Travel Weather Check

Clouds and sunset at Laramie, Wyoming

How do you prepare for travel?  Sure, we pack the right clothes, determine the route, lodging, fuel and other important factors that make the trip successful.  Did you check for weather?

During my recent trip to the Midwest states of the U.S., I thought more in-depth about the weather.  During the first half of 2019 the U.S. has encountered numerous wildfires, floods and tornadic systems. 

How do you know if a beautiful sunset could quickly change to severe weather?

I’m from the southeastern U.S. and we have these events as well, including hurricanes; however, I have not encountered the tornado types and flash floods that arise in the western side of the country. 

We heard of the floods through Mississippi, Arkansas and Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and throughout the region.  I kept aware while traveling through these areas, mostly by checking the respective state’s 511 system, WAZE and local radio stations.  The primary highways were open, but some secondary roads were listed as closed.   

One of the state roads we needed to take in Arkansas was closed and there were no signs of a detour.  The GPS took us down some back roads, including a dirt road, and we finally ended up on the other side of the road damage.  I was questioning where the GPS was right though because it has diverted me at times for no reason. 

Traveling along the Missouri River in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas presented some problems.  Some of the major routes were closed but the Interstate 29 we wanted to travel had recently opened.  Here is an example of the 511 reports this week.  https://lb.511ia.org/ialb/roadreports/route.jsf?route=19%3A4&textOnly=false&current=true

There was a stretch of more than 50 miles where all exits were closed.  Imagine the impact to the farm community as well as the businesses that couldn’t receive customers. 

We saw many areas where water had been over the Interstate itself, and it still was not receding quickly.  There were also signs of damage to farm equipment and property.  At times I could not tell where a lake was because of the flooded plains.  It looked like continuous lakes. 

One of the major concerns I had was the possibility of encountering a major tornado that we hear about on the news many times.  These Midwest systems are much larger than ones in coastal areas.  I kept a keen watch for cloud formations and kept the radio on when I saw suspicious clouds and kept aware of potential areas to take cover in event a tornado formed quickly.  

Just look at these clouds as we arrived in Laramie, Wyoming.  I didn’t let my guard down and made sure my phone was on during the night in case an alarm was sent out.

There aren’t many places to shelter when one is driving in the open terrain.  That’s where radio information is invaluable and can tell us the direction of the system.  It’s also good to know your directions too.  Do you have a compass?

I had already decided if I was stuck in the open terrain and had no place to shelter, I would stop somewhere with a ravine, ditch or depression in the ground to minimize flying debris.  I also brought extra rain gear and coats to cover up while lying in a low area if needed.  Of course, you always have to consider the potential for flash flooding in these areas as well. 

Remember!  Highway overpasses are NOT tornado shelters and should be avoided.  They can create high winds funneling through that can bring debris and/or sweep you away. 

It was interesting that tornados hit some of the areas just before and after our visits.  For instance, a tornado (I think EF-3) traveled just north of Laramie a couple of days ago.   https://laramielive.com/tags/tornado/

I compared the clouds we saw to the clouds in these tornadic systems.  They looked the same to me, except our clouds apparently lacked strong wind circulation. 

So, when you travel – don’t forget to check weather and know the conditions in the area that could lead to dangerous weather.

Don’t do like the example of storm chasers in this video clip as they chased the tornado near Laramie.   Safe travels. 

More information is available at https://www.weather.gov/ama/severesafetytips. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

New Express Lanes – Northeast Florida

I-295 West Beltway express lanes sign reminds travelers southbound to be in the left lanes once they travel over the Buckman Bridge at the St. Johns River.

Northeast Florida has its first “Express Lanes” that opened recently on Interstate 295 (I-295) West Beltway in Jacksonville. Travelers will encounter the new restricted lanes on part of the south side of town near Orange Park.

General purpose lanes with no tolls will remain while tolls for the two Express Lanes in each direction will fluctuate depending on traffic volume. The tolls are designed to help balance traffic while allowing travelers a more predictable travel speed, at a minimum of 45 m.p.h.

According to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Express Lanes will use time-of-day pricing. “Customers choosing to travel in the express lanes will only be charged during rush hour travel periods. A $0.50 static toll will be implemented Monday through Friday from 6:00 AM–10:00 AM and from 3:00 PM–7:00 PM. Customers will not be charged a toll to use the express lanes during all other times.”

