InsightsNewsWeather and Critical Events

Truckers facing severe storm threat in heartland

Gusty winds, large hail, tornadoes and flooding likely from Plains to Midwest

Truckers will hit more nasty storms and torrential downpours the next few days from the Plains to the Midwest.

Some parts of these regions suffered wind and hail damage the past two days, with more waves of storms lasting through the weekend. Some places could get hit by multiple storms.


Look for scattered to widespread areas of severe winds (at least 58 mph), large hail (at least 1 inch in diameter) and isolated tornadoes Thursday from far eastern Colorado to the Upper Great Lakes. This includes Wichita and Topeka, Kansas; Kansas City, St. Louis and Jefferson City, Missouri; the western suburbs of Chicago; Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin; the southern suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul; all of Iowa; as well as Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska.


The same threats shift southward Friday, spreading across eastern Colorado; all of Kansas; portions of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles; the northern half of Missouri (including Kansas City, Jefferson City and St. Louis again); far southern parts of Iowa and Nebraska; and western Illinois.


The risk for severe storms diminishes Saturday but could pop up in isolated spots from eastern New Mexico and northern Texas all the way to Michigan.


On any given day, it will be raining cats and dogs at times, with rain totals through Saturday of 4 to 6 inches in many places. However, some areas could see up to 10 inches, leading to flash flooding and potential road closures.

Impact on freight

Demand for freight out of the Midwest market is higher than in any other region of the country right now. The map below is a snapshot of the Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI), a moving index of the level of outbound loads being electronically offered by shippers to carriers.

(Map: FreightWaves SONAR Outbound Volume Tender Index (OTVI) by region. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

Drivers may head into this region more than the others since they naturally want to go where the freight is. The storms will occasionally slow them down, but delays should mostly be temporary.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

You might also like:

I-40 bridge closure over Mississippi River to last several more weeks

Most dangerous highway stretches for US truckers

Hot Shots: Tornado sighting, train collision, unmanned midair fueling

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.