Category Archives: Weather Alert

Posts relating to severe weather events will be housed under this category.

Weather Advisory – Hurricane Maria

I really didn’t want to write this post, but as of the writing of this post, Hurricane Maria has rapidly intensified to a high Category 4/low Category 5 storm. While the current track has the storm curving northwest prior to the Bahamas, as we saw with Irma, nothing is certain five days out.

Many along the NE, especially Florida, are already rattled by the effects of Irma, and another mass evacuation is the last thing we need right now. While you should not panic about Maria at this time, you should be paying attention to where it goes. Many factors will influence where the storm goes later this week, including Hurricane Jose – which continues to weaken over the Atlantic.

Further updates will be made as information becomes available. In the meantime, please monitor local media outlets for the latest.


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IMPORTANT NOTICE – Offline during Irma

With Hurricane Irma setting its sights on Tampa Bay and western Florida, I will be offline after 12-noon on Sunday, September 10, 2017. I don’t know when I will be back on, but I hope to be able to provide an update as soon as the storm is over. However, an immediate response may not be possible due to the severity of the storm’s impact on the region.

During this time, there will be no website activity whatsoever, nor any activity on my Twitter feed. However, my amazing Northeastern US moderator John will be monitoring and moderating my Facebook Page and Groups.

For transit agency service status while I am offline, you can visit the Florida Public Transportation Association website to find your area’s respective transit agency website. Please note as well that psta.net is offline from now until the storm has passed. You will need to follow PSTA on Twitter and Facebook for the latest.

As always, please continue to monitor local media outlets for the latest on Irma.


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Transit Agency Service Status Post-Hurricane Irma

Updated on 9/18/17 at 6:15AM – THIS IS THE LAST UPDATE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!!!

Please check the Florida Public Transportation Association website to find your area’s respective transit agency website.

Please be advised that due to the severe damage in the Florida Keys, Key West Transit will not be operating for the foreseeable future.


Service Status as of 9/18/17

Any transit agency that has not yet resumed full normal service is listed below.

  • Citrus Connection Polk County: Limited service will operate. View listing of operating routes.
  • Palm Tran: All services have been restored to normal operation, except Route 94, which will resume on a later announced date.
  • Miami-Dade Transit: All services have been restored to normal operation, except the following:
  • SunRail: Limited Trips – Please check the SunRail website.

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Weather Advisory – Hurricane Irma

Weather Advisory 1

Check the status of transit agencies in FL

If you reside along the US east coast, chances are, you’ve been following the progress of Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Irma has become an intense and dangerous storm – sustaining Category 4 strength during much of this weekend. The storm is expected to batter the Caribbean before eventually turning northward. The big question is, when will Irma begin making that northerly turn? Right now, high pressure is preventing the storm from travelling northward.

With the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey still fresh on everyone’s minds, it is important to not panic, but be prepared. If Hurricane Matthew last year tells us anything about Irma’s track, it will very likely wind up being eerily similar to that. However, anything can happen between now and this next weekend, so I urge you to stay tuned to local media outlets for the latest updates and get your storm supplies together now.

Get storm updates from the Weather Channel

Get your Emergency Plan together NOW

HART Emergency Service Procedures/Routes/Maps


#StormMode

With Florida Governor Rick Scott declaring a state of emergency for the entire state ahead of Irma’s possible impacts, we will be in full Storm Mode until the threat passes. As always, this means that I will suspend all planned blog posts to bring you whatever updates I can on how the storm may affect you. All social media posts will be relegated to weather updates, school/road closures, transit detours/suspensions, and other important information. The Daily Transit News Roundup will still be published.

Both Hillsborough Area Regional Transit & the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority provide emergency bus services when evacuations are ordered. These special routes are designed to bring people who have no other place to go – to designated shelters. For further information regarding these services, please contact HART [(813)-254-4278 or by visiting gohart.org] or PSTA [(727)-540-1900 or by visiting psta.net].

Further updates will be made as information becomes available. In the meantime, please monitor local media outlets for the latest.


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Weather Advisory – Tropical Storm Emily

Weather Advisory 1

It’s been forecasted all this week that much of Florida will be experiencing a lot of rain and some winds. This is because of a tropical system that has formed in the Gulf of Mexico. As of this morning, the National Weather Service has upgraded the system to Tropical Storm Emily.

During the next few days, I urge you to closely monitor weather reports, allow extra commute time, and plan alternative methods of getting around if transit service becomes severely delayed/detoured or cancelled. If possible, please also consider cancelling non-essential trips.

Tropical Storm Emily is expected to make landfall later this afternoon around southern Hillsborough County or northern Manatee County. As always though, tropical storm force winds and torrential rain extend well outward from the center of the storm. Tornado activity is also possible.


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Hurricane Season 2017

It’s that time again…June 1…the official start of Hurricane Season.

