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Blizzard conditions, heavy coastal flooding to continue through Saturday

Tom Byrne/Delaware Public Media

Blizzard conditions are expected in Kent and New Castle counties through much of Saturday, with 12 to 18 inches of snow in the forecast. Sussex County is set to see heavy coastal flooding at high tides.

Meteorologist Lance Franck with the National Weather Service says winds will gust from 30 to 45 miles per hour statewide.

"What that does is it causes considerable blowing and drifting of snow and makes roadways impassable in terms of travel and also visibility very low in terms of travel," Franck says.

That visibility could be as low as a quarter mile, he says. The I-95 corridor is set to be heavily impacted, with DelDOT roads crews prioritizing keeping 95, 202 and Routes 1 and 13 clear. Still, drivers are being asked to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary until the storm abates.

Below the Kent County line, expected snowfall drops off to just about 4 inches.

The problem in Sussex County, Franck says, will be coastal flooding. Franck says towns like Lewes and Cape May, New Jersey could see water levels in the top 5 ever recorded, with waves 15 to 20 feet high at the entrance of Delaware Bay and along the ocean coast.

"We want folks to be prepared for rising water, be prepared to take action to protect life and property," Franck says. "And it's really important to emphasize to follow the recommendations of local emergency management officials -- because some of the roads will be impassable possibly for several hours around the time of high tide."

Saturday morning's high tide is expected to bring the worst of it. But two more high tides Saturday night and Sunday morning could exacerbate water on roads that often flood in just a rainstorm.

Snowfall is expected to lessen Saturday night, with much of the storm subsiding Sunday morning.

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