LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Winter Storm Landon is dumping ice, snow, sleet and rain across a more than 2,000-mile path of the U.S., affecting roads and the supply chain as many 18-wheelers are idling to wait out the weather.
Francisco Alvarez, the lead meteorologist for Convoy, a digital freight network, outlined for The Trucker just how Landon will affect the nation’s trucking industry.
“We expect this storm to impact entire swaths of major interstates across and between major markets, coupled with freezing air sticking around practically all affected areas for two or three days after precipitation,” Alvarez said. “This means we could see some significant supply chain disruptions as the storm grows and moves for the next few days and into the weekend.”
Alvarez said that there is a “real possibility of entire interstates being impacted across multiple states. For example, I-44 ranging from Oklahoma City to St, Louis, I-55 from Memphis, Tennessee, all the way north to Chicago, and I-70 from Missouri through Columbus, Ohio, are expected to all be impacted with snow and ice at some point from now through Thursday night, followed by continued freezing temps.”
Alvarez added: “From a practical standpoint for truckers — and all drivers, for that matter — ice is always very dangerous to drive on, and this storm is forecast to bring a lot of ice from Texas all the way northeast to the Ohio River Valley. Throw in the heavy snowfall north of the ice and we’re looking at some very dangerous driving conditions for the next few days and into the weekend.”
Specific forecast and impacts to supply chain
Wednesday night through Thursday, “look for rain mixed with and eventually switching over to frozen precipitation for a swath area from Oklahoma through Illinois,” Alvarez said.
“This is just the beginning, and as the storm progresses, the conditions will likely deteriorate as the precipitation begins to transition into freezing rain, sleet and snow.”
Impacted areas are likely to include:
- Oklahoma City — I-40/44/35 interchange (Wintry mix transitioning to ice and snow).
- St. Louis — I-64/40/70 (Wintry mix transitioning to all snow by evening).
- Central Illinois — Biggest impact with almost all snow. Delays and closures seem likely if any sort of accident occurs for pretty much every major highway there. This means I-55, I-80, and connecting areas therein.
Thursday through Friday morning, “the storm really ramps up, causing travel havoc due to snow from southwestern Missouri through southern Michigan, and even worse, a swath of ice from Dallas/Fort Worth all the way through southern Ohio,” Alvarez said.
Some impacted areas include:
- Dallas/Fort Worth — I-35/I-30/I-20, especially since ice impacts drivers there worse than other areas accustomed to such weather. Expect snow and ice into Thursday.
- Memphis — I-40, I-55, again with ice. Not great, especially on bridge surfaces crossing the Mississippi. Expect ice and sleet through Thursday.
- Chicago/Joliet — Snow to continue through Thursday night.
- Louisville — I-64/I-65, rain/freezing rain Thursday morning transitioning over to all freezing rain, ice and sleet by Thursday night and through Friday morning.
Friday morning and into the weekend, expect “very cold air will linger for a few days and likely keep temperatures below freezing for practically all of the affected areas, meaning hazardous driving conditions will persist across large sections of the U.S.,” Alvarez said.
The storm will continue to move toward the Northeast, dropping more snow in upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
“I am less concerned about this part of the storm, since those areas are better prepared and there will be less ice and snow overall,” Alvarez concluded.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.