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Author Topic: US 160, end-to-end?  (Read 4982 times)

kphoger

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #50 on: March 23, 2021, 04:00:48 PM »

meh.  I've lived in Kansas most of my life and never even heard anybody suggest keeping a weather radio in the car.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #51 on: March 23, 2021, 04:35:12 PM »

I've lived in Kansas most of my life and never even heard anybody suggest keeping a weather radio in the car.

If someone was going to make that suggestion, they'd probably make it to a newcomer, not a long-time local.

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #52 on: March 23, 2021, 05:35:19 PM »

Right, a local would have more information about the local geography, the types of threats possible, and the good local sources of information that they wouldn't need to rely on a weather radio (though I definitely have one around the house that I bring with us if there is a need to take shelter). At least in Oklahoma, most people have a pretty good feel as to the typical tracks of strong storms, enough to know that if they hear, e.g. Bridge Creek is being affected by a dangerous storm, the next place it is likely to end up is Newcastle, then Moore, then southside Oklahoma City. An out-of-towner doesn't have that experience.

Likewise, a local is able to simply plan their day around the storms—"weather's supposed to be bad tonight, so I'm gonna go straight home instead of going to the store; I can do that tomorrow". A traveler doesn't really have the option to do that, since they are following an itinerary and, when storms hit, may find themselves in an area that has no place to stop for the night (especially in a region without many large towns, such as the US-160 corridor through southwest Kansas).
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kphoger

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #53 on: March 23, 2021, 05:49:13 PM »

No, what I mean is that I've always just gone on driving trips in this part of the country without worrying at all if severe weather was in the works—except maybe a blizzard.  When there are storms in the area, I never turn on the radio to see where they're heading.  Now, if I see rotation or a wall cloud or something, then I just kind of keep an eye on it and see if it seems to be moving my direction, but that's about it.  Even when I've known there were active tornado warnings in the area, even a spotting, I always grew up just looking at the sky for information.

And I've never owned a weather radio.

(There was only one time that I actually considered taking cover while "on the road", and that was in southern Illinois.  I was driving a delivery route of janitorial supplies, it was raining cats and dogs, and there was tornadic activity expected.  At one customer stop, the sirens went off and the employees started heading for shelter.  The worker I was delivering to offered for me to head to the tornado shelter with them.  The reason I didn't?  The customer was General Dynamics, and I figured I'd rather take my chances with a tornado out on the road than surrounded by missiles and other explosives.)
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #54 on: March 24, 2021, 02:26:34 PM »

I keep the alerts turned off on my phone, and have since there was some sort of system-wide test of the network a few years ago. (It was wild to hear different alarms going off on different peoples' phones at odd intervals throughout our building. Someone's phone would start bleating, then a couple of seconds later, another would go off; a minute would pass by and a couple more would sound the alarm.) It would be pretty simple to turn them back on, since they seem to be targeted to whatever geographic area you're in.

And one could always watch the local weather in the hotel the night before in case storms were in the forecast for the next day, and start scanning sources if the sky starts to look threatening.
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Scott5114

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #55 on: March 24, 2021, 02:38:40 PM »

I wouldn't count on the cell phone in a severe weather event. I normally don't get severe weather alerts on my phone in anything but the worst weather events, and when I do, they're usually so late that the danger has already passed. Also, during tornadic events, the cell network often goes down entirely for about 15 minutes. I don't think this has anything to do with storm itself, just the crush of "Are you okay?" calls and messages.
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kphoger

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #56 on: March 24, 2021, 03:02:15 PM »

I wouldn't count on the cell phone in a severe weather event. I normally don't get severe weather alerts on my phone in anything but the worst weather events, and when I do, they're usually so late that the danger has already passed. Also, during tornadic events, the cell network often goes down entirely for about 15 minutes. I don't think this has anything to do with storm itself, just the crush of "Are you okay?" calls and messages.

Yep, I expect to be completely incommunicado when there's an actual tornado bearing down on me.  Generally, the TV and internet service disappears first, then maybe cell service.  By that point, I'm in the basement and unable to see outside as well.  It's just a wait-and-pray kind of situation.

I do wonder if our age difference plays a part.  I grew up driving when hardly anyone had a cell phone.  When we finally got one, it hardly ever had signal out in the countryside;  I remember driving in rural northwestern Kansas and northeastern Colorado and pulling over, putting an magnet-mounted external antenna on the roof, checking for signal, driving to the next hill, doing the same thing, driving to the next hill...  It wasn't until I was already married with kids that smartphones became common.  Relying on my phone while driving is simply not something I grew up with.

