Category Archives: Weather Alert

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

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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Legalese | Disclosures

Weather Advisory – Watching Hurricane Matthew

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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

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.


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

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.


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

STORM MODE – Tropical Storm Erika

From now through at least Monday, I will be in #StormMode. This means that all planned blog posts will be suspended so that I can share important updates and information to the public. This includes updates on Erika, as well as transit service interruptions and road closures. Please be sure to follow me on Twitter at @TampaBayTransit for the latest. Twitter posts are cross-posted to my Facebook page for those who do not have a Twitter account.

Hurricane Season 2015 has officially begun

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

While it is predicted to be a quiet season this year, that does not mean a major storm could strike the US coastline…especially Tampa Bay. 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.

Continue reading Hurricane Season 2015 has officially begun

HRT Snow Routes

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Photo Credit: Hampton Roads Transit (HRT)

Back in December, I told you about Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) working on a system of Snow Routes, designed to provide basic bus services in the event that sustained snowfall is forecasted to exceed six inches.

In the last few weeks, HRT has unveiled those Snow Routes and installed blue “snowflake” signs at designated bus stops. The routes themselves are designated by color and will operate every hour (unless otherwise indicated) between 6:00am and 8:00pm Monday through Saturday. Sunday service will NOT be provided.

Now keep in mind, these Snow Routes will only be activated if sustained snowfall is to exceed six inches. Usually such circumstances will warrant schools and many other government facilities to close due to many streets being impassable. Additionally, many transit agencies, including HRT, do not have the resources available to clear streets on their own. This is left to the responsibility of the area municipal governments (usually the Public Works Department) to ensure that all streets are cleared of snow and ice. What this does do though, is that the plowing/clearing of thoroughfares is prioritized so that buses can move through quickly.

In events by which the snow routes are not activated, HRT will operate normal transit service to the fullest extent it can while ensuring the safety of customers and employees. There will no doubt be delays and detours, and customers should always arrive at their stop early to ensure on-time boarding. Additionally, customers stay tuned to local media outlets and social media for updates. Customers can also contact Customer Service (when open) for information, but keep in mind that operations may be limited during major weather events.

HRT will exercise caution when operating light rail and ferry services and will decrease or suspend services if weather conditions worsen. Customers should plan accordingly.

Further information on HRT’s Snow Routes and other weather related transit procedures can be found on HRT’s website.

HRT December 2014 Roundup – Includes January, 2015 Service Changes

There have been lots of happenings recently with Hampton Roads Transit! Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
There have been lots of happenings recently with Hampton Roads Transit! Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.

Let’s talk transit in Hampton Roads, VA. In addition to some bus service changes that have rolled out in the past month – and still to come, officials at Hampton Roads Transit have been talking about other issues affecting the area’s transit system. In this roundup post, I’m going to be discussing some of these happenings. Let’s take a look!

Connect Hampton Roads Survey

If you reside in the Hampton Roads area, chances are, you’ve at least heard about the Connect Hampton Roads plan, and perhaps have even taken the survey. If you haven’t heard about Connect Hampton Roads yet, then let me tell you briefly about it. The Connect Hampton Roads plan is aimed at asking the public for input as to what they need as far as better public transportation, as well as get the public more engaged in talking about public transportation in their area. These needs range from enhanced local and express bus service, to expanded passenger rail, to a network of Park-N-Ride lots, and more! With arterial highways becoming more congested, the need for better transit could not be more clear.

In late November/early December, the results of the Connect Hampton Roads survey were compiled, and HRT intends to use the results to present a comprehensive transit development plan to bring forth better transit service. Some other suggestions from respondents include more bus shelters, real-time transit information, and cleaner and safer buses.

NEWS LINK – Read more about what people are saying.

Emergency Snow Routes

Following a devastating transit shutdown due to several snow storms during early 2014, HRT has approved plans for 11 emergency bus routes that would be activated if sustained snowfall exceeds 6 inches. Corridors will receive priority snow plowing to allow buses to traverse when needed, thus allowing customers to return home without fearing that they’ll be suddenly stranded by heavy snowfall.

