Truckers should be ready for a disruptive winter storm across several Midwestern states just a few days from now.
A storm system will track into the region and gain strength over the upcoming weekend. From Sunday afternoon/evening into Monday, it could produce a wintry mix of moderate to heavy snowfall, freezing rain, sleet and gusty winds.
Potential snowfall accumulations may be as high as 12 inches in some areas, with pockets of higher totals. As much as a quarter-inch of ice buildup is possible, especially in the far southern portion of the potential impact zone (see attached video).
Major cities and transportation hubs that could experience delays in freight flows and supply chains include Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo. Most of these are top freight markets regarding levels of outbound volume. A lot of shippers are offering loads for carriers to pick up in these areas, as shown in the FreightWaves chart below of the Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI).
Drivers will have issues on several major interstate highways, including I-29, I-35, I-70, I-75, I-80, I-81 and I-90.
Wind gusts above 30 mph could cause significant blowing and drifting snow, leading to reduced visibility and periods of possible whiteout conditions. Additionally, the risk of power outages will be increased, especially in areas that see the highest ice totals.
Other notable weather
Look for areas of heavy snowfall Thursday in the northern Rockies, spreading into the central and southern Rockies Friday. Lake-effect snowfall will continue to pile up in portions of the interior Northeast and northern Great Lakes.
Beginning this weekend, periods of snowfall will also hit the Sierra Nevada in eastern California and the Wasatch Range in Utah. This pattern could last for several days, with up to 24 inches of accumulation. At some point, a few inches may even blanket the Los Angeles suburbs as snow levels could drop to 1,000 feet.
Heavy rain and a few thunderstorms Thursday and Friday will soak parts of the Deep South. Localized flash flooding may lead to road closures along sections of the I-10, I-20 and I-55 corridors.