Late season snowfall to clip key Northeast freight markets (with forecast video)

Tractor-trailer heading down slushy road.

Mother Nature doesn’t always pay attention to the calendar, which she will prove this weekend. It’s early May, and heavy snowfall will hit parts of the Northeast by later today.

SONAR Critical Events and radar: Friday, May 8, 9 a.m. EDT

The low pressure system and associated cold front that will produce the snowfall will first produce heavy rainfall and strong thunderstorms across the lower Mississippi Valley and the Southeast today. Rain will begin to spread across the Northeast this afternoon. Later today, cold air will feed into the storm, changing the rain to snow. This process will continue tonight through Saturday, May 8.

Some forecast models are still showing snowfall totals of 6 inches or more for the high elevations in upstate portions of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, with 3 to 6 inches possible in the western, central and northeastern mountains of Pennsylvania. Snow squalls are likely Saturday. Gusty winds and short bursts of snow will create brief periods of whiteout conditions across central New York state and northeastern Pennsylvania.

Areas closer to the coast, including major Northeast cities like Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Hartford and Providence, will probably see 1 inch or less of wet snow, or just a snow-rain mix.

Fortunately, the accumulating snowfall will not be a major disruptor of the flow of freight from three key markets – Harrisburg and Allentown, Pennsylvania, as well as Elizabeth, New Jersey.  According to FreightWaves SONAR, these are top markets nationally in terms of outbound tender volumes (OTVI), ranking third, fifth and seventh, respectively. Combined, they account for 8.9% of the nation’s outbound volume, and are adjacent to each other in the Northeast region.

SONAR Ticker: OTMS Tree Map

The tree map above shows the outbound tender market share (OTMS) for all 135 markets.  Allentown, Harrisburg and Elizabeth are all in the left-hand portion of the map, which contains the highest values of any given index. 

Fortunately, freight movement delays due to weather should be low-impact and short-lived. Harrisburg, Allentown and Elizabeth should see only minor accumulations of wet snow, and the storm should fade Saturday night.

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