Heat wave hitting California freight markets this week (with forecast video)

Tractor-trailer on highway at dusk/dawn with sun on horizon.

Scorching heat will keep reefer drivers on their toes this week when picking up loads in California. Not only will they need to keep themselves and their trucks safe, but they will need to take extra good care of their temperature-sensitive freight.

SONAR Critical Events: Monday, June 22, 2020, 8 a.m. EDT; Heat advisory (left); SONAR ticker: ROTVI (right)

A prolonged period of dangerous heat is expected along the Interstate 5 corridor in the Sacramento and northern San Joaquin valleys this week and into early next weekend. This includes Redding, Chico, Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto, Fresno and Bakersfield.

Afternoon highs will range from 99 to 110 degrees for the valleys, 95 to 105 for the surrounding foothills and mostly 90s for the Delta. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued heat advisories for these areas. The advisories begin today and, for now, last through Saturday, June 27.

These forecast highs may not be record-breaking, but they are 10 to 20 degrees hotter than normal for early summer, and the extreme heat will last for several days.

The heat will spread into far northern California and southern Oregon, too. But as of this morning the excessive heat watch for these areas is only for Tuesday, June 23. However, the NWS may extend the watch past Tuesday.

The heat wave will hit all or parts of the Fresno, Ontario and Stockton freight markets, which are high-volume markets.

The latest FreightWaves SONAR data show them in the top 11 in terms of outbound reefer volume – Reefer Outbound Tender Volume Index (ROTVI) – in which they are ranked second, fourth and 11th, respectively.

SONAR ticker: ROTVI tree map

High levels of ROTVI mean a lot of reefer drivers may be heading into these markets and the excessive heat this week, picking up beverages and produce. Making necessary adjustments by keeping trailers at the proper settings will be an imperative to keep freight from becoming spoiled or damaged.

Western Texas will also bake in extreme heat, but the heat advisory for this part of the country is, for now, only in effect for today. This includes areas from San Angelo to Midland and El Paso, where highs could exceed 110 degrees.

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