InsightsNewsWeather and Critical Events

Flash flood threat keeps trucking across Midwest and Southeast (with forecast video)

Another day of relentless rounds of heavy rainfall could slow down truckers and freight movement between the Ohio Valley and the Carolinas. Flash flooding could lead to closures of many secondary roads, with potential for roadblocks on interstate highways/ramps.

SONAR Critical Events and radar: Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 9 a.m. EDT

It’s been a very wet week so far, with more than 4 inches of rainfall in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and new daily rainfall records set in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, each of the past two days, totaling 3.5 to nearly 4.5 inches. Daily records were also set Tuesday in Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia, as well as in Dayton, Ohio.

A broad area of low pressure, now centered over Tennessee, has been producing the frequent wet weather. The low is cut off from the jet stream – the narrow band of winds aloft that steers weather systems across the country and the globe – so the risk of flash flooding will stick around through Thursday, May 21 as the system spins over the same general area.

An additional 2 to 4 inches of rainfall are likely for many places that are still under flash flood watches from the National Weather Service (NWS). This includes areas from Columbus, Ohio, all the way to Charlotte, North Carolina, two fairly significant freight markets.

Based on the latest updates this morning in FreightWaves SONAR, Columbus and Charlotte rank 10th and 17th, respectively, regarding total outbound volumes. Although volumes have dropped in Columbus week-over-week, it still accounts for around 2.2% of the nation’s outbound freight. This represents the market’s outbound tender market share (OTMS). Charlotte’s volume has increased since a week ago and accounts for around 1.6% of the country’s outbound freight.

SONAR Ticker: OTMS Tree Map

Other cities at risk of flash flooding include, but are not limited to Cincinnati, Ohio; Huntington and Charleston, West Virginia; Roanoke and Danville, Virginia; Asheville, Winston-Salem and Fayetteville, North Carolina; as well as Spartanburg and Florence, South Carolina.

Have a great day! Please stay healthy and be careful out there!

Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.