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Hot Shots: Dust storm, shock waves at sea, memorial on a truck and more

Highlighting images and videos in transportation, trucking and weather

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Every Friday, FreightWaves takes a look at the past week or so in social media, highlighting trucking, transportation and weather. This week features a dust storm smothering part of Idaho, a booming Navy test of an aircraft carrier and a national memorial that is trucked across the country.

Tropical troubles

Tropical Storm Claudette, the third named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, slammed parts of the South last weekend as it rolled ashore. The deadly storm produced major flash flooding due to storm surge and heavy rain.

One of the many areas hit hard by flooding was Mobile, Alabama, where a record 4.22 inches of rain fell Saturday. The video above shows a tanker driver dangerously going through the floodwater. Nobody should try to drive through flooded areas because people often underestimate the power of moving water. Also, the road could wash out underneath, leaving drivers in a sinkhole.


Late last week, the Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford successfully completed its first explosive event as part of Full Ship Shock Trials (FSST) off the East Coast. The U.S. Navy conducts shock trials of new ship designs using live explosives to confirm that the warships can meet demanding mission requirements under harsh conditions that they might encounter in battle.

The Ford’s shock trials were conducted within a narrow schedule that complied with environmental mitigation requirements, respecting known migration patterns of marine life in the test area. The Navy also has employed extensive protocols throughout FSST to ensure the safety of military and civilian personnel participating in the test.

Bridging the gap

Repairs continue on the Interstate 40 bridge over the Mississippi River, connecting Memphis, Tennessee, and eastern Arkansas. Crews are making good progress, according to the Tennessee and Arkansas departments of transportation (TODT and ARDOT).

The bridge has been closed since May 11, after an ARDOT inspector found a cracked beam in the span. The Arkansas Trucking Association estimates the closure, which impacts vital freight movement across the Mid-South, is costing the trucking industry about $1 million a day. Earlier this month, Tennessee Commissioner of Transportation Clay Bright said he expected the repairs to last at least until late July. Transportation officials had not updated this timeline as of late Thursday.

Related: ‘Painful mess’: I-40 bridge closure costing trucking industry $1M daily

Dust in the wind

The Boise, Idaho, area was smothered by a dust storm Tuesday as winds cranked up during the evening hours. It began at about 7:30, two hours before sunset, turning the landscape into what looked like a scene from “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015) or “The Mummy” (1999). Okay, maybe it wasn’t that apocalyptic, but it was pretty dramatic, nonetheless.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a dust storm warning as the storm commenced. NWS records show maximum sustained winds of 41 mph during the storm, with a peak gust of nearly 60 mph. At one point, visibility at the Boise Airport (ICAO code: BOI) was reduced to three quarters of a mile. The storm lasted for about an hour before visibility improved.

The Wall That Heals

A national memorial arrived Wednesday in Chaplain, New York, honoring many of America’s fallen soldiers. Volunteers helped assemble The Wall That Heals, a replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington.

The wall travels the country in a 53-foot trailer and consists of more than 140 panels weighing 80 pounds each. This is according to a report from WPTZ-TV in Plattsburgh, New York. The wall will stay in Champlain through Sunday afternoon before heading to Townsend, Massachusetts.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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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.