Hurricane Sandy arrives in Bethany Beach

By Sean Greene 4:43pm, October 28, 2012 - Updated 12:26am, October 29, 2012
VIDEO: Sean Greene reports on conditions at 2pm Sunday in Bethany Beach
Hurricane Sandy was several hundred miles southeast of the Delaware coast, but the effects of the storm were clearly being felt in Bethany Beach Sunday afternoon.

A strong 30-35 MPH wind out of the north-northeast was pushing the tide and sand up towards the base of the dunes in Bethany. The Army Corps of Engineers just 3 years ago put up about a 6 foot high dune to protect the city's signature boardwalk and business from coastal nor'easters and hurricanes.

Most businesses were boarded up in Bethany, some just because the season was over, but others due to the storm, however DB Fries at the corner of Garfield Parkway and Atlantic Avenue was still open, although there were maybe a dozen people walking around, mostly taking in the scene at the beach.

Conditions were already bad in some other areas, especially in the area of the Indian River Bridge, the major link between Bethany and Dewey Beaches, as a breach of the dunes along the 8 mile stretch of Delaware Seashore State Park necessitated a full closure of Route 1 between the two towns. The alternate route is Route 24 to Route 113 to Route 20 to Route 26, which takes roughly 40 minutes instead of the usual 15.

Additional road closures could eventually happen as some of the back bays and creeks continue to swell, including Love Creek in the Millville area, the Assawoman Canal inland from Bethany and Fenwick Island, and also creeks in the Lewes and Broadkill Beach areas.

Supermarket shelves in the Bethany area were fairly well stocked with supplies, although the bread count was low at the Harris Teeters grocery store in Ocean View. Supermarket workers tell WDEL they were very busy in the morning and early afternoon, but as the wind began to increase, the customer count dropped.

A mandatory evacuation is in place for the extreme coastal areas, with businesses in those zones being ordered to close at 6pm. Red Cross shelters are available in Sussex County at Indian River High School, Cape Henlopen High School, and Milford Middle School. Pets are not being accepted at IRHS but are welcomed at the other two sites. IR's shelter coordinator tells WDEL that cots are no longer available, but there is plenty of room, just bring a comfortable sleeping bag to lay down on. Indian River had 450 people use the site during Hurricane Irene last year, and he says there is room for even more.if needed.

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