Markell calls for mandatory evacuation of coastal areas

By Amy Cherry 5:09pm, October 27, 2012 - Updated 1:31pm, October 28, 2012
Governor Markell orders a mandatory evacuation of coastal areas in all three counties in Delaware as the state prepares for a major hit from Hurricane Sandy.

The evacuation order begins at 8pm Saturday, giving residents along the coast in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties, 24 hours to get out of the storm's path. The state is expecting 50,000 people to be fleeing coastal areas. All evacuations should be completed by 8pm Sunday.

Markell issued a warning to bay communities.

"And the bay communities will almost certainly be cut off, meaning that it will not be possible for first responders to access them," says Markell.

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And he's asking people to take this storm seriously.

"You could be out of power for awhile. The trees with as many leaves being on the trees as there are, as much wind, as wet as the ground is likely to be, as many trees as are likely to fall, you could be out of power for a long time," says Markell.

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Shelters will open at noon up and down Delaware Sunday, and while the evacuation is mandatory, Markell says you won't be forced to go.

"Yeah, this is not a police state. People need to take responsibility, and if you don't get out, you're putting yourself and potentially others, including first responders in harm's way, and we look at that very seriously," says Markell.

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Markell has also issued a limited state of emergency that also begins at 8pm Saturday though that does NOT, at this time, include a driving ban or any business closures.

A decision on whether to suspend tolls hasn't been made yet.

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