The torrential rain overnight along the front range has led to a lot of damage and chaos and fatalities. Newscasters repeatedly said that they had never seen the diverse amount of traffic accidents, closures, and mudslides along roads in the corridors and plains.
The hyperloop system depends on elevated tubing, which fortunately for flooding, will enable it to stay high and dry. However if flooding or embankment erosion causes a pylon to fall or fail, the hyperloop tubing will fail as well. Washout areas will need special engineering for the pylons or possible bridges. Also, the station terminals would be at the base of the pylon and be at risk of weather.
But broadly speaking, lets look at other weather problems and gauge their effect on the hyperloop system.
Types natural disasters that might affect the hyperloop are color coded by severity, red being the most severe, yellow moderate, and green as least.
- Extreme Heat
- Extreme Storms and Extreme Cold
- Thunderstorms and Lighting
- Severe Weather (micro bursts, blizzards)
- Floods (espically flast flooding in mountain areas, while rare, are to be taken very seriously)
- Space Weather (could overpower electrical grid)
- Landslides, Debris Flow, Avalanches
- Tsunamis (not a valid concern in Colorado!)
The above will affect the hyperloop. Some other weather that might not affect the hyperloop but will affect how people will access it and the stations:
- Fog or Smog
- Sleet or Hail
- Severe Crosswinds
- Blowing Snow
- Blowing Sand, Soil or Dirt
- Sun Glare
So it is important to note that the hyperloop system could be engineered in a way to avoid the chaos that causes other transportation infrastructure problems to highways, streets, rail, and flights it is indeed affected by the secondary weather effects listed directly above.
It is also important to note the Elon Musks hyperloop design was based on it being powered by solar panels ontop of the tube.
The kinds of weather that affect solar panels are:
- Geographic location and sunlight
- Cloud Cover
- Air Density (Colorado has better solar exposure than sea level due to the light not being scattered in the dense air.
- Fog Frequency
- Wind (Strength to damage the panels and its cooling effect)
Luckily, Colorado has over 300 days of sunshine a year. The flooding that has happened is terrible but a above ground enclosed transport system will prevent some of the damage to critical parts and function.