Category Archives: Weather

Metro-North New Haven Line in the Winter

It’s old wiring, and some of the catenary support towers are original century-old installations.

The ancient infrastructure is way past end of useful life even with Metro North’s excellent maintenance practices. You get more frequent breakdowns with old mechanical systems and the old supports than the newer installations on the line. Do not forget shoreline weather factor. Winter unleashes steady punishment on all shoreline-facing structures during peak storm season. The differences between light/fluffy snow and heavy caked-on snow or sleet/ice are dramatic shoreline vs. just a couple miles inland during most Noreasters, and there’s often a stiff sea breeze even in less-severe weather and even with Long Island Sound somewhat more protected from the worst of the Atlantic elements than other places. Pressure + time takes its toll more rapidly than with inland electrification, and if the weather alone doesn’t bring down a wire here and there it corrodes it enough that you get more pantograph downings on brittle stretches. There’s also a lot of new-growth trees along the ROW that were allowed to sprout and grow above catenary height during the deferred maintenance era. Lot of downed limbs from wind and heavy snow/ice, and MNRR has limited options for clearing a wide swath around the ROW when it runs through people’s backyards… the trees are a natural sound and sight barrier that the neighbors would go ballistic if cut down.

That’s the price the NH line has to pay for being the most congested passenger rail corridor in the country, running high-speed service on one of the oldest ROW’s and the single oldest still-operating electric installation in North America (other extant ones may have been older, but they completely scrapped and changed their type of electric collection method after early experimentation).

And with all due respect, the new, improved, high-tech crap doesn’t perform as well or as long as the old stuff did. It may run faster, when it runs, and it may look prettier, but the simpler the design, the fewer the problems.

See other short stories

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/a-collection-of-short-stories-about-railroads-book-two/

 

 

8 hurricanes that almost packed the punch of Patricia

PenneyVanderbilt

Hurricane Patricia is now the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the eastern Pacific Ocean — and made landfall with 165 mph winds.

The storm is now rated a category 5, the highest on the Saffir–Simpson scale. Before landfall, it had sustained winds of 200 mph, and gusts of up to 250 mph. “This makes Patricia the strongest hurricane on record in the National Hurricane Center’s area of responsibility, which includes the Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific basins,” said the National Hurricane Center. Patricia currently has a minumum central air pressure of 880mb, the lowest air pressure ever recorded in that region. It had “weakened” to 160 mph late Friday, according to the hurricane center.

In fact, Patricia is so powerful, the name Hurricane Patricia may be retired.

US Air Force pilots from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron out of Mississippi experienced that power first-hand. They flew directly into Patricia. This storm is so powerful…

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Hurricanes and Rain East Coast US

Steady rain drenched much of the East Coast on Wednesday, flooding roads, closing schools and forcing some people from their homes. And forecasters say the worst is yet to come.

The rainstorms may soon be joined by Hurricane Joaquin in a powerful weather system that could linger for days and dump as much as 10 inches through early next week in some places. The deluge has the potential to saturate the ground so heavily that trees topple onto power lines even without heavy winds.

“The bottom line is: We are expecting very heavy rains all the way from the Carolinas up into new England,” said Bruce Terry, lead forecaster for the government’s Weather Prediction Center.

Before the hurricane draws close to the U.S., an area of low pressure in the Southeast and a front stalled over the East Coast will pull moisture from the Atlantic Ocean that falls as rain over the next few days, Terry said.

The heaviest rain is expected in wide swaths of North Carolina and Virginia, along with parts of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey, according to a National Weather Service forecast map.

The MBTA’s Real Map

PenneyVanderbilt

TRANSLATION — Joke maps of the MBTA, like this one that has been making its way around Twitter this week, might elicit some frustrated chuckles now. But as delays get worse and patience runs out, politicians are scrambling to make sure they aren’t blamed for the T’s performance this winter. First and foremost is Governor Charlie Baker. On Wednesday he demanded that Keolis, the French company that operates the commuter rail, shape up in time for Monday, when school vacation ends. He took a similarly strong tone with transit officials last week. It’s clear the MBTA has become a political hot potato, and Baker doesn’t want to be left holding it.

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Hurricane Sandy and South Ferry Subway Station

PenneyVanderbilt

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Sandy damaged the New York City subway worse than anything else in its 108-year history, flooding eight tunnels and shutting service for millions of commuters. Recovery efforts began even before the storm was over, and extraordinary work by New York City Transit brought lines back into service rapidly.

Yet while the subway seems back to normal for most of the 5.6 million daily riders, the damage behind the scenes remains extensive – nowhere more so than in the South Ferry electrical room.

Soon after South Ferry was pumped out and drained, crews removed hundreds of relays and tried cleaning them by hand to return them to service – a task that turned out to be futile, as seen by heavy corrosion marks visible on the banks of relays.

On Friday, March 8, 2013, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that 1 Line icon train service will return to one loop platform of the storm-ravaged…

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Well, Everyone made it back from Pinnacle Peak Hike – Dr. Martin Luther King Day

Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

While the folks back on the East Coast are battling snowstorms, we have had sunny, clear weather with temperatures into the high 50s and low 60s. The bad part about all this warm weather?   The freezing level has skyrocketed up to 10,000 feet and that translates into no snowshoeing for us in January! Yikes! Normally we wouldn’t do this lower elevation hike (at this time of year) because I would much rather get out in the snow.  It’s winter, we want to see some snow!

So last week, instead of a snowshoe hike, we hiked up Pinnacle Peak in Enumclaw. My hiking partners this billy goat trip were my 12 year old daughter and two of her friends. All three happen to be part of our Girl Scout troop and I wanted to see if this would be an age appropriate hike and skill level for them. As it turned out, they didn’t have any…

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My Favorite Weather Station: New Blogs

My Favorite on-line weather station is “WunderGround” (Weather Underground). This setting is for Nice, France; but I can save other stations. I like to visit North Creek, New York and Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

I wanted to find out about the big snow in Buffalo to I took a look at their blogs and find one all about:

Buffalo, New York Area, Great Lakes, Lake-Effect Snow Impacts: At Least 5 Dead, State of Emergency Declared

Snow was still falling on the Buffalo, New York, area Wednesday morning, a day after a major lake-effect snow event dumped up to 60 inches of snow on areas south of Buffalo, killing at least five people and stranding vehicles for hours on roads throughout the area. In response, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the western New York counties most impacted by the snow.

Snow also fell in other Great Lake states, including northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where up to two feet of snow blew ashore. Those areas will get a bit of a reprieve today before the lake-effect event ramps-up again in the evening hours Wednesday into the morning Thursday. For specific forecast details click on the link below.

(MORE: Lake-Effect Snow Forecast)

WeatherBuffloPlowThey have forecasts and videos: WeatherBuffaloVideo

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With help from Penney Vanderbilt