• ITVI.USA
    15,489.220
    61.880
    0.4%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.882
    0.016
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    20.830
    -0.090
    -0.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,457.420
    58.770
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.820
    -0.100
    -3.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.580
    -0.100
    -2.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.260
    -0.030
    -2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.650
    0.030
    0.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.330
    -0.090
    -3.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.020
    -0.150
    -3.6%
  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,489.220
    61.880
    0.4%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.882
    0.016
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    20.830
    -0.090
    -0.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,457.420
    58.770
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.820
    -0.100
    -3.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.580
    -0.100
    -2.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.260
    -0.030
    -2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.650
    0.030
    0.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.330
    -0.090
    -3.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.020
    -0.150
    -3.6%
  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
InsightsNewsWeather and Critical Events

Flood threats for Gulf Coast, Northwest this weekend

Flash flood watches from Louisiana to Florida, Washington to California

The remnants of Hurricane Nicholas, now a low-pressure system, will continue to drench portions of the Gulf Coast through this weekend.

Nicholas made landfall early Tuesday morning along the Texas coast as a Category 1 hurricane, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people and flooding portions of the state. Crews have gradually restored electricity, with fewer than 30,000 customers remaining offline as of early Friday morning.

Winds have weakened dramatically since landfall, but heavy rain and the threat for more flash flooding continue across the Deep South.

The system was centered in southwestern Louisiana early Friday morning and will stall over the region. Most of the rain will stay east of the center, but some rain could spread into the Tennessee and Ohio valleys over the next few days, as well as the Florida Peninsula.

An additional 1 to 3 inches could drench areas in southern parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, as well as western Florida. This includes New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Biloxi, Gulfport and Pascagoula, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; as well as Pensacola, Panama City and Apalachicola, Florida. There could be isolated pockets of up to 6 inches, and flash flood watches from the National Weather Service remain in effect as late as Saturday evening for some of these areas.

These impacts will lead to more temporary delays in freight flows along the Interstate 10 corridor. While long-term widespread flooding is unlikely — it won’t be raining all day and night — heavy rain and flash flooding will come in waves and may result in periodic ramp and road closures. Additionally, onshore and offshore energy operations in the region could be disrupted from time to time. 

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 10 from Baton Rouge to Marianna, Florida.
• Interstate 12 from Baton Rouge to Slidell, Louisiana.
• Interstate 55 from McComb, Mississippi, to New Orleans.
• Interstate 59 from Poplarville, Mississippi, to New Orleans.
• Interstate 65 from Mobile to Barnett Crossroads, Alabama.
• U.S. Highway 90 from east of Morgan City, Louisiana, to Chattahoochee, Florida.
• U.S. Highway 98 from west of Apalachicola to south of Hattiesburg.

(Map: FreightWaves SONAR Critical Events and radar, Sep. 17, 2021, 8 a.m. ET. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

A frontal system will enter the Northwest Friday, spreading needed rainfall across the region through the weekend.

The heaviest rain will soak places from the Cascades westward to the coast, including the Seattle and Portland metropolitan areas, as well as far northern California. Wet weather will also stretch into the northern Rockies, where rain may mix with or change to snow Sunday. Rain totals exceeding 4 inches are possible, leading to potential road localized flash flooding, debris flows and road closures.

This would be the first significant rain for the region since the spring. The NWS has issued flash flood watches for portions of north-central Washington and far northern California, impacting U.S. Highway 97 in both regions.

Other notable weekend weather

Look for strong winds Saturday across a large section of Montana. The risk of rollovers will be high, especially for drivers deadheading (pulling empty trailers). Gusts up to 65 mph could hit places like Bozeman Pass, Bozeman, Rogers Pass, West Yellowstone, Marias Pass, Targhee Pass, Helena, Choteau, Logan Pass, Boulder, Great Falls, Bynum, Browning, Heart Butte and Cut Bank. Gusts up to 75 mph are possible along the Rocky Mountain Front.

Major lane of concern

• Interstate 15 from Great Falls to Butte.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin, Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist

In his nearly 20 years of weather forecasting experience, Nick worked on air at WBBJ-TV and WRCB-TV, including time spent doing weather analysis and field reporting. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. Nick is also 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 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” for eight consecutive years. Nick earned his National Weather Association Broadcasting Seal in 2005.

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