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Transportation in Extreme Weather

cycloneWith Hurricane Sandy moving her way across the Northeastern United States, many Americans are stranded or had to make sudden travel arrangements to avoid the situation. This article will help to provide you with some basic information on traveling during extreme weather situations, such as a hurricane.

Traveling by Car

If you live in an area that is susceptible to hurricanes, make sure to have an evacuation plan in place. Create a map of several safe routes to your destination, so that you have options in case of dense of traffic or flooding. Have a list of items that need to be collected, which can include clothing, few personal belongings, food and water as well as emergency supplies. If a storm is heading your way here are few items to pack ahead of time:

  • Medications
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Portable radio
  • Food and water
  • Full tank of gas
  • Fully charged cell phone and charger
  • Blankets and sleeping bags
  • First aid kit

Being prepared for evacuation ahead of time can make all of the difference. If you are told to evacuate by the authorities, don’t wait until the last minute. The longer you wait the more you risk getting caught in traffic and harsh weather. When leaving your home make sure to unplug and turn off all appliances, turn off heat or air conditioning and lock all windows and doors. Also, make sure that your vehicle is in good condition by having it serviced before hurricane season.

When you are driving, try to avoid flooded areas by staying in high ground areas. If there are high winds, reduce your speed and stay alert as high winds are problematic for larger vehicles. Stay tuned to local radio stations for updates on the situation. Remember when driving in these conditions to stay calm, be informed and be prepared.

Scheduled Travel

If you have made plans to travel by plane, train or bus during extreme weather, such as a hurricane, make sure that you have a backup plan. Contact the airline or transportation company ahead of time to learn about their hurricane policies and procedures. If companies are cancelling flights and transportation service, find out approximately when and for how long. Airport travelers should call the airline before leaving their house and ask for the status of the plan, the flight’s tail number and where the tail number is located. This information will let you know if your flight is stranded or waiting for you at the airport. Airline phone applications can also keep you updated with the status of your flight.

Remember that hurricanes are considered a “force majeure” or “act of God” by the airline and out of the airline’s control. Make sure to review your travel insurance information as well as your airline’s policies on refunds. Also, pack all important articles in your carry-on bag, in case of lost luggage. This would include money, passports, medications, cell phones and chargers and other valuable items.

For subway or underground transportation, it is safe to assume that all services will be halted once the hurricane is nearby. Think about other modes of transportation, such as a train or bus that provides above ground transportation instead, since underground transportation areas can be prone to flooding. If you do plan on traveling by train or bus, find out if they have an extreme weather plan and what route would be taken to your destination.

After the Hurricane

After the storm, be cautious when returning to a hurricane site. Only return once the area has been cleared by the authorities. If you are entering your home for the first time after a hurricane, do not turn anything on until you are sure that there are no gas leaks. Flooding caused by the hurricane may cause pipes to burst and leak into the water.  Since the flood water is highly contaminated, wear gloves to dispose of items or furniture that have been sitting in the water. If you need any help or assistance contact your local authorities for help and guidance.

Transportation in a hurricane affected area may take awhile to become fully operational again. The transportation areas may need to have water pumped out and replace damaged equipment. During this time of repair, try to use modes of transportation that are easily maintained, such as a busing system, taxi service or chauffeured transportation services. Once the roads are clear and driv0able, these services will probably the first transportation offered. Call transportation companies to find out when they estimate services will be offered again. Keep in mind that it may be a long recovery process for a hurricane affected area and to be patient and always have a plan B.

Are you traveling to Detroit on your next business trip or social event? Learn more valuable information about Detroit’s airport, popular hotels and downtown hot spots. Aristocat Transportation can offer you a variety of vehicles to accommodate every group size.

Posted on November 1st, 2012 in Corporate Travel & Advice, Useful Tips.