Heading into the weekend, truckers will have to battle areas of heavy snowfall and gusty winds in portions of the Midwest-Great Lakes. This snowstorm will likely cause some disruptions to ground and air transportation in several states but won’t shut down supply chains for any extended period of time.
The timing of this storm is still Friday night through early Sunday morning. This does not look to be a major disruptive event with widespread road closures, power outages, etc., but rather a period of minor to moderate freight flow slowdowns for the duration of the storm.
The forecast track has shifted a bit to the north, so now the key freight hubs within the potential impact zone include Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska; Milwaukee; and the northern Chicago suburbs. Kansas City, Missouri, and Detroit, as well as downtown Chicago and the nearby Joliet, Illinois, market, are on the bubble. They will probably see a snow-rain mix, or wet snow changing to rain. However, a southward shift in the forecast will put these areas back in contention for accumulating snowfall. Look for updates over the next couple of days on the FreightWaves website and social media accounts.
A band of snow is expected to develop on the northern side of the storm system with total accumulations ranging from 3 to 6 inches. Some spots could see slightly higher amounts, and wind gusts will be strong enough to produce blowing/drifting snow and occasional poor visibility. By Sunday, the storm should be gone, moving into the interior Northeast and southeastern Canada.
The storm will originate in the Southwest, where it will dump 10 to 15 inches of snowfall Thursday and Friday in the high elevations of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. The storm will then make a beeline toward the Midwest-Great Lakes region, impacting popular destinations for carriers in the region during the first half of this weekend.
This is evident in the FreightWaves SONAR map above, which shows the Headhaul Index (HAUL). Markets in dark blue in the potential impact zone of the snowstorm — Chicago, Joliet, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee and Green Bay — have much higher outbound volumes than inbound. Carriers want to send drivers to these types of markets where the freight is.
Periods of snowfall will also hit the Cascades and northern Rockies the next few days, in addition to northeastern Nevada.