In The News

Hurricane Ian

By Brandon Baxter - Staff Writer
Posted Oct 5th 2022 8:00AM

The destruction, and subsequent rebuilding, that comes with the onset and departure of a hurricane of Ian’s strength and magnitude can hardly be measured by the images and reports we receive from mainstream media and the folks who bring us our weather forecasts. We’ve been warned, time and again, that climate change is here and is a direct cause of such massive weather events. Choose to believe it, or don’t, science proves otherwise.

The devastation of such natural disasters wreaks havoc on our national transportation infrastructure. It affects many corners of how we move goods throughout this country and sets us back in terms of progress, especially as the economy continues to circle the drain.

By the time this article is published for readers’ consumption there is no doubt that things will change, especially when it comes to disaster relief efforts. But please, keep in mind that we are all in this together and the effects of Ian are already being felt across the United States.

The Immediate Aftermath

Thursday morning, the day after Ian cut a swath of destruction across most of Florida, more than 2.6 million Floridians were without power, and nearly 20% of Tampa gas stations had reported fuel shortages and issues with providing access to pumps.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) was immediately tasked with making sure roads and interstate highways were operational, in which most of Interstate 75 remained open. However, part of the Sanibel Causeway Bridge, a major bridge that connects Fort Myers to Sanibel Island, has been washed out. Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, deployed 100 inspectors, working in teams of two, who will assess all bridges, but he expects many more bridges to be just as heavily damaged.

Storm Affected Ports

Port Tampa Bay, a major facility for fuel, remained shut down a day after the hurricane made its initial landfall. And with Ian having been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm the predicted path was expected to move toward Georgia and the Carolinas, spelling potential additional port closures along the Atlantic coast.

HOS Restrictions Waived

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) waived hours-of-service restrictions in eight states for those motor carriers which are transporting emergency relief supplies, equipment and fuel into the states that have been most heavily affected by Hurricane Ian.

The emergency order includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The 14-hour driving window, 11-hour driving limit and other HOS rules covered under Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations have been temporarily waived. The order will expire on October 28th or until the emergency need is over.

For those who have never had to experience what comes with the preparation, anticipation, and devastation of such a weather event, consider yourselves fortunate. And for those who remain exposed after Hurricane Ian’s destruction, especially people who are now left without home, food, clothes, or water, know that the nation’s best efforts to help are forthcoming.

While it’s unfortunate that weather disasters remain an ongoing battle that relatively few can predict coming, the aftermath is often a reminder of how the trucking and transportation industry is routinely relied upon as both provider and savior.

Everyone, please take care of one another.