Every Friday, FreightWaves takes a look at the past week or so in social media, highlighting trucking, transportation and weather. This week features a Georgia overpass dislodged by a hopper, big rigs that wrecked during a New Mexico dust storm and vehicles floating in Arizona flash floods.
Watch out for that bridge
A 7-mile stretch of Interstate 16 in Treutlen County, Georgia, will remain shut down until further notice. Georgia State Patrol (GSP) officials said a tractor-trailer pulling a hopper was heading west on I-16 when the hopper went into the lift position, hitting the Georgia state route 86 overpass around 1 a.m. ET Thursday. GSP added that this impact shifted the entire overpass about 6 feet and that the truck separated and crashed after going through the median. The driver wasn’t hurt.
The road is closed in both directions from Exit 71 to Exit 78. A report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry told the State Transportation Board there’s no estimated time for reopening I-16. McMurry added that GDOT will focus on restoring westbound I-16 traffic first to aid freight moving out of the Port of Savannah. About 21,000 vehicles use the stretch of highway each day.
Day of the twisters
More than 40 tornadoes touched down Wednesday across Iowa, according to the National Weather Service, as a strong frontal boundary moved through the Midwest. Severe straight-line winds hit many other areas, damaging structures, as well as downing trees and power lines.
The highest straight-line gust reported to the NWS was 75 mph, and was measured at a truck stop in Floyd County in northeastern Iowa.
Parts of the Desert Southwest were drenched with monsoonal storms that dumped heavy rain, leading to major flash floods. Some of the worst flooding was Wednesday in the Flagstaff, Arizona, area, where rainfall ranged from 1.5 to almost 3 inches. The region has been in a major drought for about a year, so the downpours broke up very loose soil, which led to the floods.
In the Upper Greenlawn neighborhood, at about 7,000 feet in elevation, vehicles floated down the fast-moving waters that flowed down Elden Mountain. Officials asked residents in flooded areas to either shelter in place or go to higher ground. As of Thursday afternoon, there were no reports of major injuries or deaths as a result of the floods.
Dust in the wind
While some parts of the Desert Southwest were soaked this week, others were enveloped in billowing walls of dust, dirt and sand as a strong wind storm, called a haboob, hit southwestern New Mexico. It happened late Sunday evening into early Monday, causing accidents on Interstate 10.
Several semi drivers lost control of their rigs and ended up blocking lanes. According to a tweet, a nurse stuck in the traffic helped injured accident victims.
Dozens of wildfires are burning across the West, smothering areas in smoke and poor air quality. The biggest is the Bootleg fire in southern Oregon in the Fremont-Winema National Forest. It was reported on July 6 and had grown to more than 220,000 acres as of Thursday afternoon, but was only 7% contained.
It could take months to get the blaze under control. Fire officials said the estimated containment date was set for November because they “will have a great deal of mop-up, repair and recovery to complete.” They’re still investigating the cause of the fire.
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