I hope all of you had a pleasant and safe weekend! Overall, weather across the continental U.S. will be pretty quiet today, November 4, with only some possible minor disruptions to travel and freight movement.
Swift snowfall in northern Rockies
One problem area today will be in the northern Rockies, where a quick burst of snow showers will make roads slick, mainly in some high elevations. Up to six inches could accumulate from just south of I-90 in Montana to northern Wyoming, just west of the I-90/I-25 junction. This includes the cities of Red Lodge, Roberts and Roscoe, as well as the Bighorn Mountains. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for these areas. The advisory, housed inside the FreightWaves SONAR Critical Events platform, expires at 11:00 a.m. MST today.
Lighter snowfall amounts of one to four inches are possible in Bridger, Belfry, Warren, Joliet, Fromberg, the northern Absaroka Mountains, Buffalo, Kaycee Clark, Cody, Meeteetse, Basin, Greybull, Lovell, Powell, Shell, Ten Sleep and Worland. The system should fade by noon MST, but roads, bridges and overpasses will likely remain snowy, slushy or icy this afternoon and evening. High temperatures will only reach the teens and 20s in most of the region.
Snow will arrive in eastern Montana and the Dakotas tomorrow, November 5, followed by another round in the northern Rockies tomorrow night and Wednesday.
Other weather today, November 4
Look for a mix of scattered rain and snow showers across the Great Lakes states with pockets of freezing rain and some icy spots. Heavy snowfall may hit parts of this region tomorrow night and Wednesday. Totals could reach six inches in portions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, as well as communities in northern lower Michigan.
Meanwhile, scattered rain and thunderstorms will develop from Florida into southern portions of Alabama and Georgia, as well as the Georgia and South Carolina coasts. Minor delays are possible on the I-10, I-75 and I-95 corridors. A virtual repeat is possible tomorrow and Wednesday, November 5 and 6, with storms moving into parts of Texas and the Desert Southwest. By mid-week, rainfall could become heavy enough at times to cause flash flooding and potential roadblocks.
Meanwhile, in the Pacific Northwest, drivers, shippers, dock workers and port employees who have respiratory conditions will need to be careful. Pollutants trapped in the lower atmosphere are producing persistent bad air quality across eastern Washington, Idaho and Oregon. This includes Spokane, Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Portland, Salem and Medford. The stagnant air could make breathing more difficult when outside for long periods of time.
California wildfire update
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CAL FIRE) is reporting nine wildfires across the state, as of this morning, November 4. This is down from 15 at one point last week. Fierce Santa Ana and Diablo winds finally backed off, allowing firefighters to make headway the past several days. The Golden State needs rainfall, but there’s not a drop in sight based on the latest forecasts. However, as far as winds, conditions should remain favorable this week for crews to gain more control over the fires.
The largest wildfire is still the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, which started on October 23 just north of Santa Rosa. It covers almost 78,000 acres and is 78% contained, compared to 65% last Friday, November 1. The next-largest is the Maria Fire, across the Santa Clarita River from the city of Santa Paula. The Maria Fire started on Halloween, covers about 9,400 acres and is 70% contained.
Last week, I-405 near Beverly Hills was closed from Mulholland Drive to Sunset Boulevard because of the Getty Fire. Most lanes and ramps have reopened; US-101 near the Kincade Fire also reopened. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is reporting no closures right now in the area of the Maria Fire.
In response to the California wildfires, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has suspended certain regulations, including hours of service, for truck drivers who want to provide direct emergency assistance in the state.
Trucking companies hauling supplies, goods, equipment and fuel into California, or providing other emergency assistance, are exempt from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Direct assistance ends when a truck is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not directly supporting the emergency relief effort.
The FMCSA has also temporarily suspended hours of service and other regulations for drivers in several Midwestern states. This is due to early season winter-like conditions that have created higher than normal demand for heating fuel for household use in the following states – Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. This Emergency Declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations while providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting heating fuel, including propane, as well as natural gas and heating oil into the affected states.