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Flood risk stays afloat amid Southwest monsoons

Truckers could hit heavy rain, road closures due to monsoonal storms

Truckers will have to dodge monsoonal thunderstorms for another day in the Desert Southwest.

An unstable, humid air mass over the region will produce more storms Wednesday. Some of them could produce periods of torrential rainfall in some places, leading to potential flash flooding and possible road closures.

The National Weather Service has flash flood watches in place across large portions of Arizona and New Mexico, as well as smaller sections of southeastern Utah and southern Colorado. Rain totals could exceed 2 inches in some locations. This includes Phoenix, Tucson, Kingman, Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City, Arizona; Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Gallup, New Mexico; in addition to Telluride and the San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado. For some areas, the watches don’t expire until Wednesday night.

This type of weather isn’t unusual in the Southwest this time of year. According to the NWS, the region’s summer monsoon season runs from June 15 through Sept. 30. The University of Arizona Climate Assessment for the Southwest says Arizona and New Mexico receive up to half of their annual rainfall during the summer monsoon.

Some of the heavy rain may hit wildfire burn scar areas, possibly causing debris flows. Wednesday’s storms could also produce severe winds in some places, even where rain doesn’t fall. This could lead to blowing sand, dust and dirt that may reduce visibility.

Impact on freight

Some drivers heading into the Southwest will experience temporary delays due to the monsoonal storms. The latest FreightWaves Headhaul Index Weekly Change (HAULW) shows more inbound trucks than outbound in most Southwest freight markets.

(Map: FreightWaves SONAR Headhaul Index Weekly Change (HAULW). To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

This is indicated by the red shading and includes the Phoenix, Tucson and Albuquerque markets. This means there’s loose capacity in these areas, with more trucks (and drivers) than outbound loads being offered by shippers to carriers compared to a week ago.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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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.