Friday storm brings rare rain event, flooding, downed trees and more power outages


VALUEZTV AM EDITION




Jeff Neilburg


It was déjà vu for Delawareans Friday evening as the work week came to a close. 


Two days after Tropical Storm Isaias caused millions of dollars in damage throughout the state, a storm system that carried with it a tornado warning dumped heavy rain and brought strong wind gusts, downing trees and power lines throughout northern New Castle County.


And just two days after Delaware saw a record-breaking tornado path, a perhaps even rarer rain event occurred Friday night.


The Delaware Environmental Observing System measured 1.03 inches of rain in just five minutes at its Greenville station near Winterthur, state climatologist Dan Leathers said. 


According to the NOAA Atlas-14, the document that the National Weather Service uses to examine these types of events, that amount of rain in five minutes would be expected less than once every 1,000 years, Leathers said.


Leathers said he and his team were still looking at the storm in more detail Friday night.


The storm dumped more than four inches of rain at that Greenville station in around 30 minutes, Leathers said, and the area near Hockessin Fire Co. saw more than three inches of rain. So, too, did the Claymont area.

As of 1130 p.m., more than 11,000 Delmarva Power customers were without power.


It all happened quickly. 


The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 5:38 p.m., when a storm with wind gusts of 60 mph and the potential for hail was over Kennett Square, Pa., just over the Pennsylvania state line. 


By 5:49, the advisory was upgraded to a tornado warning as it moved over Greenville. The warning was in effect until 6:30, and severe storm warnings for all of New Castle County and northern Kent County were in effect until 7:15, while flood warnings and watches were issued until after midnight.


The sun was visible as rain continued off intermittently around 7 p.m.


At 8 p.m., NWS said the Red Clay Creek at Wooddale was at 8.7 feet. Its flood stage is seven feet. Later, White Clay Creek was flooding, too.


By 10:45 p.m., Red Clay had risen to 12 feet, five feet above its flood stage.


Scanner traffic indicated water rescues in the Hockessin area and as far east as Edgemoor. There were reports of downed trees and power lines throughout the county. Many roads were impassable due to flooding, and some traffic lights were out.



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