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Soaking rain for truckers in South

Periods of low visibility, potential flash flooding next few days

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

When it rains it pours, especially in the South on many spring days. Lately, it’s been the Deep South and Gulf Coast getting drenched, resulting in flash flooding and water rescues in Birmingham, Alabama, last week.

Related: Flood threat not drying up across Deep South

New Orleans International Airport (ICAO code: MSY) received a daily record 4.1 inches of rain Monday, with downpours in other parts of the region. The old record was 2.43 inches in 1995. The pattern probably won’t dry up until late week.


A frontal boundary will stall across the South over the next few days. Waves of energy will travel along the front and, with plenty of moisture in the air, will produce periods of showers and thunderstorms. The rain may be torrential at times, resulting in low visibility for drivers, as well as the potential for flash flooding and road closures.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued flash flood watches from just east of Dallas into Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. These are the areas most prone to flooding based on forecast precipitation totals and their low elevations.

Total rainfall through early Friday morning could exceed 5 inches in some places. The heaviest rain will probably hit areas along and south of Interstate 20, including the eastern suburbs of Dallas; Shreveport, Monroe, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana; Hattiesburg, Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi; in addition to Mobile, Alabama.

The watches are set to expire either Wednesday morning or afternoon, depending on location. However, expiration times may change, and the NWS may add other areas to the watches.

By Thursday, most of the heavy rain threat should be confined to spots from southeastern Louisiana to southern Georgia and portions of Florida. Most of the South should get a chance to dry out Friday and Saturday.

Impact on freight

This will not turn into a large-scale aerial flooding event across the South. It will mainly be a nuisance for drivers moving through the region, but major impacts on freight flows and supply chains are unlikely.

SONAR ticker: Headhaul Weekly Change (HAULW)

Based on the latest FreightWaves SONAR data, the amount of available inbound loads has outweighed outbound loads over the past week. This is shown by the Headhaul Weekly Change index. Headhaul measures the difference between outbound and inbound volumes. The Southeast is shaded in red in the map above, which indicates a developing imbalance — decreasing loads out of the region along with increasing capacity.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.