For the third consecutive week, truckers will have to dodge severe storm winds and likely tornadoes across the South.
Related: 7 people injured in Arkansas tornado
Storms produced damaging winds Monday night and early Tuesday in the Arklatex region, as well as a few spots in Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama. The National Weather Service received more than 30 wind damage reports, including one of an 18-wheeler that flipped at a Love’s truck stop in Midlothian, Texas, just south of Dallas. Trailers are like big sails, so severe wind gusts hitting their large surface area can easily blow over a big rig.
Other reports noted trees and power lines blown down, and roofs torn off homes and businesses. Almost 27,000 customers had no electricity in Texas as of early Tuesday morning, mostly in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
For the rest of Tuesday, as well as Tuesday night, the threat of severe storms shifts a bit eastward. Drivers will be at risk from the lower Mississippi Valley, across the northern Gulf Coast, the Southeast coast and as far north as the busy Atlanta freight hub.
Look for scattered areas of straight-line winds exceeding 60 mph, in addition to tornadoes and large hail. A few tornadoes may become stronger than EF2 level, which has winds of 111 to 135 mph.
Related: 2 people dead in Florida tornado
Other cities in Tuesday’s target zone include New Orleans; Pensacola, Tallahassee and Jacksonville, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina; Mobile, Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama; as well as Jackson, Mississippi.
Most of the northern Gulf Coast, along with the Southeast Coast, will still be under the gun Wednesday for severe storms. However, the threat will spread further north into eastern Kentucky. The odds of tornadoes and large hail should be lower than on Tuesday but won’t go away altogether. Severe straight-line winds will be the main threat. Cities not at risk Tuesday that may get hit Wednesday include Charlotte, North Carolina; Spartanburg, South Carolina; Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Huntsville, Alabama.
The best defense for truckers is to make sure their mobile weather apps are set to “GPS”, “Location” or “Follow Me” mode. This will ensure that drivers get local severe weather alerts no matter where they are along their routes.
Major lanes of concern
- Interstate 10 from New Orleans to Jacksonville.
- Interstate 20 from Jackson, Mississippi, to Florence, South Carolina.
- Interstate 65 from Mobile to Nashville.
- Interstate 75 from Gainesville, Florida, to Knoxville.
- Interstate 75 from Montgomery, Alabama, to Charlotte.
- Interstate 95 from Jacksonville to Florence.
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