SPECIAL REPORT: Hurricane information readily available for truckers headed to East Coast

| 9/18/2003

Truckers headed for the East Coast can tune in several places to get information on Hurricane Isabel and whether the storm will affect their route.

In Virginia, truckers with Internet access can go to www.vdes.state.va.us, the Web site of the Virginia Department of Emergency Services, the agency that will coordinate efforts there to counteract the storm. That site contains links to weather updates and information on evacuation routes out of the area.

Information is also available at www.weather.com, the Web site of the Weather Channel. Forecasts on the site are regularly updated.

By phone, truckers can call 1-800-367-ROAD (1-800-367-7623), a Virginia Department of Transportation hot line that provides road conditions information. The hotline uses a voice-activated menu that is easy to follow. Callers can ask about road conditions or advisories by simply saying those words. By saying “coordinator,” truckers can be connected to a live operator for more specific questions.

The state also recommends that drivers call the National Weather Service. In Wakefield, VA, which handles the portion of southern Virginia where the storm is most likely to hit, the number is (757) 899-4200. The agency also offers information on its Web site, www.nws.noaa.gov.

North Carolina, where the storm is now expected to make its initial landfall, offers road condition information through its hotline, 1-877-DOT-4YOU (1-877-368-4968).

Truckers with Internet access can also visit the North Carolina DOT’s Web site, www.ncdot.org. That site contains a traffic and travel conditions link real-time travel information and a link to the National Weather Service.

Sgt. Sammy Carr of the Virginia State Police said truckers should also check with their brokers, shippers or receivers to see whether the businesses they are headed to are even open, especially those truckers traveling to the area’s many marine terminals, many of which are likely to be closed by flooding if the storm strikes.

“They really do need to consider where they’ve got to go to,” he said. “They’re coming right into a possible flood zone.”

--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor

Mark Reddig can be reached at mark_reddig@landlinemag.com.