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Stormy weather for truckers this week from coast to coast

Heavy rain, snow in West followed by severe storms in Plains, South

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Truckers, especially over-the-road drivers, will hit all kinds of disruptive weather this week from coast to coast.

A low-pressure system and associated cold front moved onto the West Coast late Sunday night and will continue to spread rain across the Southwest and Four Corners regions Monday and Tuesday.

Related: 5 states with toughest chain laws for truckers

Most of the meaningful rain will drench Southern California, with 2 to 4 inches likely in parts of the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. This will help reduce lingering drought. It’s been a dry year after a wet December, but this rain may be too much at once. Drivers could hit localized road closures due to mudslides or landslides.

Places farther inland across the Great Basin will receive lesser rain amounts and not much drought relief.

Drivers will have to chain up heading through the high elevations of the Sierra Nevada, Southern California mountains and portions of the Rockies. The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories for these ranges, where 12 to 24 inches of snow could pile up in some spots.

(Map: FreightWaves SONAR Critical Events and radar, 8 a.m. ET, Mar. 28, 2022. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

High winds across the West will increase the risk of rollovers, as well as reduced visibility due to blowing snow and sideways rain. Gusts will reach 40 to 60 mph, possibly up to 80 mph in parts of the Sierra Nevada.

This system will head to the Plains late Tuesday, bringing a risk for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes from Texas to Iowa. A potentially higher threat of severe weather and tornadoes could hit Wednesday from the mid-South to the Gulf Coast.

Severe storms devastated communities in these regions last week, including an EF3 tornado that struck just a stone’s throw from downtown New Orleans, which is in the risk zone this week.

Related: Tornadoes across South may further strain flatbed capacity

Other major cities and freight hubs in the potential path of severe weather include Austin and Dallas, Texas; Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Wichita, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; Baton Rouge and Shreveport, Louisiana; Little Rock, Arkansas; Jackson, Mississippi; Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham, Alabama; in addition to Memphis, Tennessee.

Severe storm could then hit parts of the Southeast late Wednesday into Thursday.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 5 from Redding, California, to San Diego.
• Interstate 10 from Los Angeles to Mobile.
• Interstate 15 from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City.
• Interstate 20 from Scroggins Draw, Texas, to Birmingham.
• Interstate 25 from Las Cruces, New Mexico, to Cheyenne, Wyoming.
• Interstate 35 from Dallas to Kansas City.
• Interstate 40 from Barstow, California, to Memphis.
• Interstate 55 from Memphis to New Orleans.
• Interstate 65 from Nashville to New Orleans.

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.