Depending on the volume of vehicles, the toll may increase during peak traffic.

Video ride in the new express lanes in Jacksonville, Florida

Toll roads are not popular in northeast Florida and were removed years ago. At least travelers have a choice with the Express Lanes, while the effort helps with traffic congestion.

Northbound on I-295 toward St. Johns River

Jacksonville is one of the major locations for travelers entering and leaving Florida, especially on the east coast. Travelers will notice construction on major highways in and around Jacksonville, including work for additional Express Lanes. It’s best to check your routes beforehand, and have a map handy, as GPS directions may not be updated as frequently as the highway patterns change.

Southbound from St. Johns River toward I-95

Apps like Florida 511 (FL511) and WAZE provide fairly up-to-date information; but you may still need a map to navigate construction and by-pass routes in case of an emergency on the major highways.

More information about Florida’s Express Lanes is located at http://floridaexpresslanes.com/northeastfl/ .

If you need a SunPass during your visit to Florida, which could give you a discount on certain tolls, you may obtain one at a welcome center as you enter the state. Certain retailers have them too. I suggest checking the SunPass website for more information, including where the SunPass may be used in other states. https://sunpass.com

Safe travels in Florida!

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Boat or float

Sun, clouds and boating at Matanzas Inlet, St. Augustine, Florida

It’s safe boating week and time to think more clearly about our activities in and around the water. Whether you boat or float it’s good to recognize safe procedures. If you are not safe in the boat then it’s likely you’ll float in the water; and hopefully not be subdued by the elements. If you float and are not careful then you may encounter a boat. https://safeboatingcampaign.com

In 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 658 deaths in the U.S. from boating incidents, with 75 percent of those deaths caused by drowning. Of those deaths, 85 percent are reported as not wearing their life jackets.

In the U.S. there is currently a national boat safety emphasis going on now. National Safe Boating Week kicked off with “Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day,” May 17. Although I don’t work in a workplace any longer I don’t recall seeing anyone wearing a flotation device around. Did you? #safeboating

The safe boating campaign goes on throughout the boating season, whenever that is in your own area around the world.

I’m curious! How are these safety procedures presented and followed in other places of the world?

The Safe Boating Campaign reminds boaters to follow these safety tips:

  • Take a boating safety course.
  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  • Watch the weather.
  • No distracted boating.
  • Travel at safe speeds.
  • Never boat under the influence.
  • Have more than one communication device that works when wet.

Safe travels, boating and floating!

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

How safe is YOUR work zone?

Construction worker having to cross the highway between vehicles slowing down for him.

I guess it depends on your interpretation but we each have a work zone, don’t we?  Okay, for those who don’t work outside the home how about our safety or comfort zone?  Think about it for a minute. 

We all want our “zones” to be free from threats, abuse, danger and even discomfort.  We need to strive toward ensuring personal safe zones for sure, but let’s expand it also for driving as well.   

It’s really not much difference between the small zone and the large work zone where so many workers around the highways have to work.  Give it some thought again.  Construction, maintenance and emergency response along our roadways create work zones for those who make a living around them. 

Highway repair workers work close to Interstate traffic.

If we realized a family member works just a couple of feet from people driving at high speeds, and sometimes while being distracted, would we be more conscious about slowing down and being observant?  I think so.  They deserve to work in a safe environment too, and come home safely to their loved ones. 

This week is the National Work Zone Awareness Week 2019 in the U.S. 

I’m not sure how work zone safety is emphasized in other countries, and I would like to know, but let’s be more mindful as we see these orange zones, barrels and flags while driving the highways.  They are not placed there for decoration.

National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), in its 19th year, is a national public awareness campaign that spreads the message that we are all responsible for work zone safety. This year’s NWZAW is April 8-12, 2019, and this year’s theme is “Drive Like You Work Here”. (Florida Department of Transportation and National Highway Safety Administration)

Recent statistics from the National Highway Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) show (from 2016 to 2017) a two percent increase in total work zone fatalities and increase from 668 to 710 total work zone crashes. Those startling statistics further demonstrate the importance of spreading awareness of work zone safety and participating in NWZAW to spread the message that we all play a role in getting roadway workers home safely.

Additionally, there were a total of 158,000 work zone crashes total in 2016—of which 42,000 were injury-involved crashes that resulted in 61,000 injuries – which underscores the need for further awareness of how to behave and drive safely in work zones.

