Officials survey damage, mobilize services after tornado that caused extensive damage and claimed 1 life


State and county agencies are working with volunteer groups and mobilizing resources in response to a tornado and storms that claimed one life, led to numerous rescues and caused extensive damage. The National Weather Service confirmed Sunday that the storms produced the destructive tornado.

Sussex Emergency Management Agency photo.

The Sunday damage assessment includes the use of drones to cover a wide area.

Officials confirmed a fatality at a collapsed structure along Tuckers Road southeast of Greenwood in  Sussex County. It’s the first confirmed death from a tornado in Delaware since 1983 according to the National Weather Service.

Delaware State Police are currently investigating the death, as well as helping displaced residents and monitoring for criminal activity. The storm in New Castle County has reportedly damaged houses.

State officials, led by Gov. John Carney, will tour the Bridgeville area Sunday afternoon.


Initial reports indicate the tornado cut a 14-mile path from Bridgeville to Ellendale with widespread damage reported throughout western Sussex County. Preliminary assessments show at least two to three dozen homes suffering damage  in Sussex County.

Spring Storm 2023


State officials are mobilizing volunteers including the Delaware VOAD and using drones to conduct preliminary damage assessments as of Sunday morning. The National Weather Service in Philadelphia/Mt. Holly, NJ also plans to conduct storm surveys on Sunday at locations in New Castle County and Sussex County, Delaware, as well as affected areas in New Jersey.

The American Red Cross is providing aid. The DHSS Office of Preparedness also set up two reception centers. DHSS is activating a call center for those affected by severe weather and in need of shelter, food, medical, or other assistance. The call center will be open from 9:30 am to 5 pm EDT Sunday, April 2, 2023. Call 1-866-843-7212.

Many areas are closed to traffic as officials conduct investigations, assess the damage, and respond to the incident. Displaced residents returning to their homes are asked to be prepared to show identification.

Joe Thomas, Director of Sussex County EOC said reports of a tornado came in early Saturday night in the area extending from Bridgeville to Greenwood and Ellendale. Along with multiple requests for closed space rescue, county emergency officials and first responders conducted search and rescue operations last evening before another severe thunderstorm came through and halted operations.

Power outages peaked at 6,000 customers but were mostly restored and numbered in the low hundreds as of Sunday morning. DelDOT reported its Area 2 Yard at Newton Road was severely damaged. Newton Road is currently closed in that area and won’t be reopened until Monday.