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Delaware beaches still 'vulnerable' from January blizzard, with more flooding on the way

Eli Chen/Delaware Public Media
January's blizzard left beaches like Broadkill vulnerable to future storms, with breached dunes like this one.

On the heels of a historic winter storm in January, coastal Delaware is bracing for more flooding and snow accumulation into Tuesday -- and officials say some beaches haven't fully recovered yet.

January's storm washed out much of the built-up dunes that the state had installed to protect beaches like Rehoboth. More dune replenishment isn't scheduled in that town and its neighbors until the spring.

With coastal flood and winter storm warnings in effect through Tuesday afternoon, Rehoboth's chief of police Keith Banks says they're monitoring the situation.


"I think we're as good as we can be, but we are a little bit vulnerable," he says.


But he notes that the Army Corps of Engineers and DNREC have made some headway on piling dunes back together after January's historic storm washed them out.

"With each week that passes by, the beach will come back on its own, too, and start building up and covering up some of the jetties that were exposed because of the storm," Banks says. "So it is starting to come back a little bit -- it's got a long ways' to go, but Mother Nature helps out a lot."


Still, he says the dunes aren't in great shape yet: "We've had damage, and it's noticeable," he says.

And it's not as though the beach has been empty -- just last weekend, thousands ran into the frigid Atlantic off Rehoboth for the annual Polar Bear Plunge.

Banks says they've done their best to clear debris and other items, like trash can lids, that could fly away in a storm. And roads crews are standing by in case of minor flooding or other obstructions.

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