Severe storm threat shifts to Southeastern freight markets (with forecast video)

Tractor-trailer heading down highway with thunderstorm cloud in background.

Severe thunderstorms will hit parts of the Southeast later today, possibly slowing down freight movement on several interstate highways for a short time. This is the prime time of year for severe weather in this region of the country, with most severe storms and tornadoes striking from March through May.

SONAR Critical Events: Wednesday, April 29, 10 a.m. EDT; Severe storm/tornado threat

Strong storms caused wind damage in southern Louisiana this morning. A cold front in the Plains will trigger another line of thunderstorms that could turn severe across the Southeast later this afternoon into this evening. By definition, a storm is severe if it produces winds of 60 mph or higher, hail of one-inch diameter or larger, or a tornado.

The storms later today may also produce torrential rainfall and frequent lightning. The potential risk zone covers parts of Alabama, Georgia and eastern Tennessee including the Atlanta, Macon and Birmingham metropolitan areas. However, a few severe storms could pop up as far north as Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee as well as Charlotte, North Carolina, and as far south as Tallahassee and Jacksonville, Florida.

Carriers, shippers and receivers should keep in mind that drivers may have to slow down or stop at times due to blinding rainfall or roadblocks resulting from flash flooding and storm damage. As mentioned earlier, this includes Atlanta, the nation’s top-volume freight market.

SONAR Tree Map: OTMS (left); SONAR Ticker: OTRI.ATL (right)

Based on the latest FreightWaves SONAR data updated this morning, Atlanta has the highest outbound tender market share (OTMS) of the 135 markets, accounting for 4.4% of the nation’s outbound volume. This is shown in the SONAR Tree Map directly above in which the highest values appear in the upper left-hand corner of the map. Also, the outbound tender rejection rate is less than 4.0%, meaning carriers are accepting 96% of the electronically offered contract loads from shippers. So Atlanta is a busy market, and a lot of carriers may be sending drivers there to pick up loads.

Other notable weather

Extreme heat continues today and tomorrow across the Southwest. Afternoon highs will crack 100 degrees again in the Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson areas, as well as the southern California deserts in the Ontario freight market. In some spots, these highs will be nearly 20 degrees higher than normal for late April. Reefer drivers will need to adjust accordingly to make sure temperature-sensitive cargo doesn’t become damaged.

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