U.S. National Highway Safety Administration

This awareness campaign is only a week but let’s allow it to carry over throughout the year. 

To learn more about NWZAW, visit www.nwzaw.org.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Women’s Bike Month

Street art at a bicycle shop in High Springs, Florida

Who knew that March is Women’s Bike History Month?  I discovered this while comparing Florida’s Bike Month to the May Bike Month by The League of American Bicyclists, established in 1880. 

So, I’ll combine some of the history of the contribution of women along with come bicycle safety tips.  

In 1896, Susan B. Anthony — one of the most important leaders in the women’s suffrage movement — shared her perspective on bicycling with intrepid reporter, Nellie Bly. “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling,” she said. “I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel… the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”  https://bikeleague.org/content/march-womens-bike-history-month

I never realized this.  According to the Bike League article, Anthony wasn’t alone. The article mentioned her friend, and fellow suffragette, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, wrote an entire article for the American Wheelman praising the bicycle for encouraging the building of “good roads,” and increasing people’s mobility.  It states, most importantly, though: “The bicycle will inspire women with more courage, self-respect and self-reliance, and make the next generation more vigorous of mind and body; for feeble mothers do not produce great statesmen, scientists and scholars.” 

Well, I’m not certain about the latter part of the statement but maybe that was a challenge enough to encourage women to begin expanding their horizons with confidence.  Could it have been simply a bicycle that helped trigger this progress?

So, when is bicycle month?  The Bike League focuses on May.  https://bikeleague.org/bikemonth

Florida has the emphasis in March. so I’ll concentrate on that.  Do other states and countries have various months to reinforce bicycle safety?

Florida Department of Transportation Alert Today Florida reminder

I can see why Florida chose to emphasize bicycle usage in March – for health and safety.  The weather warms and many are already out on the roads with these two-wheelers, and sometimes one or three-wheelers.  https://floridabicycle.org/march-is-florida-bike-month

So, as you warm up and exercise on your bike that has been sitting around for the winter, let’s highlight a few safety pointers.  First, give your bike a safety inspection and make sure it is operating properly, including lights.

I realize each state and country has its own special rules and laws so I’ll just stick to a few things to consider.  Consult your own local laws where you ride – and when we travel to other locations. Let’s not assume our knowledge is sufficient for where we ride.  Check before your ride! 

Florida is a great place to ride your bike.  If you are driving in Florida, please be aware of cyclists.  Cyclists need to be aware of vehicle drivers as well.  Let’s have mutual respect and protection.

You never know where a bicyclist will appear; like on Interstate 10 in Florida

Florida Department of Transportation’s Alert Today Florida program has key information, and posted the proclamation from Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, for March Bicycle Month.  https://www.alerttodayflorida.com/ Florida knows the importance of doing everything possible to make roadways safer for all users.

I enjoyed making presentations to teens and adults alike to encourage vehicle, bike and pedestrian safety. I had fun re-enacting Larry, the crash test mannequin (which I changed to Larry the Smarty since he now buckles up, rides safely and walks safely.

Here are some simple tips to remember:

– A bicycle in Florida is a legal vehicle on roadways.  Don’t assume though that people see you or know the law.  Better to be safe.

– Cyclists on roadways fare best when they act, and are treated as vehicles.

– Bicyclists may ride on sidewalks as well but must yield to pedestrians and provide an audible signal while approaching them.

– Some local laws may not permit a bicyclist to ride on the sidewalk, so check before you ride. 

– Ride in the same direction as the traffic since the bike is an authorized road vehicle.

– If a designated bike lane is in the roadway, some local laws require bicyclists to use it instead of the sidewalk.  That may not be safe for children though. 

Sharrow emblem in Florida

– If you see an image of a bicycle on the roadway, called a sharrow, it means a bicyclist should be expected to be in the roadway.  These are often alternatives to designated bike lanes when there is insufficient space to build the separate lanes. 

There is so much more to reinforce for bicycle safety so please check out Alert Today Florida as well as  https://floridabicycle.org/drive-your-bike.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Bikers galore

Be aware of motorcycles, no matter where you drive.

March 8-17, 2019 is Bike Week in Daytona, Florida.  Motorcycles are everywhere, practically.  Don’t let them sneak up on your blind side, okay? 

