For the past two days, a major early season storm has been dumping huge amounts of snow in the northern Rockies and northern Great Plains in the U.S., and causing road closures and power outages in southern Canada.
Parts of Montana like West Yellowstone, Lewistown, Homestake Pass, Helena and Pony got blanketed with 12 to 18 inches of snow. Yesterday, October 10, daily snowfall records were set at the Bismarck Airport (ICAO: BIS) – 7.1 inches – and at the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Rapid City – 2.7 inches. And there’s a lot more snow where that came from. On average, over the past 30 years, these cities have seen only a trace of snow on a given mid-October day.
For the past two days, a major early season storm has been dumping huge amounts of snow in the northern Rockies and northern Great Plains. Parts of Montana like West Yellowstone, Lewistown, Homestake Pass, Helena and Pony got blanketed with 12 to 18 inches of snow. Yesterday, October 10, daily snowfall records were set at the Bismarck Airport (ICAO: BIS) – 7.1 inches – and at the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Rapid City – 2.7 inches. And there’s a lot more snow where that came from. On average, over the past 30 years, these cities have seen only a trace of snow on a given mid-October day.
The historic early season snowstorm continues its journey across the Dakotas and the northern half of Minnesota today, October 11. Truckers should avoid this region if possible and either wait out the storm or go around it.
Shippers should expect significant delays on the ground and in the air since the storm will impact many interstates and secondary roads, in addition to several oil/petroleum facilities and airports in the region, including Fargo’s Hector International Airport (ICAO code: FAR). These are indicated by the red dots and “donuts” on the FreightWaves SONAR Critical Events map above which indicate a predicted “High” risk of supply chain disruptions.
Areas in North Dakota between I-29 and US-83 could get slammed with totals of two to three feet of snow by the time the storm fades Saturday night. Places along I-29 – Grand Forks, East Grand Forks, Fargo and surrounding towns – as well as along US-83 – Minot and Bismarck – could see eight to 18 inches. Portions of northeastern South Dakota, like Aberdeen, could receive up to 12 inches. Driving will be very risky on I-29, I-90 and I-94, full truckload or not.
Relentless wind gusts of 40 to 60 mph will create blizzard/white-out conditions in many locations. Snow drifts of several feet, along with downed trees and power lines, may lead to abundant roadblocks. Also, scattered to widespread loss of electricity is a strong possibility.
The predicted totals for this storm will rival those of the blizzard that hit this region on March 2-5, 1966. Many parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota were slammed with 20 to 30 inches of snow, setting new single storm records. News accounts vary, but unfortunately around 20 people died in the storm.
The NWS is keeping Winter Storm and Blizzard Warnings posted across the region at least through tomorrow afternoon, October 12.
Other weather today, October 11
Look for scattered rain and thunderstorms from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes. Some storms may contain heavy rain, but large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes are not likely.
Sections of I-5 and I-210 are closed just north of Los Angeles due to the Saddleridge Fire, which continues to spread. As of this morning, the fire covered 4,600 acres and was 0% contained, according to InciWeb. Wind gusts of 60 mph are in the forecast for the area, making the situation difficult to handle.
Supply chains will continue to be impacted by planned power outages across a portion of California. According to a tweet last night, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (NYSE: PCG) has restored electricity to 426,000 customers. However, around 312,000 customers still have no power. Electricity will be restored to the remaining customers once safety patrols, inspections and necessary repairs are complete. The decision for planned outages was based on the extreme threat of wildfires due to hot, windy weather from Santa Barbara and Bakersfield northward to Redding. This includes the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento metropolitan areas.
A section of Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) rail is out of service in Missouri between Moberly and Kansas City because of logjams and debris strikes to the Grand River bridge in Brunswick, Missouri. Shippers operating through this area should expect delays of at least 48 to 72 hours.
Some lanes and ramps of the I-10 bridge over the San Jacinto River are still closed. This is just east of Houston and is due to damage during last month’s flooding from Tropical Storm Imelda. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, repairs may not be finished until early 2020.
Super Typhoon Hagibis is still moving slowly northward through the Philippine Sea. Its maximum sustained winds are still 160 mph. Although Hagibis may lose some steam by the weekend, it should be taken seriously.
Typhoon Hagibis still poses a potential threat to Japan, possibly making landfall near Tokyo Bay on Saturday, October 12. Sustained winds this morning, EDT, were 135 mph, but could be 90 to 95 mpg at landfall. This would have a significant impact on major seaports and airports in the region. Shippers should keep track of Hagibis and expect delays of possibly a few days, at the least, depending on exactly how the storm pans out. Look for more updates through the remainder of the week on the FreightWaves website and social media accounts.
Have a great day, a wonderful weekend, and be careful out there!