Every Friday, FreightWaves takes a look at the past week or so in social media, highlighting trucking, transportation and weather. This week features the successful journey of a flying car prototype, a train painted to celebrate Juneteenth and inclusion, as well as massive floods that submerged trucks and washed out roads.
It rained cats and dogs across Michigan last weekend, with several inches recorded in many locations Saturday. Some parts of the Detroit metropolitan area were drenched with 4 to 8 inches, which caused flooding on Interstate 94 and other roads.
Tractor-trailers were halfway under water, cars were nearly submerged, and a section of I-94 remained closed until Monday. The flooding also destroyed about 25 new vehicles at the Stellantis auto plant on the city’s east side, according to The Detroit News.
Freedom freight train
Union Pacific (UP) Corp. (NYSE: UNP) recently unveiled its commemorative locomotive in celebration of Juneteenth, the holiday marking the end of slavery in the U.S. The railroad’s “We Are ONE” Employee Resource Group (ERG) train has hit the tracks for some summer fun, celebrating inclusion along the way.
UP train No. 1979 is named after the year UP’s first ERG, the Black Employee Network, was established. The locomotive will travel through the system on its way to the ONE ERG Conference in Omaha, Nebraska, Sept. 1-2.
Sections of interstate and state highways in Washington buckled under extreme heat last weekend as record-breaking temperatures soared past 100 degrees for three straight days. The Washington Department of Transportation had to close lanes on Interstates 5 and 405 to repair the damaged pavement.
An all-time high of 108 degrees for Seattle was set Monday, with new all-time highs in Vancouver (112), Olympia (110) and Spokane (109) as well. The dangerous heat had spread across the border into Canada, where an all-time high for the country was set Monday when the mercury reached 121 degrees in Lytton, British Columbia. All-time records were also set in other parts of the northwestern U.S.
Earlier this week, a relatively new prototype of a flying car successfully completed a 35-minute trip between international airports in Slovakia. The developer of the AirCar, Stefan Klein, described the journey as turning “science fiction into a reality,” according to WGN-TV.
The hybrid car-aircraft flew between Nitra, in western Slovakia, and the capital city of Bratislava, about 45 miles. Upon landing in Bratislava, Klein retracted the flying car’s wings and drove it into the downtown area.
The AirCar Prototype 1, which has been in development since 2017, is powered by a 160-horsepower BMW engine and features a fixed propeller. The flying car is capable of 45-degree turns, speeds of 118 mph and a cruising altitude of 8,200 feet. It also has a ballistic parachute for emergencies.
Flood or famine
Thunderstorms produced gully washers Tuesday in Utah’s Zion National Park in the southwestern part of the state. The National Weather Service office in Salt Lake City told FreightWaves that about 1.2 to 1.7 inches of rain fell in 60 to 90 minutes. The loose and extremely dry ground quickly gave way during the downpours, resulting in flash floods and mudslides.
The Utah Department of Transportation shut down part of state Highway 9 for several hours after the flooding washed out sections of the road, and park officials had to close some trails. Most of Utah has been in a severe or exceptional drought since last September. Those are the two worst categories assigned by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
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