Snowstorm hitting smaller Northeast freight markets (with forecast video)

Plow clearing very snowy road in New Hampshire.

Another snowstorm is hitting the Northeast today, but large freight markets and big metropolitan cities in the region will be spared from significant disruptions in freight flows.

As a matter of fact, except for a total of 11.5 inches of December snowfall in Boston (1.5 inches above normal), storms have produced very little snow so far this winter in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore or Washington, D.C. None of these cities received more than 2.6 inches of snowfall in January or more than one-half an inch so far this February, with winter accumulations that are well below average.

SONAR Critical Events and radar: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020

Snowfall from the current storm may be intense at times, until later tonight, from upstate New York to interior New England. Totals of 8 to 12 inches are possible in the Tughill region and the Adirondacks, as well as in the Green, White and Mahoosuc Mountains of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, respectively. Most other areas will see 2 to 6 inches, including the Interstate 95 corridor in Maine. Snow may change to rain in some lower elevations later today.

Across the border, a mix of rain and wet snow will cause slushy travel on the Trans-Canada Highway in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.

Truckers should expect delays on a number of other major interstate highways, including I-81 and I-90. Wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph will result in blowing snow and very low visibility at times. This storm won’t have a major impact on freight movement at the national level. Based on the latest SONAR data from FreightWaves, the markets in this storm’s impact zone – Augusta (ME), Bristol (NH), Albany, Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Elmira (NY), and Erie (PA) – combine for only 2.404% of the nation’s outbound freight volume. This is represented by the Outbound Tender Market Share (OTMS) index.

SONAR Tickers: ITMS (colors), OTMS (height) map; forecast radar for Feb. 18, 2020, 4 p.m. EST

The combined OTMS of these markets is about the same as their combined Inbound Tender Market Share (ITMS), so not many carriers are leaving or entering these markets with loads. Instead, they’re making mostly local and regional runs in the Northeast. Nonetheless, their drivers may run into delays and possible road closures. The OTMS and ITMS indices measure a market’s level of volume compared to the other 134 freight markets in across the country.

Even though this storm will fade overnight, lake-effect snowfall could linger tomorrow from Erie, Pennsylvania to Watertown, New York.

Other areas of snowfall

A batch of snowfall could cause delays today on I-70 east of Denver, and I-25 south of Denver, fading tonight.

Wednesday, a snowfall will spread along the I-80 corridor from Nebraska to Des Moines, Iowa. Totals of 2 to 5 inches are likely. As this fades Wednesday night, snowfall will develop along and south of the I-70 corridor from eastern Colorado, including Denver, to eastern Kansas. A few snow showers may sneak into western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle.

Soggy South

Scattered showers and thunderstorms will drench parts of the South today. Localized flash flooding may lead to roadblocks in spots along the I-20 corridor from Tyler, Texas to Atlanta. This includes places on the Pearl River, like Jackson, Mississippi, that are experiencing major flooding. Light rain may linger in these areas on Wednesday before heavier rainfall returns on Thursday, along with a chance of a rain-snow mix in southern Tennessee, northern Alabama, northern Georgia and the Piedmont of South Carolina.

Have a great day, and be careful out there!