Category Archives: Weather Alert

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

Weather Advisory – Tropical Storm Philippe

You probably have heard that Tropical Storm Philippe formed overnight yesterday. The storm remains in large part – poorly organized, and shouldn’t see significant strengthening as a tropical system. A fast-moving cold front will pick up the system today and bring it towards the northeastern US as a post-tropical low.

As of right now, no transit agencies have made any special announcements. Florida will largely be spared by Philippe’s wrath, with the worst of the storm’s effects being felt in Cuba and over the Caribbean waters. So aside from some possible minor detours due to rain and flooding issues in South Florida, it’s business as usual for all Florida transit agencies.

The northeastern US, including the New York City metro region should pay close attention to the remnants of Philippe, as some forecast tracks have the low pressure system possibly striking somewhere along the northeastern US coastline as it moves along with the front and the jet stream.

Please stay tuned to local media outlets for the latest.

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Weather Advisory – Hurricane Nate

The storm has been officially upgraded to Category 1 Hurricane status as of 11:00pm on 10/6/17.

October is always a month to watch when it comes to tropical activity because tropical storms are most favorable to form in the western Caribbean. Well, over the past couple of days, we’ve seen tropical development near the southwestern portion of Central America, which eventually formed into Tropical Depression 16, and then Tropical Storm Nate (yes, my fictional main character is unfortunately intertwined in this real-life storm). Nate reached Category 1 Hurricane status late Friday night.

As of right now, the storm is projected to make landfall somewhere between New Orleans, LA and Pensacola, FL. Watches and Warnings are up all along the northern/central Gulf Coast, and States of Emergency have been declared in the affected areas of LA, MI, AL, and FL. If you are in an area that will be affected by Nate, you should complete your preparations by 12-noon today.


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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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Legalese | Disclosures

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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Legalese | Disclosures

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.


Please be sure to bookmark my website: hartride2012tampa.wordpress.com | Contact Me.

You can also find me on Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube

Legalese | Disclosures