Weekend snow, rain coming back to Pacific Northwest freight markets (with forecast video)

Tractor-trailers, cars on snowy Oregon road.

Weather will be rather benign across the United States as May begins, with no high-impact systems affecting freight flows this weekend.

SONAR Critical Events and radar: Friday, May 1, 10 a.m. EDT

Heavy rainfall will continue across parts of New England today, but any flooding will be localized. The National Weather Service (NWS) has canceled most flood watches in the region since the overall risk of flooding is decreasing.

Also, a few severe thunderstorms could pop up today from northern Texas and western Oklahoma northward to eastern Colorado, western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming. The risk is marginal, but winds could become extremely gusty in isolated spots along the Interstate 25, 40, 70 and 80 corridors. Tornadoes and large hail are unlikely.

Finally, most of the bad weekend weather will zero in on the Pacific Northwest. A cold front will produce thunderstorms and areas of heavy rainfall Saturday through early Sunday in portions of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, with 1 to 2 inches of rainfall possible. At the same time, snowfall will hit many of the mountains across the region. Some computer models are showing snowfall totals of 6 to 12 inches in the high elevations of the Cascades and northern Rockies.


The impending storm will not disrupt freight markets with high outbound tender volumes. The messy weather will mainly affect the Seattle, Portland, Medford, Missoula and Pendleton markets, which are mostly “backhaul” markets. This means they have more loads arriving rather than leaving. This is indicated in the FreightWaves SONAR Headhaul (HAUL) map directly above, in which Seattle, Portland and Medford are shaded in red. This means they have more inbound volume than outbound, leading to excess truck capacity.

Typically, hours of service drop during weekends since fewer drivers hit the roads. However, receivers that will be open this weekend in the Pacific Northwest should keep in mind that any drivers who are scheduled to arrive tomorrow may run into delays heading through mountain snowfall on parts of I-84 and I-90, or heavy rainfall in the lower elevations.

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