Severe storms could hit nation’s top freight market later today (with forecast video)

Tractor-trailer heading down highway with storm cloud ahead.

Thunderstorms could come back to parts of the Southeast later today and this evening, possibly turning severe from northern Alabama and central Tennessee, eastward into the Carolinas. This won’t be a widespread outbreak, but all modes of severe weather are possible – tornadoes (isolated in this case), large hail, or winds of 60 mph or greater.

SONAR Critical Events and radar: Tuesday, May 5, 9 a.m. EDT; Severe thunderstorm risk areas

A low pressure system and associated cold front will track across the region, sparking the stormy conditions. The front is the boundary between the warm, muggy air mass over the Southeast and the cooler, drier air behind it over the Plains. The contrast between the air masses is fairly sharp, the system will be rather energized, and storms may rotate and spin up a few tornadoes. As is often the case with severe thunderstorms, and some non-severe thunderstorms, torrential downpours and localized flash flooding are possible.

Some of the larger cities most at risk include Charlotte, North Carolina; Greenville, South Carolina; Chattanoga and Knoxville, Tennessee. However, a few severe storms could pop up in other nearby cities such as Atlanta, Georgia; Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama; Columbia, South Carolina; Wilmington and Raleigh, North Carolina; eastern Kentucky and southwestern Virginia.

Atlanta is the nation’s top freight market right now. The FreightWaves SONAR tree map below shows the outbound tender volume index (OTVI) for all 135 markets in the United States. The largest values are located in the upper left-hand portion of the map. Atlanta is in the top left-hand corner, meaning it has the largest amount of outbound freight. Freight flows in Atlanta may be briefly disrupted by these storms later today, but the weather shouldn’t have a major impact on shippers, carriers or receivers.

SONAR Ticker: OTVI Tree Map

Right behind Atlanta in terms of outbound volumes is the Ontario, California market, where daily high temperatures this week will be sizzling. Look for readings of 104 to 112 degrees Wednesday, May 6 through Saturday, May 9 from Death Valley to the deserts of southeastern California. These may be record-breaking in some spots. Reefer drivers will need to adjust accordingly since these temperatures are well above normal for this time of year. The same level of high heat will also hit the Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma areas during the same time period.

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