Should I Ride in Hurricane Irene

August 26, 2011
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We reprinted this story from Benepe’s Bike Blog, our sister publication, for all of the East Coast:

Cyclist in a Storm, painting by Brian Rolfe. (Sold)

August 26, 2011
As cyclists we like to think we will be the last person standing in the middle of any disaster, the only persons able to escape through traffic jams.

But as Hurricane Irene approaches this Saturday, BBB would like to state the obvious: don’t do it.

As depicted in the painting above, ‘Cyclist in a Storm,” by Brian Rolfe, it’s nice to imagine ourselves out there in the battering winds, enjoying the effects of nature as the rain pours down on us, and we carry on, like the animals on two wheels that we are. (Cyclist in a Storm is no longer available for sale but you can see Rolfe’s other works on Facebook and meet him privately in New York.)

Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg said in a press conference this morning that he is prepared to shut down the subway system if the storm becomes too powerful and flooding is imminent.

Hurricane Irene’s Center on August 24, Courtesy NASA

But should you find subways systems down, please don’t travel outside on your bicycle. Communities all across the East Coast and the northeast are preparing for Irene who is headed our way later tonigt.

New York City is supposed to feel its full effect on Saturday night. Despite the dire forecasts,  we have never seen the city hit with a catastrophic storm, and almost all major storms headed our way tend to peter out by the time they arrive on the shores of Battery Park City.

If in the event the city needlessly shuts down the Mass Transit system, and winds are not buffeting the buildings around you at 30 mph, then perhaps you could find yourself on empty streets enjoying a relatively safe bike ride.

In the meantime, we are reprinting here instructions from Info4Disasters.com. We think this list is a little but much, especially about the deep breathing instructions at the end, and the car centric reminders which we removed, but the basics are rudimentary. One thing they forgot to add: check all of these sites before the electricity goes out.

1. What you should do before the storm: The Mass Emergency Management Agency has released safety and preparatory measures to taken for Hurricane Irene – http://www.myfoxboston.com/dpp/weather/hurricane-safety-tips-20110824

Cyclist braving it in winds and rain–Netherlands

2. Is your location in the storm’s way? How severe is it likely to be? Find out with the National Weather Service’s Storm Risk Map – http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ssurge/risk/index.shtml?gm

3. Find out when the hurricane is likely to hit your area and the storm wind potentials: http://info4disasters.org/natural-disasters/hurricanes/tropical-updates/

4. Search for Red Cross shelters by region: http://app.redcross.org/nss-app/

5. Evacuation routes for your state For evacuation routes by state, refer to http://www.ibiblio.org/rcip//evacuationroutes.html

For up to date information on evacuation routes, listen to the radio, the TV or call
the state police.
-Local state police contact details available here -
http://www.statetroopersdirectory.com/#Menu
-The National Weather Service provides two types of Radio All Hazards audio on the Internet – http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/streamaudio.htm

6. Hospital lists for Affected areas by state/district
http://www.theagapecenter.com/Hospitals/

7. What NOT to do in the event of an incoming hurricane
-Do not ignore warnings if evacuation is necessary.
-Do not forget to have medication supply, including diabetes supplies & sugar tablets.
-Do not leave things loose outside…bring them in or tie securely. Strong winds can turn these into “weapons”.
-Do not take a storm of this possible magnitude lightly NO MATTER WHAT!

(we skipped no. 8: it was about living by the ocean.)

9. Quick To Do’s to remember
-Medicines, diabetes supplies, other health necessities.  If you take multiple meds, carry an up-to-date list on your person.  Put in plastic bags to protect from water.
-Have a supply of batteries, radio, flashlights, sterno, water, dry goods/food.
-Keep cell phones and laptops charged
-Bring things in from outside.  If you can’t, then tie them down securely.
-If not boarding up, use masking tape across each window pane in an X to prevent possible shattering of glass.
-Use plastic bags that seal to protect medications, valuables & important
documents,
-Keep batteries in plastic bags also.
-Take your time & be prepared.  This will ease your mind.
-Try to stay calm.  Breathe deep and slow, in through nose, out through mouth  to bring blood pressure down if necessary.

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