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Flood threat keeps trucking across South this week

Several more inches of rain possible from Tennessee to Florida

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Truckers will battle more soaking rain across the Southeast this week, after periods of flash flooding over the weekend.

Heavy rain hit parts of several states, with the remnants of Hurricane Nicholas partly to blame. There’s also a cold front coming that will help trigger additional rounds of downpours Monday through Wednesday, followed by drier weather later in the week.

The National Weather Service has flash flood watches in place for northern portions of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, as well as western and central Tennessee. The watches are set to expire later Monday night, but the NWS may reissue them Tuesday. As of Monday morning, the watches include the Memphis, Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee, metropolitan areas, in addition to Tupelo, Mississippi; Huntsville and Birmingham, Alabama; and parts of the Atlanta area. These places could see up to another 3 inches of rain, with pockets of higher accumulations.

The NWS could end up posting watches for other areas, and drivers may hit occasional ramp and road closures.

Flash flood watches are also in place from northeastern Florida to South Carolina.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 20 from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to Atlanta.
• Interstate 55 from Memphis to Grenada, Mississippi.
• Interstate 65 from Birmingham, Alabama, to Nashville.
• Interstate 40 from Memphis to Crossville, Tennessee.
• Interstate 24 from Clarksville, Tennessee, to Chattanooga.
• Interstate 75 from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Atlanta.
• Interstate 95 from Jacksonville, Florida, to Charleston, South Carolina.

Heavy rain will also hit the Midwest and Northeast Tuesday and Wednesday, but flooding is less likely in these regions compared to the South, where the ground is already saturated. However, isolated spots of localized flash flooding could develop in places from Chicago and Detroit to New York City, Philadelphia and Boston.

(Map: FreightWaves SONAR Critical Events and radar, Sep. 20, 2021, 8 a.m. ET. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

Other notable weather this week

Truckers may be shivering as they head through parts of the West. Temperatures in some high elevations of Wyoming, Colorado and Utah will plummet into the 20s Monday night into early Tuesday. The NWS has freeze watches and warnings for the Wasatch Range around Salt Lake City, as well as the Rockies in northwestern Colorado and the Sierra Madre in southern Wyoming.

On the other end of the spectrum, triple-digit temperatures will bake the Big Country and Concho Valley of central Texas. Highs will soar to near 105 degrees in places such as Sweetwater, Sterling City, Sherwood, Carlsbad, San Angelo, Throckmorton and Abilene. Heat advisories have been issued for these areas.

A red-flag warning covers part of the Dixie fire area in northern California. Along with a lingering drought and extremely low relative humidity, winds will increase Monday and Tuesday. Gusts of 35 mph could spread the fire, after crews made major progress setting up containment lines over the past week. Gusts could be higher on some ridgetops and in some canyons. Smoke from the fire will blow southward toward the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys.

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.