UPDATED: Here comes the snow: Delaware's morning commute outlook

By DJ McAneny 6:40am, March 5, 2015 - Updated 9:27am, March 5, 2015
Courtesy AccuWeather
The weather is starting to shift from rain to sleet and wet snow in the Delaware region.

Snow totals so far, in inches

Almost 250 closings have been reported so far.

"We're making that transition now for the rain we had overnight to the snow, as the colder air continues to move in from the north." said AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Lundberg. "So from here on in it's pretty much snowfall in the area. If you've got rain now, you'll have snow within the next hour or so."

AccuWeather held steady on the prediction that 6" to 10" remained possible for the region, when the wet conditions transitioned over to pure snow. AccuWeather meteorologists predict snow could be falling at times at rates of up to an inch an hour or more. Temperatures remained at just below freezing, hovering around 33 degrees.

"It looks like it snows pretty steadily over most of the day," Lundberg said. "When all is said and done, a good 6" of snow will blanket the ground in most of the area. There won't be that much on the roadways--nonetheless, there's still going to be some slipping and sliding going on throughout the day as temperatures are going to end up in the 20s."

The northern Delaware region was right in line with the heaviest predicted snow accumulation associated with the system moving into the area.

Courtesy AccuWeather
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DelDOT has been preparing for the storm since Wednesday, to both alleviate the initial impact of the storm on the roads and maintain roads as the accumulation begins.

Delmarva also took steps to prepare for the storms arrival. Amtrak is operating on a modified schedule.

Newark has declared a snow emergency and Wilmington officials are offering area residents tips for snow safety.


State offices, schools closed as DelDOT asks people to 'stay home'

By Shana O'Malley/Amy Cherry 5:56pm, March 4, 2015 - Updated 9:27am, March 5, 2015
DelDOT is asking people to stay home Thursday, so they can effectively plow the roads in what will likely be the largest snowstorm this season.

State offices are closed Thursday along with New Castle County and Wilmington government offices. Many schools, including the University of Delaware and Delaware State University are also closed. For a complete list of closures, check out the WDEL SnoWatch list.

Forecasters are predicting several inches of snow will fall before the storm is over, and DelDOT has more than 330 trucks deployed up and down the state.

Mark Alexander, director of maintenance and operations for DelDOT, had a few tips to avoid potential accidents with snow plows on the road.

"Give our drivers plenty of room, stay away from the plow train, stay away from truck's spreading equipment," he said. "You would be amazed at the number of accidents we end up having for vehicles trying to get around us and end up hitting our plows."

He said mechanic crews will be stationed throughout Delaware to work on trucks that breakdown throughout the storm.

"During the course of a storm you have many things go wrong, it could be something major, it could be something as simple as the wiper motors are shot or the defrosters are messed up."

If a truck breaks down or gets a flat tire, crews might have to go out to fix it. Alexander said motorists should use extreme caution if they see DelDOT crews working on vehicles.

The speed limit on I-495 has been reduced to 55 mph while speeds have been lowered to 40 mph on the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

Contact Shana O'Malley at somalley@wdel.com or follow her on Twitter at @shanaomalley.



Newark calls snow emergency

By Amy Cherry 5:58pm, March 4, 2015 - Updated 9:08am, March 5, 2015
A snow emergency will go into effect Thursday morning in Newark, officials from the city said.

The emergency will go into effect at 1 a.m. Officials said full crews will initiative a "level 3 response" to the snowstorm with a mission of keeping primary roads passable for emergency access. Secondary roads won't be plowed until the snowstorm stops.

Those who live on snow emergency routes can park in the the University of Delaware's Trabant Center garage since the university is closed Thursday.

For more information on snow emergency routes click here.

The city's recycling schedule will be postponed until Friday as a result of the storm.

Newark is also reminding residents that all sidewalks must be clear of snow and ice 24 hours after the storm hits; citations will be issued for non-compliance.

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Contact Amy Cherry at acherry@wdel.com or follow her on Twitter at @acherry13.


Wilmington officials offer tips on snow safety

By Tom Lehman 5:56pm, March 4, 2015
With several inches of snow forecast for the Wilmington area on Thursday, officials are asking residents to be prepared for the storm and take steps to help keep themselves and neighbors safe.

George Giles, director of Wilmington's Office of Emergency Management, said residents should make sure they and their families are safely able to ride out the storm.

"If they need to check on elderly people around their house--neighbors or family members--we ask that they check on them," he said.

Officials also asked residents to be on the lookout for snow-covered fire hydrants.

If a hydrant that has been covered in snow or plowed in, Giles asked that residents dig them out or call the emergency operations department at 302.576.3917.

"Either our fire department or water crews will come out to make sure that hydrant is operational," he said.

Residents were also asked to not place snow shoveled from sidewalks into the streets because city and state plow trucks will be working to clear roadways.


Delmarva Power says it's prepped and ready for snow

By Frank Gerace 11:24pm, March 4, 2015 - Updated 6:36am, March 5, 2015
Delmarva Power says it's ready for the approaching snowstorm,and has some tips to help you prep, too.