I was just thinking about this yesterday.  My senior year of high school, I drove 3½ hours by myself from my home in northwestern Kansas to DIA, then caught a flight to O'Hare to visit a university there.  When I arrived at O'Hare, the people picking me up were in the wrong terminal (they went to American rather than ATA), then I just happened to hear my name on an overhead page.  I spent the week at the university, flew back to DIA, and drove home.  I'm not sure I called my parents a single time during that whole process.  Maybe once, I don't remember.  Nowadays, parents would expect a call upon arrival at the airport, another call upon landing, a call to check in during the week, a call after the return flight, etc, etc.  I guess I grew up in a different world.
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Scott5114

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #57 on: March 24, 2021, 11:37:51 PM »

For clarity, I'm merely speculating on the cause for the cell network going down: extreme network congestion from thousands of these messages being sent all at once. I usually observe enough Doppler information to know how likely it is any family or friends have been impacted by a storm, so contacting them typically is more a matter of curiosity about their experience, which tends to happen hours after the event, if at all.

My personal practice is probably a lot closer to yours; I didn't have my first cell phone until relatively late in life (I think my senior year of high school?) compared to my peers. It was a Motorola Razr, by no means a smartphone (the browser was total garbage! and apps? what are those? I think it had Snake), and we didn't have text messaging as part of our phone plan for a long time. I still am reluctant to use the phone while driving (trying to talk and drive makes me noticeably worse at both) so I will generally just let it ring unless it's my wife, and I have had to do things like just hang up on her mid-sentence because she's talking about something unimportant, not responding to "Okay, I need to go", and something is going on where I need to focus on the road (doesn't win me any brownie points with her, for sure, but neither would wrecking the car or getting a ticket).

I have a friend who lives two counties over who will sometimes say with us for a weekend. When she leaves, she'll always send me a message letting us know she got home OK. I'm glad she's okay, of course, but I always think to myself that I'm pretty sure her drive to work every day is longer and more dangerous than the drive between her house and Norman, and she never texts me to tell me she made that trip without incident. :P
« Last Edit: March 24, 2021, 11:40:23 PM by Scott5114 »
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thenetwork

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #58 on: March 29, 2021, 09:31:54 AM »

Re: Lodging options on US-160 through Western Colorado...

Pagosa Springs is a destination town.  However, the bulk of the lodging facilities are either mom & pops or lower-end national brands.  Nearly all of the properties in town are tired, decades-old buildings that are well worn (Quality Inn in Downtown was a real dump).   

Meanwhile, an hour west is Durango, which has it's share of mom & pops and lower-end brands (most along US-550 north of downtown), but in the last few years, there have been several newer hotels built along the US-160 frontage roads.  Durango is your best bet for decent accomodations.

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oscar

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #59 on: May 28, 2021, 08:06:10 PM »

Scott, I gather from your comments above that June is usually better than May for avoiding the most dangerous storms in your state and southwest Missouri. I might be down there in late June/early July, to finish off the few miles of US 160 I haven't clinched, among other things (including some US routes in Texas). Comments on storm risks?

I try to avoid rather than chase potentially tornadic/hail-producing storms, though sometimes they find me anyway. I went through a hailstorm on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border earlier this month. Scary to watch the hail splat on my windshield (I don't have a lot of experience with hail), but no damage before I was able to duck under a gas station canopy to wait for things to calm down.
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Scott5114

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #60 on: May 29, 2021, 07:31:11 PM »

Scott, I gather from your comments above that June is usually better than May for avoiding the most dangerous storms in your state and southwest Missouri. I might be down there in late June/early July, to finish off the few miles of US 160 I haven't clinched, among other things (including some US routes in Texas). Comments on storm risks?

I try to avoid rather than chase potentially tornadic/hail-producing storms, though sometimes they find me anyway. I went through a hailstorm on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border earlier this month. Scary to watch the hail splat on my windshield (I don't have a lot of experience with hail), but no damage before I was able to duck under a gas station canopy to wait for things to calm down.

Mid-to-late June is generally when the more active spring pattern starts to give way to the far less eventful (and less dangerous) summer pattern, so you should have no problems. Of course, weather is unpredictable, and June tornadoes have happened in the past. June storm systems, whenever they happen, tend to take the form of overnight squall lines where the primary risks are straight-line winds and hail. If you can find a hotel with covered parking (or failing that, find a way to park on the east side of the building) your bases should be reasonably covered.

Summer weather patterns are characterized by a long-term, stable high pressure system parking itself over the central Plains and deflecting any moisture or instability approaching from the north. This usually means little to no storm activity, or even rain, from late June through July and August and into September (usually the drought doesn't break until whichever week the State Fair is being held). You can also expect typical highs from the low 90s through the mid-100s, and since the jet stream is usually to the north of the high pressure system, lots of humidity wafting up from the Gulf.