Routes will be distinguished by color and stops designated with a snowflake sign in that route’s color. Service will operate 6:00am until 8:00pm Monday through Saturday if activated. Sunday service will not be provided, and paratransit services would also not run, since regular bus service would be suspended during such emergencies. It is currently unclear if light rail service would be able to operate during emergencies.

Route maps are currently being formulated and should be available towards the end of 2014.

Adopt-A-Stop

Faced with a continuing budget crunch, HRT has found itself in a messy situation…literally. You may have seen the photos from local bloggers of trash cans overflowing at bus stops, as well as vandalized shelters. It’s something that no transit agency wants to have to endure with. However, with limited funding, HRT can no longer maintain upkeep of its many high volume bus stops. Instead of sitting around and letting the problem fester, HRT has decided to ask the community for help.

Similar to many Adopt-A-Highway or Adopt-A-Road programs in many states, HRT’s Adopt-A-Stop program allows members of the community, including businesses and non-profit organizations, to help keep bus stops clean. The program is free of charge, but sponsors are asked to sponsor a stop for at least one year. The sponsor would pick up trash at their chosen stop and report any issues, like broken shelter Plexiglas and graffiti to the agency. Each sponsored stop will get its own Adopt-A-Stop designation sign with the name of the sponsoring individual or entity.

Anyone interested in sponsoring an HRT bus stop will need to turn in an application to the agency to be considered. Further information is available on the HRT website.

Tidewater Community College to return to GoPass 365

After pulling out of the unlimited ride pass program last year, Tidewater Community College (TCC) has come to an agreement with HRT to participate in the revised program. Changes to the GoPass 365 program were made during the course of 2013 because the previous program resulted in a massive loss in revenue for HRT, despite high ridership.

NEWS LINK – Learn more about how the agreement was made and what TCC students can expect.

January, 2015 Service Changes

For its January, 2015 markup, HRT is implementing schedule/timetable changes to Routes 4, 41, 45, 118, and 918. Additionally, there will be a routing change to Route 41 by which it will serve the Victory Crossing Transfer Center from the south instead of from the north. The current segment via Victory Blvd will be eliminated in favor of a more direct route along Greenwood Dr and McLean St. A map of this change is depicted below.

Changes being made to HRT Route 41. Credit: Hampton Roads Transit (HRT).
Changes being made to HRT Route 41. Credit: Hampton Roads Transit (HRT).

Other Route Changes

  • Route 45: Evening trips from the Downtown Norfolk Transfer Center (the 7:20 pm, 7:50 pm, 8:20 pm & 9:20 pm trips) will depart earlier to improve on time performance and transfer connections at the transfer point at County and Court.
  • Route 918: One AM and one PM trip will be added. The AM trip will depart Silverleaf Park & Ride lot at 7:00 am.  The PM trip will depart Lafayette River Annex at 3:30 pm.

New timetables will become available closer to the time that these changes take effect.

Please help those in need in the Philippines!

As many of you know, the Philippines (which is my home country) was struck by a powerful Category 5 hurricane (typhoon) this past weekend (making landfall on Saturday, November 9). The storm, named Haiyan (though its known in the Philippines as Yolanda) caused catastrophic damage throughout the provincial islands of Samar and Leyte. The overall death toll is feared to surpass the 10,000 mark.

Although much-needed aid is arriving to the Philippines, things are going at a rather slow pace at this point (based on news reports, as of Nov 13). With such a devastating situation at hand, a situation I feel is far worse than Hurricane Katrina – which struck New Orleans, LA in 2005, I am asking for your help in making a donation to one of the following organizations to assist with storm relief in my home country! Below are just a few organizations that you can make a donation to. The process only takes a few minutes!

For those of you who have decided to make a donation, thank you so much for taking a moment out of your day to donate to one of these wonderful causes! Your help makes a HUGE difference! Of course, there are other organizations out there that are assisting with relief efforts. But please make sure that the organization that you choose to donate to is a trusted one!

HARTride 2012