Flooding potential in key Northeast freight markets through Friday (with forecast video)

Tractor-trailer, car stuck in flood water.

It’s the last day of April, so flooding rains are more likely to hit the Northeast than high-impact snowstorms or ice storms. Very wet weather is just what will happen today through part of tomorrow, May 1.

SONAR Critical Events and radar: Thursday, April 30, 10 a.m. EDT; Severe storm/tornado threat

A strong cold front will move rather slowly across the eastern part of the country, producing areas of heavy rainfall and scattered thunderstorms from the central Appalachians to southern New England. Some areas could receive up to 3 or 4 inches of total rainfall, with periods of torrential downpours when thunderstorms strike.

The heavy rainfall may result in significant rises of streams, creeks and some rivers, while clogged urban drainage systems may overflow. This would all lead to flooding that could last into the weekend in some areas. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued flood watches for many portions of the Northeast.

Some of the major metropolitan areas on the Interstate 95 corridor that may get flooded include Richmond, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and some parts of New York City.

Key freight markets in the risk zone of potential flooding are Harrisburg and Allentown, Pennsylvania, as well as Elizabeth, New Jersey.

These are high-volume markets, all in the top 10 out of 135 markets nationwide, ranked third, fifth and seventh, respectively. The latest FreightWaves SONAR data shows that these markets, combined, account for 8.5% of the nation’s outbound tender market share (OTMS). Due to the rain and possible flooding, drivers will likely run into delays trying to pick up freight in these busy markets.

SONAR: OTMS Tree Map (left); SONAR Ticker: ITVI.PHL, OTVI.PHL (right)

While Philadelphia’s outbound tender volumes (OTVI) have been fairly steady over the past two weeks, inbound volumes (ITVI) are 27% higher than they were two weeks ago, resulting in looser capacity. So the increasing numbers of drivers heading to Philadelphia to drop off loads will probably have to slow down or stop at times due to the messy weather.

Have a great day! Please stay healthy and be careful out there!