Last week’s storm may not have been historic, but it still got a lot of rain in a short time.
Kevin Brisson, director of the Delaware Environmental Observing System for the University of Delawaresaid rain gauges for the Slaughter Beach area show 10 inches of rain from September 30 to October 5. That’s a lot more rain than the typical month, not to mention lasting four or five days, he said.
Brinson said communities along the Delaware Bay showed the most rain, with Lewes receiving nearly 7 inches. It wasn’t just the amount of rain, as the wind continued to blow onshore and kept the tides from flowing out of Delaware Bay and inland bays, he said.
There is a tide gauge at Rosedale Beach in Oak Orchard that showed levels above flood stage, Brinson said. According to this gauge, the tide reached around 4.6 feet at Oak Orchard twice – the end of day tide on October 2 and 3.
It’s not unprecedented, Brinson said.
Brinson described this week’s weather as “not a typical weather pattern.” The energy from what was left of Hurricane Ian was absorbed by a coastal low that sat offshore for a few days.
Looking ahead, Brinson said it’s unclear if storms like this or the Mother’s Day storm earlier this year will be more frequent. Some studies suggest this is the case, but this is also the time of year when there is an increase in coastal storms.
“As we move into the fall, we are still in an active tropical storm season,” Brinson said. “There are more dynamic storm systems around this time of year. There are all the ingredients for more interesting weather.
Some Rehoboth dune crossings still closed
In response to storm damage to the city’s dunes, Rehoboth Beach issued a notice Oct. 3 that it had closed the dune crossings from Surfside Place to Brooklyn Avenue.
City spokeswoman Lynne Coan said Oct. 6 that beach access points from Rehoboth Avenue South are open. However, she said, the dune crossings between Baltimore and Pennsylvania avenues remain closed due to cliffs that make it impossible to access the beach safely from the boardwalk.
About nine months ago, Congress approved a $1.5 trillion spending package that gives Delaware $97 million for beach replenishment and other projects across the state.
Coan said the city has confirmation from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control that beach replenishment is scheduled in Rehoboth this fall/winter/spring. The state will examine the damage and report it to the Army Corps of Engineers, she said.
The city declined to speculate on the structural integrity of the dunes, which protect city infrastructure and property from damage.
“We can say we were pleased with the performance of the dunes and appreciate the protection they provided to the boardwalk and other structures,” Coan said.
The storm hits Milton particularly hard
Rainstorms in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian hit downtown Milton particularly hard, especially on Union Street near the library.
On the night of October 3, water pooled near the intersection of Union and Magnolia streets. City Manager Kristy Rogers said three streets needed to be closed: Chandler, Front and Magnolia streets, especially during high tides. Rogers said she wasn’t sure exactly how much rain Milton had received, but as people left the Oct. 3 city council meeting, they were greeted by sidewalks and streets that were in water up to the ankles.
Journalist Ryan Mavity contributed to this story.