Dubbed the “World’s Largest Motorcycle Event,” Bike Week is a 10-day Daytona Beach area event filled with high-octane street festivals, concerts, motorcycle races, bike shows, rallies, manufacturer showcases, live music daily at iconic venues like Destination Daytona, Iron Horse Saloon, Main Street Station, Full Moon Saloon, Boot Hill Saloon, Bank and Blues and much more! Established more than seven decades ago, over 500,000 motorcyclists make the annual pilgrimage to this Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event.  https://www.daytonabeach.com/event/daytona-bike-week-2019/38445/

My personal opinion – drive and enter with caution. 

This video clip reflects how bikes can come out of nowhere.

I rode a motorcycle years ago and enjoyed jumping the hills and riding the trails, but was always cautious maneuvering around traffic. I would venture to say most large bike owners, such as Harley Davidson riders, are more conservative than the sleek, high-energy bikes, which remind me of road rockets. Do you agree?

Official information about Bike Week is located at https://officialbikeweek.com.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Race Traffic – Safe Drive

“Ready, set, go”, or “drivers, start your engines.”

For those traveling Interstate 95 in the U.S, particularly in northeast Florida, you will encounter an extra amount of traffic.  Daytona 500’s speed weeks are this week and the big race – Daytona 500 in Daytona, Florida  – is Sunday. 

Front view of Daytona National Speedway stadium

You’ll notice not only extra traffic but people driving like they are in the race itself, going excessively over the speed limit and darting between other vehicles with drivers trying to drive safely. 

I appreciate our law enforcement doing what they can, but they can’t be everywhere.  SO!  Please drive with extra caution and please don’t let the less responsible ruin your travel plans, nor prevent you from “arriving alive.”  https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/arrivealive/.

Florida Highway Patrol website image to highlight “Arrive Alive.”

Most people don’t realize they can call *FHP or *347 while in Florida to help with an emergency on the Interstate, or to report a hazardous condition.

Also, for those traveling in the Daytona area please be aware of an increase in pedestrians and bicyclists as thousands of people walk, bike and drive the area.  Florida Department of Transportation’s “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow” emphasis overall and specific traffic safety at https://www.alerttodayflorida.com/

For more information on the Daytona 500 races, the website is https://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Events/Responsive-Event-Calendar.aspx.  (“Drivers, start your engines” is a common phrase used at NASCAR races by a special guest to tell drivers they may start their engines for the race.)

A good source for free traffic information is https//FL511.com

Drive, walk and bike responsibly.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

On track!

Tracks and trains at Union Station in Washington, D.C.
Tracks and trains assemble at Union Station in Washington, D.C. as cars, trucks and people cross over in late 2018, surrounded by offices and residences.

These are my thoughts as I looked over some images from our recent trip to Washington, D.C. 

We’re on track now, where will we go?

Check with the conductor or read the map –

Where the tracks will lead.

Or, did you just get on board to where the train stops?

Union Station mall
Union Station stores and restaurants are part of the walkway to and from trains.
Metro station transfer point
Metro Station transfer – looking for which route to take.

The year began, and yet where did it go?

The scenery passes, and we tend to look back.

Metro station boarding in Washington, D.C.
Riding new Metro in Washington, D.C.

With the right ticket and watching the signs,

We’ll know we’ll get there, because we’re on the right track.

The flurry of travelers come and go;

It seems like no one notices the other.

I watched as humans seemed like bots,

Heads down, eyes on devices, no one speaks a word.

Watch out! The door is opening – in an out they go;

Better not get in the way or you’ll toss to and fro.

Now the holiday break is done,

And the routine is back.

Those robotic travelers back at the grind;

I hope they pay attention to life all around.

It’s safer to be aware, though we know the track;

The track for work, play, where we live.

Don’t let life pass – like scenery along the route.

Without a thought of life – or whether the track is right.

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

Know before you go

 

FLNG and law enforcement confer at checkpoint after Hurricane Michael - courtesy FLNG
Florida National Guard troops coordinate with law enforcement to assist them in road closures, safety and security.  (photo courtesy: Florida National Guard)

Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle with a 155 miles-per-hour fury and extensive storm surge.  It continued into Georgia as a hurricane wreaking significant damage and continues to impact much of the southeastern U.S.A.