While the Tampa Bay region was largely spared from a major hurricane last year, one of which was Hurricane Matthew, there is no reason to not be prepared for “the big one”. The Tampa Bay region has not been hit with a major hurricane since the 2004 season, when Hurricane Charley – a category 4 storm – nearly missed Tampa head-on and jogged northeastward into Charlotte County, and then towards Orlando. Had the storm remained out along the coast for just a bit longer and struck Tampa, the storm possibly could have reached category 5 status and cause immense damage to all of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. A year later, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina – a category 5 storm – struck the New Orleans region, sending floodwaters into the coastal city and devastating the region for months. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy – a category 3 storm – ravaged the New York City metro region, flooding the city’s subways and ripping apart parts of coastal New Jersey. Katrina and Sandy were to two costliest Atlantic hurricanes in US history.

Many weather experts predict that it will only be a matter of time before Tampa gets hit head-on with a major hurricane of category 4 or 5 status.


So What’s The Forecast?

This season is predicted to be above average, with 11 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes (category 3 or higher) as forecasted by Colorado State University. Other entities have predicted similar forecasts and when combined, there could be anywhere between 10 and 17 named storms, with 4 to 10 of them becoming hurricanes, and 2 to 5 of them reaching or surpassing category 3 status.


New Forecasting Tools/Maps

Some of you may have heard that some of the forecasting tools that meteorologists have at their disposal this hurricane season will be different than in years past. For instance, the “cone of uncertainty” has changed and new wind prediction maps have been introduced. You’ll be able to see these new tools be deployed by local and national media outlets throughout this hurricane season.


Get Prepared NOW!

Now, I don’t want to give out erroneous information regarding Hurricane preparation. So I’ve left that to the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA, where they have a website dedicated to disaster preparation called Ready.Gov. I strongly encourage you to visit the site and make preparations before it is way too late.


HART & PSTA Emergency Evacuation Service

For those of you who don’t have transportation and may not have friends/relatives that live in non-evacuation zones or out of town (in other words, this is an absolute LAST RESORT); HART and PSTA operate special services during evacuation periods to allow those who have limited evacuation options to be transported to a county-designated shelter.

Please be mindful that once a storm passes, normal bus service will not immediately resume. Emergency crews will need to first assess damage, clear roads, and restore power. Once it is safe enough to put transit vehicles back on the road, core routes will be gradually restored first. These are bus routes that serve major population centers and normally see 10 to 25-minute weekday frequency. Suburban routes will be gradually restored thereafter.


Stay Off The Roads Once A Storm Begins!

Should the Tampa Bay region be hit with a hurricane of any magnitude; once storm conditions begin to affect the area…you need to remain off the roads! High winds can send trees, tree limbs, power lines and poles, and other objects out into the roadways. Flooding becomes a major issue – especially along coastal areas. Vehicles are at great risk of being damaged by winds, flying objects, and flood waters. And above all – your safety, and the safety of your loved ones, could be placed at immense risk. It is simply NOT WORTH IT to be out on the roads once storm conditions have begun affecting the area.

All transit services will be suspended as soon as county officials deem that it is too dangerous to continue running buses.

Additionally, the Florida Highway Patrol has full authority to close down any, if not all five major bridge crossings in the Tampa Bay Area; the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Bayside Bridge, the Howard Frankland Bridge, the Gandy Bridge, and the Sunshine Skyway. On the Skyway specifically, whenever high winds (anything above 25mph, sustained) are present, the “High Winds” indicator lights will flash as you approach the bridge. FHP will begin shutting down bridges when sustained winds reach 40mph.


Local Hurricane Preparation Resources

Please check with your county/municipality for detailed information on shelters, picking up sandbags, evacuation maps, and more. I have included links for each of the county government websites in the Tampa Bay Area. NOTE: This list does not include individual municipalities. Some municipalities may have specific information for their own residents regarding sandbag pickup locations, etc.

Hurricane Information for Virginia Residents (including the Hampton Roads region)

NOTE: Proper identification/proof of residency (i.e. state-issued driver’s license, utility bills showing address) are required when picking up sandbags.

Be safe out there!


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Weather Advisory – Watching Hurricane Matthew

Weather Advisory 1

If you reside along the US east coast, chances are, you’ve been following the progress of Hurricane Matthew.

Hurricane Matthew has become an intense and dangerous storm – briefly reaching Category 5 status in just a matter of 36 hours a couple days ago. Even now, it remains a powerful Category 4 storm as it bears down on the Carribean.

While we don’t know yet whether Matthew will make landfall in the US; many states along the US east coast aren’t taking chances and have or are preparing to declare a State of Emergency.

Get the latest on the storm from The Weather Channel

Get your Emergency Plan together NOW

HART Emergency Service Procedures/Routes/Maps


#StormMode

As with any major weather event, I will be in #StormMode beginning Wednesday morning. This means that all scheduled blog posts will be suspended until the storm has passed and major effects are no longer being felt throughout the region. During this time, social media posts will be relegated to weather updates, school/road closures, transit detours/suspensions, and other important information. The Daily Transit News Roundup will still be published.

Both Hillsborough Area Regional Transit & the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority provide emergency bus services when evacuations are ordered. These special routes are designed to bring people who have no other place to go – to designated shelters. For further information regarding these services, please contact HART [(813)-254-4278 or by visiting gohart.org] or PSTA [(727)-540-1900 or by visiting psta.net].

