Snowstorms hitting both sides of the US this week (with forecast video)

Tractor-trailers and cars stuck on snowy California highway.

Late season snowstorms will hit western and eastern states this week, mainly in California and New England.

SONAR Critical Events and radar: Monday, Apr. 6, 2020, 10 a.m. EDT

The West

A quick-hitting storm dumped heavy snowfall in the Sierra Nevada of eastern California on Saturday, April 4. Another storm developed yesterday and continues to produce snowfall today in these areas, as well as in western Nevada. As of this morning, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) reported no closures on Interstate 80 from Reno into eastern California. However, chain controls are in effect and snow plows are out.

Some parts of the region will see additional rounds of snowfall through mid-week, with accumulations totaling 12 to 24 inches in some places. Wind gusts of 45 to 55 mph will create blowing snow and occasional whiteout conditions.

Heavy snowfall will also hit the high elevations around Los Angeles and San Diego. Parts of the Los Angeles and Ventura county mountains will see 12 inches or more, with wind gusts of 40 to 55 mph. Light snowfall is possible on Interstate 5 in the Fort Tejon and Grapevine areas.

The East

A snowstorm could develop in the Northeast later this week. Early indications show it hitting upstate New York and northern New England on Thursday, April 9. The forecast of exact timing and snow amounts is still a bit fuzzy, so look for updates on the FreightWaves website and social media accounts.

Impact on freight

The ongoing rounds of Sierra snowfalls may impact freight flows between the Mountain Prairie and West regions. In other words, loads trucked from the Plains states to the West Coast and vice versa.


The latest FreightWaves SONAR data, updated this morning, shows outbound volumes (orange line on the map below) from the Mountain Prairie to the West (OTVI.URMPURWT) have dramatically decreased over the past week. So have outbound tender rejections (OTRI.URMPURWT) – the percentage of electronically offered loads by shippers that carriers turn down. So carriers have been accepting more loads. However, a rejection rate of 25% indicates that capacity remains tight. Typically, an OTRI of 10% or higher puts upward pressure on spot rates, sending them well above contract rates.

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