The utility announced Wednesday it's in contact with local emergency management officials about the weather.

Delmarva reminds you wet snow and ice can weigh down tree limbs and bring them into contact with electrical lines, causing power outages, and trees weakened by previous storms can cause outages by falling onto power lines and equipment.

You can report an outage in New Castle, Cecil or Harford Counties by calling 1-800-898-8042--the number for Kent and Sussex Counties in Delaware and Maryland's Eastern Shore is 1-800-898-8045.

To protect electronic equipment, unplug it or use surge suppressors--Delmarva also recommends an uninterruptible power supply for temporary battery backup.

If you need to use a portable generator, Delmarva says you should follow the manufacturer's instructions and only use it when necessary, and if some of your basement appliances are prone to flood damage, turn them off when it's safe to do so.



Amtrak to operate on a modified schedule throughout Delaware region during snowstorm

By DJ McAneny 4:25pm, March 4, 2015
Amtrak announced Wednesday afternoon that its Northeast Corridor service will operate on a modified schedule Thursday in anticipation of the forecasted winter storm expected to impact the region.

The frequency of running trains has been decreased, but a combination of Acela Express and Northeast Regional trains are currently planned to be operational throughout the day. New York City and Washington, D.C., should see the highest impact, the agency said.

Keystone Service will also be impacted between Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia/New York City, additionally operating on a modified schedule.

The Downeaster Service between Brunswick, Maine, and Boston, Shuttle Service between Springfield, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut, and Empire Service between New York City and Buffalo/Niagara Falls all presently should operate on a full schedule.

Passengers with reservations on trains that are being modified will be contacted and accommodated on trains with similar departure times. Anyone planning to travel should check their train status prior to departing, allow extra time to get to the station and be extremely careful in stations and on platforms.


Dover Police charge man in connection to armed holdup of women, baby in library parking lot

By DJ McAneny 2:19pm, March 4, 2015
Matthew Gannon/Courtesy Dover Police
A 30-year-old man wanted in connection to holding up two women and a baby at gunpoint in the parking lot of the Dover Library was apprehended Wednesday, police announced later that same day.

According to authorities, Matthew Gannon was arrested at approximately 8 a.m. by Dover Police officers while he was waiting at a bus station at the corner of Queen and Water streets.

Gannon allegedly approached two women exiting a vehicle in the parking lot of the Dover Library with an 11-month-old baby in tow and stuck a gun in the side of one of the women, demanding her wallet from the center console.

Gannon faces charges of first-degree robbery, possession of a deadly weapon during commission of a felony, aggravated menacing, second-degree conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child. Bond information was unavailable Wednesday afternoon.


Cops: Dover man, 26, busted with 641 bags of heroin weighing almost 10 grams

By DJ McAneny 2:01pm, March 4, 2015
Tarae Ingram/Courtesy Dover Police Department
A 26-year-old Dover man was arrested Tuesday afternoon after he was allegedly found with almost 10 grams of heroin packaged for sale on his person, city police announced Wednesday.

According to authorities, officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop at approximately 2:27 p.m. on a gold Jeep Liberty in the area of Martin Luther King Boulevard and River Road, but the operator refused to stop.

The driver, identified by authorities as Tarae Ingram, of the 400 block of River Road, fled in the direction of the Capital Green Development and drove his vehicle towards the rear of Admiral Tire before fleeing on foot, police said.

Following a brief pursuit, officers subdued Ingram without further incident and allegedly found him to be in possession of 9.6 grams of heroin packaged in 641 separate bags, prepared for sale.

Ingram was charged with possession of heroin-Tier 5 quantity, possession with the intent to deliver heroin, disregarding a police officer signal, resisting arrest, possession of a drug paraphernalia, reckless driving, and failure to stop at a stop sign. He was committed to the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna in lieu of $71,602 secured bond.


'FREAK attack' flaw affected Apple, Android browsers

By Associated Press 9:14am, March 4, 2015 - Updated 2:01pm, March 4, 2015
(Jeff White/AP Photo)
Millions of people may have been left vulnerable to hackers while surfing the web on Apple and Google devices, thanks to a newly discovered security flaw known as "FREAK attack."

There's no evidence any hackers have exploited the weakness, which companies are working to repair. Researchers who reported the problem this week blamed an old government policy, abandoned several years ago, which required U.S. software-makers to use weaker security in encryption programs sold overseas.

Many popular websites and some Internet browsers can still be tricked into accepting the weaker software. That could make it easier for hackers to break encryption that's supposed to prevent digital eavesdropping when a visitor types sensitive information into a website. Apple and Google say they're distributing software updates to fix the flaw.


Waze map app to get Amber Alerts on child abductions

By Associated Press 9:14am, March 4, 2015
The Waze navigation app is getting Amber Alerts on child abductions.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is sending the alerts. They will pop up in the Waze app and be targeted to the driver's location. To guard against distracted driving, the alerts will appear only when the driver has stopped for at least 10 seconds.

Many cellphones already get Amber Alerts as text-like messages, but some users have turned those off. Google Inc., which owns Waze, already displays Amber Alerts with its Google Maps app and search services. The missing-children center also distributes alerts through services including Facebook.