Further updates will be made as information becomes available. In the meantime, please monitor local media outlets for the latest.


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UPDATE: Tropical system develops into Tropical Depression 9

Weather Advisory 1

Things can change in the matter of just a few days, or even a few hours when it comes to the weather.

Late Sunday, “Invest 99L” developed into Tropical Depression 9 and is expected to become a Tropical Storm by late today or going into Tuesday. While the forecast track and the intensity of the storm remains uncertain, it is looking more clear that a trough will force the storm to turn northeastward towards central or north Florida.

Get the latest on the storm from FOX 13

Get your Emergency Plan together NOW

HART Emergency Service Procedures/Routes/Maps


#StormMode

As with any major weather event, I will be in #StormMode beginning Tuesday morning. This means that all scheduled blog posts will be suspended until the storm has passed and major effects are no longer being felt throughout the region. During this time, social media posts will be relegated to weather updates, school/road closures, transit detours/suspensions, and other important information. The Daily Transit News Roundup will still be published.

Both Hillsborough Area Regional Transit & the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority provide emergency bus services when evacuations are ordered. These special routes are designed to bring people who have no other place to go – to designated shelters. For further information regarding these services, please contact HART [(813)-254-4278 or by visiting gohart.org] or PSTA [(727)-540-1900 or by visiting psta.net].

Further updates will be made as information becomes available. In the meantime, please monitor local media outlets for the latest.


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Weather Advisory – Tropical System to possibly strike Florida this upcoming week

Weather Advisory 1

UPDATE AS OF 5:00PM, 8/28/16 – Weather.com

With Hurricane Season approaching its annual peak activity period, we need to remain prepared for the worst if it happens. Florida has been very fortunate to not get hit with anything stronger than a tropical storm in the past few years, but that luck could run out sooner than we think.

Right now, meteorologists are monitoring what is currently known as “Invest 99L”, which is forming east of Puerto Rico. If the storm were to strengthen, it would could a tropical depression by the weekend. By Monday, it is predicted that the storm could further develop into Tropical Storm Hermine. The projected path sends the storm northwestward towards Florida, but some projections have the storm skirting the southern part of the state. Right now, we just don’t know the ultimate path, but a barrier of high pressure is keeping the storm from turning northward.

Many long time Floridians will remember the 2004 hurricane season, where four hurricanes crossed the state – one after the other. While this season may not bring forth that same pattern, we must still be prepared. Be sure to have a plan formulated now and be ready to execute it if need be. Also, if you have to evacuate, know where to go. For further storm preparedness information, please visit Ready.gov.

Both Hillsborough Area Regional Transit & the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority provide emergency bus services when evacuations are ordered. These special routes are designed to bring people who have no other place to go – to designated shelters. For further information regarding these services, please contact HART [(813)-254-4278 or by visiting gohart.org] or PSTA [(727)-540-1900 or by visiting psta.net].

Further updates will be made as information becomes available. In the meantime, please monitor local media outlets for the latest.


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Weather Advisory for 6/5/16 through 6/8/16

Weather Advisory 1

Due to the threat of severe weather, transit agencies are prepared for the worst. If in the event that transit services become suspended, please make sure to have alternative arrangements made so that you are not left stranded at a particular place.

Tropical system to impact Florida

During the course of Sunday, June 5 through Tuesday, June 7 (and possibly even Wednesday, June 8), much of the state of Florida will be impacted by a tropical system that formed in the Caribbean a few days ago. This system will be bringing lots of rain, which in-turn will bring forth the threat of widespread flooding. As streets and tracks become impassible, transit agencies will begin to modify transit services so that the safety of customers and employees are not compromised. This includes placing bus routes on detour, and suspending bus and train service altogether if necessary. Please be mindful that during detour operations, some bus stops will be skipped and real-time arrival predictions will not be accurate.

For the latest information; please contact your transit agency or visit their website. You should also monitor transit agency social media accounts and reports from local news outlets.

Widespread flooding continues to impact Paris

Over the week, many parts of Europe have been faced with rain events of their own. Much of Paris, France along the Seine have been flooded, resulting in the closure of many popular tourist spots and intermittent suspension of transit services. While the subway system has been largely spared by the flooding, some sections and stations are subject to closure due to their depth and proximity to the rivers and other flood spots. Some bus routes are also either being detoured or have been suspended until further notice due to impassible streets.

The train lines most impacted within Paris include subway lines 4, 7, & 10, and commuter rail lines B, C, D, & E. All other rail lines operated by the RATP are reporting normal service otherwise.

For the latest information; please contact your transit agency or visit their website. You should also monitor transit agency social media accounts and reports from local news outlets.

RATP Service Status | SNCF Service Status

#StormMode

As a result of the weather event here in Florida, I will be entering #StormMode at 7:00PM on Sunday, June 5. During this time, I will suspend my normal social media and blog posting activities and instead post weather and transit service interruption information whenever possible. I will exit #StormMode when weather conditions have improved enough to allow transit agencies to operate normal service.


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