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Hampton Roads Transit uses an inclement weather plan to guide its Operations Department when the region faces severe weather. Most weather events that affect operations involve flooding, so the policy focuses on that with an eye toward areas that flood predictably.
HRT uses the following categories to define weather conditions.
Level 1 – Minor Flooding
Flooding covers sidewalks or the grass by the side of the road. The maximum level of water is generally no more than five inches. In these conditions, interstate roadways and major arterial roads are passable. Some isolated sections of roadways, however, are not and require transit detours. Based on wind and tide conditions, portions of our bus routes may be on detour.
Level 2 – Major Flooding or Wind-Driven Flooding
Flooding extends to city streets, often above the curb, with storm drains at capacity. If there is no curb, one could expect water covering the sidewalks or the grass by the roadside. Sections of streets are impassable. Interstates and major intercity roadways are passable, but sections of many local and arterial roads may not be.
In those conditions, portions of our local and express routes may be on detour.
Level 3 – Nor’Easter
At this level, flooding is expected in low-lying areas. Some sections of Interstate roadways may not be passable. Residential routes are hazardous and unsafe. Water levels are up to or above 12 inches on the street or at the stair well of a transit bus.
Anticipate many routes will be on detour.
The Tide light rail service, depending on tide and winds, may be interrupted in select areas, notably near Harbor Park, requiring shuttle buses to complete the run.
The Elizabeth River Ferry will cease operations for the duration of a common thunderstorm while it passes directly over, or during larger storms achieving sustained wind speeds of 40 knots out of the North or Northeast for more than two hours.
Ferry operations also cease when storms achieve sustained wind speeds of 41 to 47 knots out of the Southeast, South, Southwest, West or Northwest for more than two hours.
Level 4 – Regional Disaster – Hurricanes
Interstate roadways, bridges, tunnels, major intercity roadways and residential areas may not be passable. Flooding may be compounded by debris in roadways from damaged trees and buildings.
Depending on anticipated landfall and overall storm strength, expect most bus service to be suspended.
The Tide – Expect service interruptions in high winds that interrupt delivery of electricity to the trains.
The Elizabeth River Ferry will cease operations when sustained wind speeds of 40 knots out of the North or Northeast last for more than two hours, or when the U.S. Coast Guard closes the harbor to port traffic. Ferry operations also cease when storms achieve sustained wind speeds of 41 to 47 knots out of the Southeast, South, Southwest, West or Northwest for more than two hours.