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Hurricane Commuting

Old 08-24-11, 03:54 AM
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Hurricane Commuting

So it looks like Irene will be around a Cat 1 when it makes landfall in MA (eye could be directly over my town!). on Sunday. News basically said it makes landfall sunday night, but the wind and rain will begin much earlier.

Anybody have any experience commuting in a cat 1/high tropical storm? Should I just call in sick?

The 5 a.m. EDT forecast discussion from Stacy Stewart, Sr. Hurricane Specialist at the National Hurricane Center mentioned Hurricane Irene is "forecast to become a larger than average hurricane."

This means its wind field, both of tropical storm-force and hurricane-force winds, will cover a large swath of real estate. Reason again not to focus solely on the path of the center of circulation, although it is around the center where the strongest winds will be.
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Old 08-24-11, 04:26 AM
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You're contemplating commuting in a cat! hurricane?

Are you trying to get into the Commuter Hall of Fame? Or rather the Stupid Decision Hall of Fame?

Call in sick!
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Old 08-24-11, 05:26 AM
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having the wind in your back or heading into it?
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Old 08-24-11, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Amoxicillin
having the wind in your back or heading into it?
Bravo!

With that said, and having "lived through" a surprising number of hurricanes in Florida, I'd be surprised if it actually hits MA with any force whatsoever. Of course hurricanes are wildly unpredictable, and when Irene ravages Boston, this post will forever serve as an archive of just how wrong I was, buttttttt I really doubt that by the time it makes it your way, you'll experience anything more than heavy rain storms.
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Old 08-24-11, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by ollyisk
Bravo!

With that said, and having "lived through" a surprising number of hurricanes in Florida, I'd be surprised if it actually hits MA with any force whatsoever. Of course hurricanes are wildly unpredictable, and when Irene ravages Boston, this post will forever serve as an archive of just how wrong I was, buttttttt I really doubt that by the time it makes it your way, you'll experience anything more than heavy rain storms.
Yeah people keep saying things like that (though they're not exactly weathermen ), but from this place this is what they say

Again, NHC Director Bill Read: "The storm will not lose much as it heads to New England." While the strongest winds would occur if Irene's center remains over water, possibly more confined to areas along and east of I-95, high winds would also occur and spread inland if Irene's center does move inland.
About being a hall-of-famer, I dunno - I biked home in a blizzard and that wasnt too bad. Just had some trouble getting up a small incline with the slick tires haha. Maybe I am just a little crazy!
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Old 08-24-11, 05:57 AM
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A lot can happen between now and Sunday, and most hurricanes tend to recurve toward the NE as they head north. However, having lived through a number of hurricanes and tropical storms, it is ridiculous to consider riding in either one of them. Even a mild TS has sustained winds over 35 mph and higher gusts, and the rain can be torrential. Lots of debris gets blow around as well.
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Old 08-24-11, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by tarwheel
A lot can happen between now and Sunday, and most hurricanes tend to recurve toward the NE as they head north. However, having lived through a number of hurricanes and tropical storms, it is ridiculous to consider riding in either one of them. Even a mild TS has sustained winds over 35 mph and higher gusts, and the rain can be torrential. Lots of debris gets blow around as well.
During hurricane Wilma in 2005, I was looking out a south-facing window and watching pieces of sheet metal swirling around hundreds of feet in the air. Early in the storm, I saw several long sections of sheet aluminum (that could have been a wall from a trailer or a mobile home) come down into power lines and cause a wild light show.

40 or 50mph winds will probably keep you off your bike, but higher winds will kill you with flying garbage.
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Old 08-24-11, 06:52 AM
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the news people will drone on for hours and hours, repeating these same pieces of information: "There will be lots of wind. There will be lots of rain."

They don't know any more than these guys: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ so ignore everything else but that.
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Old 08-24-11, 07:23 AM
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NOAA doesn't have a reason to scare the public, i'd check there before your news channel anyways. lol

Weathermen have the easiest jobs on TV.
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Old 08-24-11, 09:55 AM
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Check the weather when you wake up in the morning, and see what the peak and sustained winds are. If it's over 25 mph, it'll be unpleasant. Somewhere around 40-50 mph, you need to start worrying about falling trees and power lines. Intelligent people would avoid that.
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Old 08-24-11, 10:18 AM
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The issue in a hurricane is as much the debris flying around as the wind itself - it wouldn't take much of a branch smacking me in the face at 35 mph to make me think that commuting by bike was a bad idea that day.
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Old 08-24-11, 10:29 AM
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But I love my time-and-a-half Sundays Oh well, there's a "severe weather" reason in the automated call in hotline.
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Old 08-24-11, 10:51 AM
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This thread should be a subtext to, "You know you are a hardcore commuter when".........
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Old 08-24-11, 12:59 PM
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Dude, call in sick or telecommute, and stay off the roads. The storm might even be Cat 2 when it reaches us (I'm in Medford), and your area will be clogged with rescue and evacuation operations heading to/from the Cape & Islands. And full of MA drivers who have no idea what hurricanes are like.
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Old 08-24-11, 01:03 PM
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I've driven through hurricanes, but never ridden through one on a bike. The wind gusts are easily strong enough to push you into the road unto the path of traffic, or on the ground, and even if that doesn't happen; the rain is thick enough that you can't see anything.

