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Follow-up wallop of winter weather hitting the South

Some roads, airports, intermodal terminals remain closed

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Another winter storm will slam the South Wednesday, taking nearly the same track as the historic storm earlier this week. That storm produced daily record snowfalls and record low temperatures in many places.

Besides road closures, several airports and intermodal terminals remain closed, and millions of people still have no electricity.


Roads are still covered in snow and/or ice in many states across the southern Plains, as well as the Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio valleys. Most issues and closures are on U.S. and state highways. However, the one major interstate shut down is the I-10 Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and additional interstate closures are possible due to the follow-up storm.


According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Abilene Regional Airport (ICAO: ABI) in Texas is scheduled to reopen at 8 a.m. CT Wednesday, and the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ICAO code: AUS) will reopen at 10 a.m. CT Wednesday. The Jackson International Airport (ICAO: JAN) in Mississippi is slated to reopen at 5 a.m. CT Thursday.


Union Pacific Railroad (NYSE: UNP) intermodal terminals remain shut down. In an updated customer alert Tuesday, officials said more than 400 locations across their network have no electricity. More than 20% of active trains are holding for at least four hours as a result of the weather, and more than 90% of primary parking is currently occupied at the company’s intermodal terminals in Illinois.

“While not every ramp is directly impacted by severe weather, by closing intermodal terminals systemwide we are avoiding an imbalance of equipment across the network,” Union Pacific said. “This will result in a quicker recovery of operations.”

Power problems

As of 7 a.m. ET Tuesday, about 3 million customers in Texas had no electricity, many for 48 hours or more. This is an improvement over the more than 4 million that had no power as of Tuesday afternoon. An additional 280,000 customers still have no electricity in Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Kentucky and West Virginia combined.


The highest snowfall amounts Wednesday will probably hit from the Arklatex region — where Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana meet — to western and Middle Tennessee. This includes the cities of Texarkana, Little Rock, Memphis and Nashville, where 4 to 6 inches could pile up. A few spots in high elevations may see up to 8 inches. Freezing rain will impact areas mainly on the southern end of the storm, in places like Houston, southwstern Louisiana and western Mississippi.

Wednesday night and Thursday, the storm will delay truckers from the southern Appalachians and Ohio Valley to the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. Some places could see 5 to 10 inches of snowfall, with up to a quarter inch of ice buildup possible along the I-95 corridor, from Washington to Boston.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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.