Author Topic: Tornadoes and the UGRR?  (Read 1435 times)

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Offline johnnyo

Tornadoes and the UGRR?
« on: April 29, 2011, 12:15:27 pm »
Hi Folks:

My wife and I have planned to ride a part of the UGRR from Mobile to Cincinnati starting in late May.  Is this a non-starter now?  I have pretty much no experience with tornadoes, but from what I hear in the news the area appears to be devastated.  Would our going to this area be a hindrance or a burden on already taxed systems?  We also don't want to be "tornado tourists" or fleeing the weather either...

Any ideas on this?

John


Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Tornadoes and the UGRR?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2011, 08:52:50 pm »
Tiny fractions of Mississippi and Tennessee were indeed devastated, as were even smaller parts of other southeastern states. The wall-to-wall news coverage of those disasters never talked about the 99.99% of the area that was unaffected. That is the nature of the media, of course.

Buildings and trees were splintered and blown about, closing some highways. Most are now cleared. I ran into one still closed in northern Georgia today. You could check the states' DOT web sites for closures that might affect your route.

Tuscaloosa will be rebuilding for months, but most places saw damage in narrow swaths of 1/10 or 2/10 mile width. Unless a place you wanted to stay got hit, I think you will see no adverse effects on your trip.

Fred

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Tornadoes and the UGRR?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2011, 09:40:41 am »
Buildings and trees were splintered and blown about, closing some highways. Most are now cleared. I ran into one still closed in northern Georgia today. You could check the states' DOT web sites for closures that might affect your route.

Tuscaloosa will be rebuilding for months, but most places saw damage in narrow swaths of 1/10 or 2/10 mile width. Unless a place you wanted to stay got hit, I think you will see no adverse effects on your trip.

What Fred said.  You'll mostly be crossing tornado tracks; don't tarry, unless you want to volunteer for a day to help with the cleanup, and you won't be a load on the system.

We just got power back last night (98.5 hours without electricity, but who's counting?  :)  Nearest bad damage is about 7 miles north of home -- trees down, sometimes in yards or garages, in some cases across houses.  West part of the county got hammered, but again, it's 1/2 to 1 mile wide, 60 miles long, total devastation; go a quarter mile off track, and there may  be a few limbs down, a couple shingles missing, but everything else is normal.

Two things to watch out for right now: crap on roads (wood chips, bark, some glass, etc.), and branches cut off close to the edge of the road.  You can tell the road crews were in a hurry -- sometimes the branches are cut off outside the pavement, sometimes 3-6" over the pavement.

Also, don't expect available or cheap motel rooms near the damaged areas.  With hundreds of displaced families, they need the rooms more than you do.

Offline johnnyo

Re: Tornadoes and the UGRR?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2011, 11:25:54 am »
Good advice - we really appreciate the insight.  We will be going to Mobile in about a week, and then heading north.  Thanks for the update. 

Offline Pgforde

Re: Tornadoes and the UGRR?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2011, 04:38:24 pm »
My granddaughter and I are doing the same route as you beginning 4 June
Have you heard of any flooding along the river sections?

Offline JMilyko

Re: Tornadoes and the UGRR?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2011, 08:22:49 am »
All,

As we learn how these weather events impact our routes (road closures, detours, etc.) we will post them in the Temporary ACA Route Road Closures forum (http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?board=15.0)

.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline cheesehawk

Re: Tornadoes and the UGRR?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2011, 10:54:54 am »
I rode the route SB from Grand Rivers KY to Mobile, finishing up around April 19th. There was some tornado damage at that time near Linden, AL. You can check out my CGOAB journal if you like for details. It had zero impact on my ability to ride the route. I've also casually followed the extensive tornado damage in AL since my return. I do not believe that you are likely to encounter additional damage on the route in AL.

I received e-mails from a NB rider who indicated that there was re-routing due to flooding on the KY/IN portion of the route. I asked him to post where the moderator indicated yesterday, but I have not seen anything. In any case, his information would now be more than a week old, and probably closer to two weeks. You're going to want current informtion. I'll post a link there in a few minutes to the KY DOT site.

I would go ahead with your trip as planned, especially if you were bringing camping gear anyway. I was too shy about asking people if I could camp out in AL. The more I've talked to people, the more I think I made a mistake. Gas stations/stores are good places to ask. I really can't say enough good things about people in AL generally.

-Mark Herman

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Tornadoes and the UGRR?
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2011, 12:05:48 pm »
Don't worry about tornadoes. They happen, yes, but regular lightning storms are probably more a threat to your well being. I have been caught out in some lethal storms during my several crossings of the USA by bicycle. One might have contained a tornado in Minnesota near the Mississippy river. When you are a captive in the great outdoors with wind stinging in at fifty mph parallel to the ground, and with great, superheated bolts of lightning slamming to earth all around you like a concentrated military barrage, you can get religious /spiritual real fast. Don't let the possibilities of tornadoes deter you. The weather can get heavy, and surely it takes on a meaning very different to the long-distance touring cyclist from the meaning it has to the continually sheltered. Just go with it. It is something you might have to contend with.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Tornadoes and the UGRR?
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2011, 12:10:38 pm »
Don't worry about tornadoes. They happen, yes, but regular lightning storms are probably more a threat to your well being. I have been caught out in some lethal storms during my several crossings of the USA by bicycle. One might have contained a tornado in Minnesota near the Mississippy river. When you are a captive in the great outdoors with wind stinging in at fifty mph parallel to the ground, and with great, superheated bolts of lightning slamming to earth all around you like a concentrated military barrage, you can get religious /spiritual real fast. Don't let the possibilities of tornadoes deter you. The weather can get heavy, and surely it takes on a meaning very different to the long-distance touring cyclist from the meaning it has to the continually sheltered. Just go with it. It is something you might have to contend with.

If that ravaged area is on your route, that is no reason to avoid it unless the services have been so reduced that there isn't anything there for you. One poster said the path of damage is only so wide, and that does not sound like a large enough area has been destroyed that it would lead to problems of supply. However, many people would be bereaved there, and it might be a good idea not to go there and possibly be seen as gawking. Just a thought.