Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On the Road: Weather

English: This is a snapshot of the larger LDL ...
English: This is a snapshot of the larger LDL put out by The Weather Channel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am glued to the Weather Channel for about ten days before I leave on a trip. My day of departure is usually pretty flexible, so I watch the Weekly Planner to get an idea of weather patterns. In driving from Akron to Los Angeles I have to be sure that I have at least three days of good weather for the trip. In addition, I have to be aware of systems that come off the Pacific and where I might encounter them as I drive west. On my last trip I had clear weather until I came out of the Mojave Desert and started down the Cajon Pass in California. That was where the rain clouds had stalled and I had low visibility and rain for those very tense 12 miles.

Many weather apps are available for smartphones. Some use a GPS location to give the current weather. Others require a person to enter the zip code of the city to provide the forecast information. I take a list of the cities I drive through and their zip codes just in case I need them. If I need to check an app, I do so when I stop for gas or food. I would never use an app or text while driving.

Another safeguard I have is checking with a friend who keeps an eye on the Weather Channel for me while I am traveling. If I see some ugly clouds in the distance, I call my friend to see if anything of concern is ahead. A call in spring of 2011 alerted me to some tornadoes in Missouri and I was able to avoid them.

My cross-country drive is difficult enough with perfect weather conditions. I do not want to be surprised by adverse conditions. By taking the time to be fully aware of weather patterns, I not only alleviate some of the stress of the trip, but also increase the safety of my drive.
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