Heat wave building in Southwest freight markets (with forecast video)

Tractor-trailer heading down desert highway with bright sunshine across the sky.

A heat wave is likely to spread across the Southwestern United States later this week, possibly putting extra stress on drivers, their trucks and temperature-sensitive freight.

SONAR Critical Events: Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 8 a.m. EDT; Excessive heat warnings

Even by midsummer standards, the weather will be scorching from southeastern California to southern Nevada, as well as in western and southern Arizona Thursday through Saturday.

Highs could reach 105 to 120 degrees in Las Vegas; Phoenix, Yuma and Tucson, Arizona; portions of southeastern California, such as El Centro and Palm Springs; in addition to places in between and immediately surrounding these areas. The predicted temperatures are 5 to 15 degrees above normal for this time of the year and may tie or break daily record highs. Even low temperatures will be very warm, mosty in the 80s.

The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings across the region. For now, they begin Thursday morning and last through Saturday evening.

This level of heat can be brutal on trucks. Drivers heading into or through the Southwest should make sure their trucks are in tip-top shape to avoid breakdowns or air-conditioning malfunctions in the extreme heat.

Reefer drivers will need to show their temperature-sensitive freight some extra care, making necessary adjustments to their trailer settings to avoid damaged loads.

The heat wave will hit part of the Ontario, California, freight market, where many reefer drivers may be headed this week. It has the second-highest level of reefer outbound volumes, according to the latest data from FreightWaves.


This is seen on the SONAR Reefer Outbound Tender Volume Index (ROTVI) map directly above, in which markets with high reefer volumes appear in the darkest blue.

All drivers should take care of themselves by spending as little time as possible outside their trucks. Heat exhaustion or heat stroke can set in quickly under the scorching temperatures.

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