For what it's worth, this year so far has been somewhat unusual in that rather than having large, tornadic supercells, we have instead been getting repeated bouts of scattered storms where the primary threats are hail and flash flooding.
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kphoger

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #61 on: June 02, 2021, 01:21:38 PM »

June storm systems, whenever they happen, tend to take the form of overnight squall lines where the primary risks are straight-line winds and hail. If you can find a hotel with covered parking (or failing that, find a way to park on the east side of the building) your bases should be reasonably covered.

Does wind really affect hail's trajectory that much?  I figure it falls pretty much straight down, no matter what the wind is doing.  Maybe I'm wrong about that.
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Scott5114

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #62 on: June 02, 2021, 04:27:24 PM »

Oh, it can absolutely be affected, when winds are particularly strong and hail is particularly large (both of which, of course, mean that hail is much more hazardous and damaging). The siding on the west side of my business partners' house currently looks like Swiss cheese from hailstones striking it on a trajectory more or less parallel to the ground. When the same storm passed through westside Norman, it smashed a bunch of west-facing windows and channel-letter signs. In both cases, the east sides of the same buildings were virtually unaffected.
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kphoger

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #63 on: June 02, 2021, 04:33:38 PM »

OK, then.  I guess I'll keep nosing up to the house whenever hail storms come through town, hoping the house will offer some protection.  I had stopped doing so a couple of years ago, figuring it was silly.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #64 on: June 02, 2021, 07:12:34 PM »

As a meteorology student myself, I think it’s silly to plan trips in advance to avoid the plains in late spring. It doesn’t storm every day, and even when it does, the odds of a tornado actually hitting you are astronomically small. I’d be more worried about hail, but even then the odds of getting directly hit by a storm with hail large enough to damage your car are not that high. Especially if you’re just passing through.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2021, 07:28:10 PM by US 89 »
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #65 on: June 02, 2021, 07:25:02 PM »

June storm systems, whenever they happen, tend to take the form of overnight squall lines where the primary risks are straight-line winds and hail. If you can find a hotel with covered parking (or failing that, find a way to park on the east side of the building) your bases should be reasonably covered.

Does wind really affect hail's trajectory that much?  I figure it falls pretty much straight down, no matter what the wind is doing.  Maybe I'm wrong about that.

It takes wind to make hail.  In the form of updrafts.
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kphoger

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #66 on: June 03, 2021, 09:18:08 AM »

As a meteorology student myself, I think it’s silly to plan trips in advance to avoid the plains in late spring. It doesn’t storm every day, and even when it does, the odds of a tornado actually hitting you are astronomically small. I’d be more worried about hail, but even then the odds of getting directly hit by a storm with hail large enough to damage your car are not that high. Especially if you’re just passing through.

Agreed.  I mean, what about those of us with houses here?  We don't pick them up, load them on a truck, and move them out of state during the summer months just in case a damaging storm comes through.

Heck, I don't even have a garage.  Once or twice a year, I ratchet-strap blankets and boards on my windshield just in case the hail gets big enough, but the great majority of people don't even bother with stuff like that.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #67 on: June 04, 2021, 09:53:54 PM »

As a meteorology student myself, I think it’s silly to plan trips in advance to avoid the plains in late spring. It doesn’t storm every day, and even when it does, the odds of a tornado actually hitting you are astronomically small. I’d be more worried about hail, but even then the odds of getting directly hit by a storm with hail large enough to damage your car are not that high. Especially if you’re just passing through.

Agree.  Simply keep "weather aware" and adjust if necessary.  Driving through thunderstorms, even run-of-the-mill ones, isn't that much fun.  So personally, my typical procedure is to:

(1) Check the SPC website every AM, to see if and where storms are possible/likely/nearly certain.  The SPC also, of course, gives a sense for the severity of the storms (run-of-the-mill to severe).

(2) Check the NWS radar over the course of the day, to get a sense for where the storms are (if there are any), and most importantly, what direction they are moving in that particular day.

An anecdote.  12 days ago, I had to drive from Dickinson, ND to Denver, CO.  This was a day where the SPC had an enhanced risk of severe weather along the WY/SD border southward to the Colorado Plains, and along points east of that.

I took US-85 south along the far eastern part of Wyoming that day.  I was right on the edge of where severe weather was expected.  However, the severe weather actualized a few dozen miles west of there.  I could see that happening when I got to Lusk, WY, so I stopped there for 30 minutes, then after watching radar cut west to I-25 to go south (a bit out of the way) instead of taking US-85 south all the way to Cheyenne.
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