Northern Delaware this weekend was trying to recover from intense damage from Friday evening’s freak storm.
The damage, among some of the state’s most affluent neighborhoods , was widespread and still very visible Saturday, with roads blocked and crews working to clear downed trees.
More than 4 inches of rain fell in just about an hour in the Greenville area, C.R. McLeod, director of community relations for the Delaware Department of Transportation, reported on Facebook.
High winds and ground that was already soaked by Tropical Storm Isaias a week ago combined for “a very nasty storm” that created “a tangled mess” of downed trees and utility poles.
Residents found it took them hours to get home Friday night with road after roads closed and flooded.
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library and the Delaware Museum of Natural History said on Facebook Saturday that they were closed but provided no details about any damage to their buildings or grounds. Brandywine Creek State Park said it lacked power and phone service and was closed.
“Not good,” Gina Mondzelewski Small wrote Saturday afternoon on Facebook about Del. 52, the main entrance for Winterthur and the natural history museum. “Don’t venture there.”
“Winterthur sustained severe damage to its garden, including scores of trees,” said Chris Strand, director of estate and gardens, Saturday afternoon. “In the opinion of our arborists, this is the worst storm damage we have sustained in more than 25 years.
“At least 35 trees – including many specimen trees – will be removed as a result of the storm, and we wouldn’t be surprised if that number climbed to 60 trees as we evaluate the entire property. It will take months to clean up. Winterthur’s historic buildings and world-class decorative arts collections seem to have survived intact. Staff are busy assessing the damage and checking the collections.”
Wilmington Country Club, a heavily wooded former du Pont estate, was said to have lost 100 trees. Wilmington Country Club’s website and Facebook page were not updated, and calls to its main number did not go through.
One residence on Route 82 lots 33 trees from its lot.
Centerville Road, Hillside Road and Thompsons Bridge roads would be “closed for some time,” McLeod said in another Facebook video.
Thompsons Bridge Road (Del. 92) was closed, because a section had washed out from “such a torrential volume of rain,” he said. The closed road flanks the Wilmington Country Club, Winterthur and Brandywine Creek State Park.
Traffic was slow Saturday on Route 141 and U.S. 202, partly because many other roads were blocked by trees. On 202, traffic was as bad as it can be during peak Christmas shopping time.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, Delmarva Power was reporting 256 outages affecting 7,941 customers. Most were clustered near Greenville, Hockessin, Brandywine Hundred and into Wilmington.
“First time I’ve ever seen this much water in front of our house! Welcome to our lake!” Oak Lane Manor resident Monica Hill posted on Facebook on Saturday. She and her daughter, Annie Garner, had been driving back from Pennsylvania on Friday evening, through “horrific” conditions on Del. 141.
Back home in Brandywine Hundred, the waters rose midway up her daughter’s car.
Adding to the mess on Saturday morning was a truck crash on Interstate 95, which caused the closure of I-95 northbound, north of Harvey Road, and I-95 southbound, south of Naamans Road. The interstate had been flooded on Friday evening.
The National Weather Service issued an hour-long tornado warning just before 6 Friday evening, covering northern Delaware and into southeastern Pennsylvania. The service’s official precipitation count at New Castle Airport was just 0.63 inches on Friday evening, but the airport is miles from the areas that reported the worst damage.
The weather service says there’s a chance of thunderstorms Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Christy Fleming contributed to this report.