Inland Towns Feel Isabel, Too
Sep 19, 2003, 13:35

While not near the raging Atlantic Ocean, inland towns in Sussex County felt some of the effects of Hurricane Isabel and its tropical storm force winds.

Communities from Greenwood to Milton felt some impact from Isabel, but the City of Seaford and the Town of Milton probably felt the biggest impacts.

Flooding continued to be a problem in Seaford and Blades along the Nanticoke River on Friday.

In its 8 p.m. bulletin, the Delaware Department of Transportation reported that U.S. 13A between Road 509 in Seaford and High Street in Blades was closed due to flooding on the drawbridge there.

Seaford City Manager Dolores Slatcher said earlier in the day that for the first time in anyone's memory, the Nanticoke River breached the town bulkhead, although it didn't affect any residences.

Seaford Mayor Daniel Short said Thursday night he hoped that would not happen but that officials there were concerned because of how low the low tide had been earlier Thursday and because of forecasts of a 3- to 5-foot storm surge in the Chesapeake Bay.

The city removed its docks and canoe launch in preparation for the surge.

The storm also had the city's Department of Public Works on the run with numerous downed trees and power outages throughout the day and night. Seaford operates its own electric plant.

Slatcher said about 200 to 250 customers remained without power Friday afternoon. She said the town would have to replace 6 fallen electrical poles and a transformer.

"Our intention is to stay here and get it done," she said.

Short said that city crews had been out continuously since noon Thursday responding to power outages caused by downed trees. As of 8 p.m. Thursday, the southeast side of the city, home to medical facilities such as Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and care facilities such as the Methodist Manor House, were without power.

"All of those units have backup power," Mayor Short said.

Short said city offices would be open for anyone needing assistance on Friday. He also credited the Seaford Fire Department for its assistance in removing downed trees.

The towns of Laurel and Blades also suffered flooding. Front Street between Cooper and Central was closed in Laurel due to flooding from Broad Creek. The causeway between Seaford and Blades was also closed.

In Milton, low-lying areas in the town's center were flooded "the minute we started getting the heavy rain earlier," said Milton police officer Torres.

Torres said the Broadkill River overflowed its banks and forced the town to shut down Magnolia Street.

Those low-lying areas were on the state's evacuation list, but Torres said he wasn't aware of many evacuations from the town.

He said power had been lost "on and off, just a couple of power lines down from trees. Power is back on now."

Elsewhere, minor power outages and downed trees seemed to be mostly nuisances for most inland towns.

In the City of Milford, Mayor Joseph "Johnnie" Rogers said the city experienced quite a bit of rain and a few downed tree limbs with short power outages, but the Mispillion River hadn't yet posed a threat.

"Things are going pretty smooth so far," said Rogers. "We've had no major damage. We are keeping an eye on the river. We had that (flooding) back in the 1960s. High tide around 2 a.m. will be our biggest concern. If the wind doesn't change on us and blow more than expected, we'll be fine."

In Greenwood, Council President Donald Donovan said the town had experienced "a few minor problems," such as an old TV antenna that blew over on to a power line and caused a short outage.

"Other than that, a few limbs have come down," Donovan said.
"Fortunately we haven't had the high waters they were predicting. We had some high winds, but things are going relatively good."

Georgetown Mayor Ed Lester and Millsboro Mayor Joseph Brady said their towns had experienced few storm-related problems.

Lester said the town's public works department had taken care of a few downed trees in short order, while Brady said other than some blinking lights and minor flooding along the Indian River, the day had been uneventful in Millsboro.

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