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Transportation troubles continue across frozen South

Roads, airports, intermodal terminals closed

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Updated 11 a.m. Feb. 16, 2021.

The historic winter that hit the South Sunday and Monday is gone. But several states remain bitterly cold and roads remain covered in ice and snow.

Besides road closures, several airports and intermodal terminals are closed. Meanwhile, millions of people have no electricity, and a follow-up storm is forecast to hit many of the same areas later Tuesday.

Rough roads

Portions of interstates, as well as U.S. and state highways, have been shut down. Truckers will hit delays from Texas and Oklahoma to the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, including places such as Dallas and Houston; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Little Rock, Arkansas; Jackson, Mississippi; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; as well as Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.

Power problems

As of 11 a.m. ET Tuesday, about 4.4 million customers in Texas had no electricity, mostly in Houston, and many for 24 hours or more. Another several hundred thousand customers had no electricity across the remainder of the South.


The Houston Hobby (ICAO code: HOU) and George Bush Intercontinental (ICAO code: IAH) airports remain closed until 4 p.m. CT Tuesday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The Abilene Regional Airport (ICAO: ABI) in Texas, which closed late Monday afternoon, is scheduled to reopen at 10 a.m. CT Tuesday, and the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (ICAO: BTR) in Louisiana remains closed until 12 p.m. CT Tuesday. The Jackson International Airport (ICAO: JAN) in Mississippi is slated to reopen at 11 p.m. CT Tuesday, and the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport (ICAO: SPI) in Springfield, Illinois, is closed until 9 a.m. CT Wednesday.

Ground delays continue at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (ICAO code: DFW).


Union Pacific Railroad (NYSE: UNP) updated a customer alert Monday evening, saying it would close most of its intermodal terminals Tuesday morning.

“We anticipate the closures to last approximately 72 hours,” Union Pacific said.

CSX Transportation (NYSE: CSX) also told its customers to expect delays.


Another winter storm coming from the Rockies is likely to produce some heavy snowfall, as well as more freezing rain and icy conditions, for many of the same areas hit by the last storm. This storm will begin later Tuesday in the southern Plains, ending late Thursday in the Tennessee and Ohio valleys. This comes after many cities have been hit by daily record snowfalls and record low temperatures. Travel will remain treacherous on the roads, rails and runways.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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.