A big blast of snow and wind will continue across parts of the Rocky Mountains the rest of today, October 29, lasting into tonight as an arctic cold front moves through the region. Hazardous road conditions, as well as blowing snow and near white-out conditions will result in potential delays in trucking and air freight.
Snowy, wind, bitter cold
Six to 12 inches could pile up in the Denver metropolitan area, with higher amounts in the surrounding foothills. Not too big of a deal for this part of the country, but drivers should expect delays on I-70 and I-25. Places such as Georgetown, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Eisenhower Tunnel could see up to 16 inches, with wind gusts of 35 mph.
Parts of Wyoming will receive several more inches of snow along with wind gusts up to 55 mph. This is mainly for Sweetwater County – including Wamsutter, Rock Springs and Green River – in addition to the southern Laramie Range. Also, in Sweetwater County, bitterly cold wind chills of 30° to 35° below zero will develop overnight.
Heavy snow and strong winds will strike the Wasatch Mountains in Utah, with several inches possible in the Salt Lake City area – including Provo and Park City – as well as spots to the south like Scofield, Cove Fort, Koosharem and Fish Lake.
Even in areas of less intense snowfall, the National Weather Service (NWS) is warning of “considerable blowing and drifting snow” because of ferocious winds.
Overnight into Wednesday, October 30, snow and freezing drizzle will spread into the Great Plains and Midwest. This includes parts of Kansas and Nebraska to Davenport, Iowa, northern Missouri, Milwaukee, and possibly downtown Chicago. A more potent shot of snow and wind will hit the same general areas on Halloween afternoon and evening.
Snow totals of three to six inches will be common with the Halloween storm, but there could be areas that receive up to 10 inches. Blowing and drifting snow will reduce visibility on the I-80, I-88 and I-90 corridors. Winds may knock down trees and utility lines, resulting in scattered power outages. The storm may also delay harvest of corn and soybeans in the Midwest, stress livestock, and cause logistical issues for commodities in the region.
Other weather today, October 29
On the warm side of the western snowstorm, thunderstorms and heavy rain will develop from eastern Texas to the middle Mississippi River Valley, as well as in portions of the Southeast. The (NWS) has not yet issued a Flash Flood Watch for any particular area, but localized flooding is possible from Dallas to Tulsa and northwestern Arkansas; and from Memphis to New Orleans, Mobile, Tallahassee and Macon.
Wildfires continue to burn in California. When FreightWaves first reported on this yesterday, October 28, the largest fire – the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County – was spread across 66,000 acres of northern California’s wine country. Last night it increased to more than 74,000 acres. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), the cause of the Kincade Fire is under investigation. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has closed several ramps on US-101 between Larkfield-Wikiup and Simi.
The Getty Fire started yesterday near the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Some interstate ramps/lanes are still closed on I-405 (known as “the 405”) in Los Angeles, from Mulholland Drive to Sunset Boulevard. Wildfires are burning in 10 other locations across the state. Additional road closures are possible.
The threat for fires spreading or new ones starting is at critical to extreme levels. Very dry and windy conditions will persist for at least a couple more days, through October 30. Gusts could reach 60 mph or more in some areas, with afternoon relative humidity of less than 20%.
Around half a million customers across California still have no electricity, mainly because of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s public safety power shutoffs (PSPs). The PSPs are meant to prevent live power lines from starting new fires if those lines were blown down by the vicious winds. The NWS has posted new Red Flag Warnings across portions of northern and southern California. These warnings, along with the areas under the PSPs, are housed inside the FreightWaves SONAR Critical Events platform on the map directly above.
In addition to potential ground transportation issues, strong winds may delay air cargo at San Francisco International Airport (ICAO: SFO) and Sacramento International Airport (ICAO code: SMF), as well as Los Angeles International Airport (ICAO code: LAX) and Ontario International Airport (ICAO code: ONT).
Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) train service in Missouri, between Moberly and Kansas City, resumed yesterday evening, October 28. Logjams caused by flooding collapsed the railway’s bridge over the Grand River earlier this month. Repairs have been finished, and trains scheduled through these areas are now operating on normal schedules. Customers do not need to update any shipping instructions and can view all shipment routing and ETAs via AccessNS.
Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Kyarr continues to spin over the Arabian Sea, producing winds of 120 mph around its eyewall. The storm should continue to lose steam as it glides by the Arabian Peninsula over the next several days. Kyarr will not likely make direct landfall, but coastal areas of Oman and Yemen may experience some minor storm surge and gusty winds. Short-term disruptions at ports are possible.
Have a great day, and be careful out there!