Updated 10 a.m. ET, Feb. 19, 2021.
A second winter storm this week slammed parts of the South Wednesday and Thursday, with at least 10 cities reporting multiple daily records for snowfall and low temperatures.
The storms have slowed down the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, and the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration has temporarily waived hour-of-service regulations for drivers trucking recovery supplies to affected areas.
Fortunately, this storm exited the region Thursday night. A warming trend across the South should help recovery efforts and get freight movement slowly back to normal. Any truckers still stuck on roads should finally be able to get out.
Roads are still covered in snow and/or ice in many states across the southern Plains, as well as the Mississippi and Tennessee valleys. Temperatures were well below normal Thursday morning, in the teens and single digits inland. However, most interstates are in good condition.
One exception is I-410 in Texas. It remains shut down north and west of San Antonio. Also, many overpasses along I-20 in northern Louisiana are still closed.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the only airport that is still closed in areas affected by the storms is the Jackson International Airport (ICAO: JAN) in Mississippi. It’s scheduled to reopen at 11 p.m. CT Friday.
Widespread power outages across the South the past few days have caused cascading issues in Union Pacific Railroad’s (NYSE: UNP) main line and terminal operations. It has also affected available water supply and other critical supply chain requirements such as fuel. Ongoing road closures may continue to impact the company’s ability to transport crews. The weather has also impacted train length and has frozen switches, reducing terminal productivity.
The storm caused a ripple effect through the supply chain. Earlier this week, Union Pacific decided to close all of its intermodal terminals to avoid an imbalance of equipment across the network. Company officials believed this will result in a quicker recovery of operations. Some terminals reopened Thursday, and the remaining terminals, located in the West, are slated to reopen Friday at 8 a.m. in their respective local time zones.
The APM Terminals gate at Port Elizabeth, New Jersey, is scheduled to reopen at 8 a.m. ET Friday, closing at 5 p.m. APM said in a customer alert earlier this week that any units in free time will be extended through Saturday. The gate will be open Saturday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.
As of 10 a.m. ET Friday more than 190,000 customers in Texas had no electricity, a big improvement over 4 million on Tuesday. Hundreds of thousands still have no power in Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Kentucky and West Virginia combined.