Georgetown experienced widespread flooding Monday evening when heavy rains from Hurricane Sandy caused the town's stormwater system to back up throughout town.
But by late Tuesday morning, most of that water had subsided, allowing town crews to begin clearing the streets of tree limbs and other debris.
"I think we had everything pretty much back in shape by the afternoon," Georgetown Public Works Director Bill Bradley said Tuesday evening. "The flooding was bad overnight, but I'd say we really dodged a bullet thanks in part to the preparation we did clearing our storm drains ahead of time and the hard work of our fantastic, dedicated crew cleaning up afterward."
Hurricane Sandy dumped more than 10 inches of rain on Georgetown in a span of 36 hours, according to the latest unofficial tallies from the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, N.J.
The Sussex County Emergency Operations Center said the storm also brought wind gusts of up to 75 mph, although sustained winds were less than initially predicted.
Bradley, an employee of Georgetown for 28 years, described the storm as moderate and not nearly as damaging as snow storms of years past.
"I think I've seen every type of storm possible and compared to some others we've had, this one was fairly easy," he said.
What did cause a problem, however, was the town's storm drains, which divert rain water to a system of ditches that feed into the Nanticoke River and the Millsboro Pond.
"Those tax ditches were created years ago, originally by farmers who used them to move water off their ag land, and have since been taken over by the state," Bradley said. "They're not really equipped to handle the amount of water from a storm like this, because once the river and pond fill up, the water starts back flowing in the opposite direction, which quickly creates a problem."
It's that backflow that forced as much as a foot of water out of storm drains and manholes onto roadways, like Edward, Franklin, James , Adams, Race and Laurel streets, as well as areas of Cinderberry Estates.
Strong winds also caused some problems, particularly with downed trees.
Linda Wolfe said a pine tree outside her home at the corner of North Bedford and Pepper Streets fell into some power lines sometime after 7 p.m.
"I was on the computer and my husband was watching TV when we heard a popping sound from it knocking the electricity out," she said. "The Georgetown police were here right away checking to be sure we were okay. I think we were really lucky it fell the way it did and not into our house."
The fallen tree caused residents on the north side of Georgetown to lose power until at 12:30 p.m. Residents on the south side of town also lost power for about three hours on Monday, although the exact cause was not immediately known.
Page 2 of 2 - The downed trees and fallen limbs were good news for a least one person in Georgetown.
Randy Gooner of Randy's Tree Service on Dupont Boulevard said he'd written up close to 15 estimates on tree and limb removals by 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
"I only saw about three uprooted trees that fell into houses or garages, while the rest were mostly dead stuff that broke off in the wind," he said. "But, all in all, I'd say it's been a pretty busy day."
- Schools in the Indian River School District, as well as Sussex Technical High School, will remained closed Wednesday.
- Gov. Jack Markell removed the Level 1 driving warnings across the state as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, though he warned the public to remain cautious of closed and flooded roads in some parts of the state.
- While Markell removed the state of emergency in New Castle and Kent counties, it remains in full effect in Sussex County, requiring the continued evacuation of areas or communities not cleared by emergency officials. Sussex residents who have questions about whether their community has been cleared can contact the Sussex Emergency Operations Center at (302) 856-7366.