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Lewes, Delaware
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September 17, 1999     Cape Gazette
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September 17, 1999

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8 - CAPE GAZETI, Friday, September 17 - September 23, 1999 .... Bob Bowden photos Above, whitecaps dotted the ocean, but there was plenty of beach to navigate as Tony Pratt of the Division of Soft and Water Conservation drove along Rehoboth Beach at Philadelphia Street to check on erosion and other storm.related effects. Longtime coastal resident Hal Dukes credited recent replenishment projects on Rehoboth and Dewey beaches for causing storm waves to break well offshore, thus diminishing their power by the time they reached the sand. i At right, putting precautions in place for Hurricane Floyd's arrival, Steve Jabier, in front, and John Hernandez of New-Jersey.based S-Pro-Con General Contractors bearded the win- :dows Thursday morning at Star of the Sea on the Rehobeth Beach Boardwalk. As high tide peaked at 1:30 p.m., waves were breaking on the beach and rolling up near the Boardwalk, but not reaching it. Below right, after a summer of drought, it was fun for Milton mother Sharon Vitella to let 14-month-old daughter, Kive, and 3-year-old son, Kai, splash in an honest-to-goodness rain puddle in Dewey Thursday. As the eye of Hurricane Floyd passed east of the Cape Region about 4:30 p.m., personnel from the National Weather Service at Mount Holly, N. J., warned of possible flooding in low-lying areas during high tide early Friday morning. Residents of low- lying areas were being advised to evacuate Thursday evening. iFloyd Continued from page 1 : At 3 p.m. National Weather i Service personnel at Mount Hol- ly, N.J. broadcast a hurricane and flood warning for Kent and Sus- sex counties and predicted Floyd would bring rapid sets of 25-foot waves to the Delaware coast, a 9- foot tidal storm surge and sus- tained winds of 40 mph, with gusts up to 75 mph during its late- afternoon, early evening passage east of Delaware. Heavy rains were predicted throughout the night, and residents were warned to beware of downed trees and power lines. While the Cape Region gener- ally fared well, there may be a much darker side to Hurricane Floyd. Carper said late Thursday that he had reports that several children in the Bear area were playing in or near a storm drain and that one or more children may be missing. Carper said his infor- mation was sketchy and "our prayers and hopes are with them." Rehoboth Beach police sealed off the Boardwalk to discourage storm-watchers gathering there, and Dewey Beach Mayor Bob Frederick "strongly advised" his town residents to leave the beach and seek shelter in the Cape Hen- lopen High School, which had opened its doors to evacuees at 1 p.m. He added that Route 1 might be closed without notice later in the day and the evacuation order might be upgraded to a mandatory notice. Dewey Beach resident Richard Miller had a ring-side seat during high tide at 1:30 p.m., as he re- mained in his Surfside Plaza home on the beach at McKinley Street and reported to the Cape Gazette. With an anonometer in one hand and a telephone in the other, Miller stood outside his home, the sound of whipping wind dominat- ing the phone connection, and an- nounced: "It's looking real dark out on the ocean. The wind is crazy, coming one moment from the east, then from the north and northeast, then from the south- west. I've never seen that before. The waves are curling and break- ing about 60 yards offshore and rolling about halfway up the beach. A little water is running under our building, but that's nor- mal. It's nothing like the big nor'easters. I think we've dodged another bullet." Lifetime Sussex County resi- dent and longtime Dewey Beach property owner Hal Dukes, who was washed out of his beachfront home during a severe nor'easter Jan. 4, 1992, said he actually went swimming early Thursday morn- ing as Floyd approached. "We've seen worse than this before, and we'll see worse again," Dukes said. "Floyd began weakening and falling apart as soon as it hit land in North Carolina. We got lucky again." Tom Carper called a press con- ference at 4 p.m. and said "My hope is that by nightfall the worst will be behind us...We were fortu- nate that no dune damage was re- ported and the storm surge was nothing remarkable." The worst damage appeared to be from heavy rainfall with nearly a foot of rain reported in spots. "We may have received as much rain in the past 24 hours as we re- Continued on page 21 Barefootin' Continued from page 7 northeast sides of the trees - the weather side - are prematurely brown while their counterparts on the protected western side are still green. Japanese black pines along the coast are showing the same effects with needles turning brown and in Lewes along Pilot- town Road a few stately bald cy- presses are showing the same im- pact. Roger Mallet of Dewey Beach, who keeps a close eye on the is- land plantings, said he thinks the trees will survive despite the salt burn. "My understanding is that these trees can survive at the shore - the salt air and the soaked roots. They've survived before. But it's so late in the season now, I doubt we'll see new growth on them this year. The pears at the south end of town often bloom a second time in the fall but I don't know if that will happen this year due to the salt. Looks like it will be an early fall. Not very colorful in Dewey Beach this year." Jack Gallagher, a plant scientist with University of Delaware's College of Marine Studies in Lewes, said damage to the trees has probably resulted from salt drawing moisture from the leaves and the wind drying them exces- sively. "Sodium ions in the salt are also probably poisonous to en- zymes in the reaves." Gallagher said some native species have been affected as well as introduced species like the trees of Dewey. "I took pictures the other day of beach plum bush- es that were beautiful on the land side and totally brown on the ocean side. They're as native as you can get. Red cedars on the other hand - another native species - are showing no effects. But it does point out how unusual it was to have the steadily blow- ing easterly wind with no rain." Most agree that the situation hasn't occurred in the past 25 years.