Travelers through the southeastern U.S. need to keep aware of travel conditions as they will change regularly even after Hurricane Michael exits.

Thousands of emergency response team members are already working life-saving missions first, along with safety and security.  Thousands more from various areas are currently traveling to the impacted areas.

FLNG CERFP team briefs for Hurricane Michael mission - courtesy FLNG
Florida National Guard Soldiers discuss plans prior to conducting assigned tasks.  (photo courtesy:  Florida National Guard)

There are more than 3,000 Florida National Guard troops on active status already working missions in support of key agencies.

Florida’s Division of Emergency Management is overseeing and coordinating response efforts as directed by Florida’s Governor Rick Scott.   The U.S. Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been planning and positioning support to assist respective state governments and are already performing duties.

It is not feasible to identify all of those responding, as practically every local, state and federal U.S. agency is working on behalf of the citizens and guests.

Some of the first ones responding to help save lives involves the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).  They normally respond with a variety of specialized equipment, including shallow draft boats, ATVs, airboats and four-wheel-drive vehicles.  They all work in conjunction with law enforcement and fire/rescue agencies.

If you are considering traveling through the southeastern U.S., please travel only if necessary – at least until the major response and recovery efforts allow you to safely do so.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) highly suggests using one of their preferred tools to monitor roadway conditions.  Florida 511.  Also, please be aware that many of the roadways throughout the path of the storm are closed due to damage or being under water. It is best not to drive through water.  “Turn around, don’t drown.”

FDOT 511 header for hurricane

Know before you go. 

Information on roadway conditions and closures is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on Florida 511. Drivers may dial 511 from their mobile phones to receive updates. (Please stop safety while using the device or let a passenger use it.) 511 is a free resource, however, cell phone minutes and text message charges may apply. Updates are also available on the web at www.FL511.com.

Florida’s emergency management website, https://www.floridadisaster.org/info, provides excellent information to assist residents and guests.

Georgia Tips

Georgia’s Department of Transportation Special Response Teams will begin clearing impacted roadways once the worst of the storm passes. In the event of major flooding, crews will wait until waters recede to begin clean up. Priority routes will be cleared first to ensure the public maintains access to hospitals, trauma centers and other public facilities.

  • Call 511 to report flash flooding, downed trees or other obstructions on roadways or bridges impeding travel
  • Take shelter as the system passes through the state
  • Do not to drive around barricades that are in place for motorist’s safety or through standing water
  • Residents should never clear tree limbs, downed trees or debris from roadways, as live power lines could be tangled in debris and cause injury or death; instead, wait for Georgia DOT and Georgia Power crews
  • Motorists who must drive should always treat flashing red and non-operational signals as a four-way stop

For real-time road conditions, call 511 or visit Georgia511. For weather information, visit the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Florida, or the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Georgia. http://www.dot.ga.gov/AboutGeorgia/Pages/GDOTAnnouncementDetails.aspx?postID=852

Check other states (typically their 511) if you plan to travel to get the latest on travel information.  It may save time, money and your life.

Thank you for partnering with me on these latest posts.  I felt compelled to provide as much safety information as possible during crisis situations.  I’ll resume my normal travel posts soon.  Thank you!

Blessings!

Ron

Go or Stay?

hurricane Ivan slams pier, Navarre Beach
Waves hit Navarre Pier hard during Hurricane Ivan’s approach – Navarre Beach, Florida.  Hurricane Ivan was the strongest hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. It made landfall on the U.S. mainland in Gulf Shores, Alabama on September 16th, as a Category 3.  (Photo credit: Florida archives by Chris Duval)

Go or stay, when in harms way?  To me, that’s a no-brainer.  If my life and family is at risk for loss of life, do you think I would stay in a threat environment without making a change?  For sure – NO.

However, many people choose to remain in the main threat area during catastrophic weather – such as Hurricane Michael churning in the Gulf of Mexico toward the Florida Panhandle. (Update: Now that Michael has made landfall the decision was made and people have to live with that decision; however, those still in the path of Michael into Georgia and northward can still make an informed decision.)

I’m watching Michael and it brings back memories of Ivan.

I recall working in Florida’s State Emergency Management Center in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan attacked the Florida Panhandle area that borders Alabama.

 

Hurricane Ivan image
National Weather Service image of Hurricane Ivan.