I doubt your employer would make you work with an actual hurricane coming through, but if for some reason he does and you absolutely have to, that would be a good time to rent a car the day prior. From my experience, and I've been through a few, it's just not safe on a bike.

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Old 08-24-11, 01:33 PM
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Let's see---hurricanes bring high winds(75mph or higher), torrential rain, lightning, flying debris---and you want to ride your bike in it? Seriously, either take motorized transport or stay home. If a HURRICANE is bearing down on your area work will likely be cancelled anyway.
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Old 08-24-11, 01:57 PM
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Or, as one comedian used to put it when talking about the (fool) hearty souls who tie themselves to palm trees so that they can experience the thrill of riding out a hurricane:

"It's not THAT the wind is blowing at 130 mph, it's WHAT the wind is blowing at 130 mph."
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Old 08-24-11, 04:30 PM
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I am planning to be commuting in whatever weather we wind up having Sunday night/Monday morning, of course I am further north than the OP.
I am also further inland (about 2 hrs. by car), so I am not really concerned by it.
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Old 08-25-11, 06:13 AM
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Been through plenty of hurricanes. I'd just do like normal: wake up, look at the weather report, and ride unless the wind is too bad. If you have a hard time walking, you wouldn't want to ride, otherwise, go for it. I seriously doubt it will be as severe that far north as the weathermonkies are making it out to be.

*DISCLAIMER*
After almost 40 years living in coastal Louisiana, listening to them drone on and on about hurricanes gets ridiculously monotonous. They make it out to seem like every storm is another Katrina... but they're not. You really won't know until it's much closer to land, so you really only have about 24-48 hours to know what to do. Anything else is speculation, nobody knows what these things will do until they do it.

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Old 08-25-11, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by MijnWraak
So it looks like Irene will be around a Cat 1 when it makes landfall in MA (eye could be directly over my town!). on Sunday. News basically said it makes landfall sunday night, but the wind and rain will begin much earlier.

Anybody have any experience commuting in a cat 1/high tropical storm? Should I just call in sick?
Is this a serious question?
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Old 08-25-11, 09:38 AM
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Wait and see. This is not the kind of decision that is best made long in advance.

I don't really mind riding in the rain, but I dislike arriving at destination soaking wet. My commute involves an hour train ride sandwiched between 15 and 30 minute bike rides, so for me commuting in the rain involves sitting on the train for an hour, wet. I dislike that part, especially when the train is air conditioned.
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Old 08-25-11, 10:05 AM
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In 07 a Cyclone, or pacific hurricane, got picked up by the usual winter storm track.
the 'Pineapple Express' so had some 100+ mph gusts .. for a couple days..

Figured out why the oldest town west of the Rockies, was built on the north side
of the hill/peninsula, the leeward .

my Apartment, just around the bend, was on the windward side..

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Old 08-25-11, 12:18 PM
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The authorities may make the decision for you. I would not be surprised if travel restrictions are put in place should a hurricane actually occur.

I think you will also find that riding in hurricane force winds (75 mph+) is simply not possible, regardless of your intent. In my experience around 50 mph is the limit, and even then I wind up having to put my foot down frequently.

Finally, even if I somehow could survive the hurricane, my wife would undoubtably kill me upon my return for doing something so reckless.

Paul
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Old 08-25-11, 12:47 PM
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Have you ever put your hand out a car window at 75 mph? How about at 100 mph? That's how fast the wind is blowing and gusting in even a minor hurricane. If you ride to work, please record it on a helmet cam so we can all see what a fool you are.
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Old 08-25-11, 02:00 PM
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flying debris.

downed power lines.

falling trees.

flooding.

lightning.

wind gusts over 100 mph.

Are you in an essential job- like a nuclear power plant engineer or an EMT or something? If it ends up being a substantial storm I don't think it would be wise to go out in it on foot, in a car or on a bike. I'm on Cape Cod and plan to hunker down for the storm. No bike commute for me that day.
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