Winter storms keep trucking across Midwest, Northwest this week (with forecast video)

Tractor-trailer moving down a road with snowy hills in the background.

Mother Nature is adding insult to injury as winter storms continue to make a mess across two regions recently hit.

A blizzard blasted through the Midwest-Great Lakes region last Friday and Saturday, resulting in interstate closures and many accidents in several states. Except for last weekend, strong snowstorms have been hammering the Northwest, also closing roads at times. Additional delays are possible in these parts of the country over the next few days. 

Midwest-Great Lakes

A slow-moving storm system is producing snow, sleet and freezing rain in the lower Mississippi Valley, central Great Plains and portions of the upper Midwest. All of this will head eastward across the remainder of the upper Midwest and Great Lakes tomorrow and Friday.

SONAR Critical Events and radar, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2019, 11 a.m. EST. Midwest-Great Lakes winter storm threat.

It won’t be as bad as last weekend’s storm that hit these areas, with much less snow (mostly 6 inches or fewer), not as much ice (less than one-tenth of an inch) and less powerful winds (gusts less than 30 mph). Drivers will need to slow down a bit from time to time, but major interstate shutdowns and long delays are unlikely.

Since ambient temperatures will hover around the freezing mark, some of the snow will not accumulate on interstates, limiting the storm’s impact. This is especially true in the southern and eastern parts of the storm. Shippers should expect some minor disruptions in road, air and rail freight. Minor, short-term disruptions to supply chains and business operations are possible on local and regional levels.

Northeast is next

The Midwest-Great Lakes storm will move into the Northeast this weekend with little impact on major freight markets.

SONAR Critical Events and radar, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2019, 11 a.m. EST. Northeast winter storm threat.

Snowfall totals of 2 to 7 inches are likely from central Pennsylvania and upstate New York to interior New England. Winds won’t be too powerful in most areas, with gusts staying under 30 mph. However, isolated spots of stronger gusts are possible.

This storm will likely not affect major metropolitan cities on the I-95 corridor. However, the outlook could change. Look for forecast updates on the FreightWaves website and social media accounts.

Northwest nuisance

The first in a new series of snowstorms has returned to the mountains of the Northwest. Except for last weekend, the Cascades and northern Rockies have been hit with periods of nasty winter weather since the beginning of the year, resulting in occasional road closures. Southern parts of British Columbia, Canada will see their fair share, too. The snowfall has been great for skiers and resort owners but not for some carriers and their drivers. Shippers have likely been dealing with late pickups and deliveries. The on-and-off storms will keep going the rest of the week and possibly into Monday.

SONAR Critical Events and radar, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2019, 11 a.m. EST. Northwest winter storm threat.

Look for another 6 to 12 inches of snowfall today through tonight in the high elevations of the Washington Cascades and Olympics. Look for several inches in the Rockies of northern Idaho and western Montana, as well as northeastern Oregon. Potential trouble spots include Snoqualmie and Lookout passes on the I-90 corridor, as well as Stevens Pass on US-2. Light snow is possible in spots along I-84 in Oregon. Wind could cause blowing/drifting snow, occasionally reducing visibility in some areas.

Temperatures and snow levels will rise tomorrow through Saturday. With plenty of moisture remaining in the atmosphere, heavy rain is possible in the mountains of the Washington Cascades up to around 5,500 feet, as well as the lowlands along and west of I-5. Several inches of potential rainfall could lead to localized flooding and mudslides, including spots on the US-101 corridor.

Have a great day, and be careful out there!