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Delaware seeks to build severe weather awareness

Tornado Damage in Kent County.jpg
Roman Battaglia
Tornado Damage in Kent County following remnants of Hurricane Isaias in August 2020

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Delaware.

And state officials say recent severe weather issues show why awareness is necessary.

The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) is working to make First State residents aware of what severe weather can do locally.

“This week is a week where we work with our partners from the Delaware Sea Grant, the Center for Environmental Monitoring and Analysis (CEMA) at UD and the National Weather Service (NWS) to talk about some of the main weather hazards that the State of Delaware faces," said Jeff Sands - the community relations coordinator for DEMA . "And it’s an opportunity to inform the public and hopefully help encourage them to prepare a little bit for these weather events.”

Sands says in recent years Delaware has seen what severe weather can do even if the state doesn’t take a direct hit from a storm. He points to the damaging August 2020 tornadoes in Kent County spawned by the remnants of Hurricane Isaias and last summer’s major flooding in Wilmington produced by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

He says these kinds of storms are getting more frequent and that’s why Delawareans should be prepared.

Sands says flooding, coastal hazards, thunderstorms, tornadoes and lightning are among the weather threats in Delaware.

He notes climate change is an issue and part of our evolving weather, and calls this week an opportunity to learn more about the threats and why they are happening.

Severe Weather Week coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Storm of 1962 that destroyed nearly 2,000 homes along Delaware’s coast.

To mark that anniversary, Delaware Sea Grant, the Center for Environmental Monitoring and Analysis, and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency host “Are You Storm Ready? Insights from the Storm of ’62 and Other Extreme Weather Events in Delaware” on March 3 at 7 p.m.

The 90-minute virtual workshop look at the Storm of ’62 in the context of more recent weather events while discussing storm readiness and resilience, and providing emergency preparedness tips.

The event is free, but requires advanced registration.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.