The missing-children center said it would rather have people get duplicate alerts than none. The program has been credited with rescuing more than 700 abducted children in the U.S.



Flu winds down as FDA aims for better vaccine next winter

By Associated Press 6:19pm, March 4, 2015
The miserable flu season is winding down, but it's lasted longer than usual and federal health officials warn there's still a lot of illness spreading.

An aggressive flu strain caused most of this year's illnesses, and the vaccine wasn't a good match. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu-related hospitalizations of seniors were at their highest since 2005. It's too soon to know the death toll, but CDC has counted 92 flu-related deaths among children, close to the yearly average.

Flu viruses constantly mutate, and a slightly different so-called H3N2 strain started spreading only after the vaccine was being brewed - too late to add it to the shots. Wednesday, government advisers recommended adding that strain to next winter's vaccine, in hopes of better protection.

In Delaware, 26 people have died from the fluthis season. The death toll in Delaware this flu season has exceeded the four previous flu seasons combined.


Mouse study finds extra oxygen may spur tumor-fighting cells

By Associated Press 6:19pm, March 4, 2015
A provocative study in mice suggests something as simple as breathing in extra oxygen might give immune cells a boost in fighting cancer.

Tumors put up defenses to block immune system attacks. One way: Low oxygen levels inside the tumor can spur production of a molecule that blocks tumor fighters called T cells. Researchers at Northeastern University wondered if adding oxygen to tumors could strip away that defense. So they put mice with lung tumors in chambers that let them breathe oxygen doses similar to what hospitals deliver through masks.

Tumors shrank more in the high-oxygen group, especially when researchers also injected the mice with doses of extra T cells.

They cautioned the approach must be tested in people to see if it really makes a difference.



House passes Amtrak bill that could boost Northeast service

By Associated Press 6:19pm, March 4, 2015
The House has passed a bill that could boost Amtrak service in the popular Northeast Corridor while giving states more authority over the routes they help subsidize.

The bill was approved Wednesday by a vote of 316 to 101. It authorizes $7.2 billion over the next four years, keeping Amtrak subsidies nearly the same as current spending levels. Amtrak supporters had urged an increase in funds to address a backlog of infrastructure projects.

But the bill also would allow Amtrak to use profits from its Northeast corridor service between Boston and Washington to make improvements that could speed up trains and enhance service in the corridor. Amtrak officials have long complained that they've had to use Northeast corridor profits to subsidize unprofitable, long-distance routes.

Senate approval is still required.



Fossil jaw sheds light on turning point in human evolution

By Associated Press 6:19pm, March 4, 2015 - Updated 9:27am, March 5, 2015
This image provided by William Kimbel shows different views of the LD 350-1 mandible. The scale bars indicate 1 cm. The jawbone fragment is the oldest known fossil from an evolutionary tree branch that eventually led to modern humans, scientists reported
Scientists said a fragment of jawbone found in Ethiopia is the oldest known fossil from an evolutionary tree branch that eventually led to modern humans.

The fossil comes from very close to the time that our branch split away from more ape-like ancestors that are best known for the fossil skeleton Lucy. So it gives a rare glimpse of what very early members of our branch looked like. Our branch is called Homo.

The fossil is about 2.8 million years old. Its discovery was reported Wednesday in the journal Science.


DiCaprio partners with Netflix for series of documentaries

By Associated Press 6:21pm, March 4, 2015
Leonardo DiCaprio is partnering with Netflix for a series of documentaries he will produce for the streaming service.

Netflix announced Wednesday that DiCaprio and his production company, Appian Way, have signed a first-look deal with Netflix for nonfiction projects. The company says DiCaprio and Netflix will seek to develop and acquire documentaries and docuseries "with partial focus on environmental and conservation themes."

DiCaprio teamed with Netflix last year to release the Oscar-nominated documentary "Virunga." In a statement, DiCaprio said "Virunga" "sparked a shared vision" between him and the streaming service.

The deal adds to a growing stable of Hollywood talent Netflix has lured to its expanding original film operations. Along with an earlier deal with Adam Sandler, Netflix recently acquired "Beasts of No Nation" by "True Detective" director Cary Fukunaga.



UPDATE: Judge: More time needed to seek higher Revel bids

By Associated Press 9:15am, March 4, 2015 - Updated 6:29pm, March 4, 2015
A bankruptcy court judge said more time is needed to seek higher bids for Atlantic City's former Revel Casino Hotel.

Judge Gloria Burns delayed a decision Wednesday on the proposed $82 million sale of the shuttered gambling hall to Florida developer Glenn Straub.

She did so after Los Angeles developer Izek Shomof expressed interest in buying Revel, but for $2 million less.

Leo Pustilnikov, Shomof's partner, said he's interested in making a formal bid soon.

Burns said she's giving Revel AC and potential bidders time to work out the best possible deal for the shuttered casino.

A new hearing is set for March 12.

Two previous sales of Revel have fallen through.

The $2.4 billion casino closed in September after two years of operation, and never turned a profit.


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