and television station, and via the Delaware Emergency Notification Telephone System (DENS).
• Mayor Baker advises that if you do not need to be out during the duration of the hurricane you should please stay indoors until notification that no further danger exists.