Severe storms from Plains to East Coast this week (with forecast video)

Tractor-trailer heading down a highway with dark storm cloud across the sky.

Freight flows will be delayed from time to time over the next few days due to thunderstorms across the Plains, Midwest and Northeast.

SONAR Critical Events and radar: Monday, July 27, 2020, 8 a.m. EDT

A slow-moving cold front will trudge from west to east across these regions Monday through Wednesday (July 27-29), sparking the storms. With the addition of abundant heat, humidity and instability, it won’t be difficult to get the storms going.

In some areas, the storms will reach severe limits.

The National Weather Service (NWS) classifies a thunderstorm as severe if it produces any of the following based on radar or eyewitness reports:

• Winds of at least 58 mph (50 knots).
• Hail at least 1 inch in diameter (quarter size).
• A tornado.

The main threat from these impending storms will be dangerous straight-line winds, rather than large hail or tornadoes.

The general risk zone Monday extends from Indiana to interior portions of New England. This includes Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Indiana; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Buffalo and Rochester, New York; Burlington, Vermont; and most of Maine.

Potential target areas Tuesday include places along the Interstate 95 corridor, such as Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; Philadelphia; New York City; Hartford; Providence; Boston; as well as Portland and Augusta, Maine.

Wednesday, the focus for possible severe weather shifts to the Plains, from Rapid City, South Dakota to western Nebraska, eastern Colorado and northwestern Kansas.

These will not be major, widespread severe weather outbreaks. Severe storms will be isolated across these regions. However, where they do pop up they will be intense and slow-moving. This could lead to flash flooding and potential roadblocks in a few major freight markets, like Elizabeth, New Jersey; Columbus, Ohio; and Indianapolis, Indiana. These markets account for about 6.5% of the nation’s total Outbound Tender Market Share (OTMS), according to the latest data from FreightWaves.

SONAR ticker: OTMS Tree Map

Later in the week, the cold front producing these storms will drop into the Southeast, dumping very heavy rainfall in some areas of the Tennessee and Mississippi valleys.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.