Messy Midwest weather
A sluggish low pressure system will spin over parts of the Great Plains and Great Lakes this afternoon (September 12) and tonight, dropping heavy rainfall in many areas. Localized flash flooding could lead to roadblocks, mainly on secondary roads and interstate ramps across Minnesota, Wisconsin, northeastern Iowa and northern Illinois. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Flash Flood Watch affecting portions of I-35, I-90 and I-94.
Runoff will likely cause high flows and flooding in northeastern Montana along the Milk River and its tributaries, where the ground is saturated from recent rounds of heavy rainfall. This affects the cities of Glasgow, Glendive and surrounding areas.
Severe thunderstorms producing large hail, powerful winds and isolated tornadoes will be scattered along a cold front extending southward from the low pressure cell. These storms could strike anywhere from the Texas Panhandle to portions of Minnesota, as well as Milwaukee and Chicago. However, the best odds for severe storms are from Wichita, Kansas City, and Rochester, Minnesota, to Des Moines and the Quad Cities (actually comprising five cities) of Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island, Moline and East Moline.
Because of the nasty storms, drivers will have to slow down at times when moving through the fast-growing Minneapolis market. FreightWaves SONAR data shows this market is already having a strong year, with outbound tender volumes up 29.19% year-over-year and 14.51% month-over-month. Outbound tender volumes (OTVI.MSP) have rebounded this week, increasing 3.81% since the long Labor Day weekend. Capacity of refrigerated trailers known as “reefers” is very tight at the moment. Outbound tender rejections (ROTRI.MSP) – the percentage of electronically transacted load offers from shippers that are rejected by carriers, usually because they have options to charge other shippers a higher rate – doubled in the week leading up to Labor Day (24.30% to 50.51%). Although they have since dropped 894 basis points to 41.57%, capacity is still tightening as we head into the weekend.
As outbound tender volumes increase this week and capacity tightens, carriers could be attracted to the market as it shifts to more of a headhaul market – more freight leaving the market than coming into it – and year-over-year volume increases. Shippers: if you have loads that have to move this week, you may pay a premium for working in the spot market. But if you can push out loads for Monday delivery, increase your tender lead times beyond 2.5 days to give carriers more notice to save on transportation costs.
There’s a very good chance over the next few days that a disturbance near the southeastern Bahamas may become a tropical depression or the next named tropical storm. Before this happens, the area of investigation, known as “Invest 95L”, will drench portions of the Bahamas with locally heavy rainfall.
By the weekend, 95L may quickly organize into a tropical depression with a closed center of circulation. If maximum sustained winds reach 39 to 73 mph, 95L would become Tropical Storm Humberto.
Because the system is disorganized at this time, it’s difficult to predict with any accuracy exactly how strong it may become and where it will go. One possibility is a path across southern Florida and then into the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend. Another is a path similar to Hurricane Dorian’s, with the storm reaching the Mid-Atlantic region by the middle or latter part of next week.
It’s early in the game, and one run of the computer models does not a forecast make. The outlooks will become more fine-tuned over the next couple of days. However, meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) seem to be sure of one thing – a tropical cyclone will develop in this region soon, evident in the NHC data housed inside the FreightWaves SONAR Critical Events platform. Look for forecast updates on the FreightWaves website and social media accounts in the coming days.
Have a great day and be careful out there!