The Category 3 storm struck with a fury, pushing the ocean on shore and blowing structures apart.

Hurricane Ivan damage, Navarre Beach
Just imagine someone staying in these structures and enduring the deafening sounds of wind and debris.  (Photo courtesy: Florida archives by Chris Duval)

The general public probably doesn’t understand the concept of all the work going on behind-the-scenes in so many emergency planning teams and centers when a disaster strikes.  I know!  I’ve been there and observed firsthand.  It is AMAZING all the dedication and countless hours performed by government employees and volunteers.

Preparations for Hurricane Michael remain similar to those crises of years past as thousands prepare, respond and recover.

People can help.  Local emergency management teams know the areas best and they have studied their areas in detail.  If they say to evaluate or take certain precautions, please do so.  Once the main threat of a hurricane is underway, emergency response teams can’t respond.

I recall a phone call I received during Hurricane Ivan.

A dad called from California stating he was talking on the phone with his daughter who was in a condominium on the beach near Pensacola, Florida.  She was in her room a few stories above ground level.

The dad said his daughter mentioned the winds were picking up and she could see the ocean pouring in at the bottom floor.  He pleaded for her to take cover and protect herself.

Then … all of a sudden… he heard glass breaking and whirling wind.  He had no sound nor response from his daughter.  He provided the address to me and asked for an emergency responder to check on her.  I advised they will not be able to check until conditions subside.  He seemed desperate.

I told the dad I would pass his information to our law enforcement emergency support team and they may be able to relay information to the search-and-rescue teams when they begin their mission as soon as conditions permit.

– Ron Tittle

So…if you have loved ones around the potential impact areas, please encourage them to listen to local authorities and heed their advice.

Also, continue to monitor local and national news.The Weather Channel is excellent at  keeping the public updated.  https://weather.com/

FLNG Soldier providing security
Enter a caption

Everyone should also understand how so many agencies are poised and respond immediately when safe to do so.  Currently more than 1,500 Florida National Guard troops are placed in active service by Florida’s governor with thousands on stand-by.

The Guard typically performs planning and staging missions beforehand to ensure their resources are properly placed and ready to move in immediately to the impacted areas.

Hurricane Ivan house destroyed - SFGate - photo by AP, Phil Coale
The owner of this house on Cape San Blas kneels to pray in front of the rubble.  The home was destroyed by the winds and waves of Hurricane Ivan.  (Photo by AP/Phil Coale, posted at https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Ivan-is-worst-U-S-hurricane-since-99-Death-2724367.php

Many military missions will include helping with search-and-rescue, security, aviation support, moving supplies and equipment, and so many other responsibilities as determined by the State Emergency Operations Center.  Usually hundreds or thousands of Guard troops come from other states, along with active duty federal military, Coast Guard and other agencies.

 

Hurricane Ivan surges onto Ft. Walton Beach, 2004
Police car and storm surge during Hurricane Ivan’s landfall – Fort Walton Beach, Florida. (Photo courtesy: Florida archives by Chris Duval)

State agencies conduct similar planning and response.  Fish and Wildlife Commission teams do quite well in search-and-rescue along with various law enforcement agencies and fire/rescue teams.

 

 

 

Hurricane Ivan roadway destruction - Pinterest.com
Photo courtesy: Pinterest.com

The Florida Department of Transportation has emergency operations centers working in conjunction with the states’s emergency management center.  They have professional engineers who have already been studying the potential impact of the storm and anticipate how they will respond quickly to assist in recovery.   Once conditions permit, teams will provide a damage assessment to ensure bridges and roadways are safe for the public to use.  The traveling public must be patient.  It takes time to provide sufficient assessments.  All of the response efforts are coordinated with the State Emergency Management Center to ensure the most effective and safe response to, within and from the impact areas, and so the proper resourcing can be provided.  They also coordinate with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

 

Hurricane Ivan and I-10 bridge section collapse
Interstate 10 span disappears from the force of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, taking a truck cab and driver with it.  (Photo courtesy:  AP)

Similar to Hurricane Ivan, I suspect many roads will have some of their structure base washed out or damaged in some way to prevent vehicles from crossing.  The repairs could take some time.

So!  Do you risk it with your life or family?  After all, our protection and safety is the primary responsibility of government.  Yet we have to take responsibility as well.

Be prepared! Be safe! Be patient!

Blessings!

Ron