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Major Logistics Hubs and Key Freight Lanes Brace for Severe Winter Storm

More than 200 million people across the United States are under a watch, warning, or advisory from the National Weather Service this morning as powerful storm system moves through the middle of the country.


Two-thirds of the United States are facing threats from nearly every type of severe weather: Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flooding rains, high winds, and blizzard conditions. Here's an overview based on the WeatherOptics Impact Risk Scores and RightRoute of what to expect over the next 24-48 hours.


NWS alerts across the US
More than 200 million people under NWS alerts

Major Cities and Freight Lanes Likely to See Worst Impacts


Major Cities Impacted in the Eastern United States:


New York City Metro Area: High risk of flooding due to heavy rains and rapid snowmelt to the north. Soil is already saturated and it won't take much rainfall to have flash-flooding. This could significantly impact transportation and logistics operations in one of the nation's largest cities. Impacts will begin this afternoon and peak overnight. Conditions could be dangerous at times. Road closures and cars/trucks stuck in flooded waters will be possible. Delays and disruptions to transportation are expected.


High wind gusts, especially to the east of the city and across Long Island and coastal CT, will bring the risk for power outages, toppled trees, and damage to infrastructure.


Flash flood potential across New York City
Timeline of potential flood impacts near New York City via the WO Flood Index

Philadelphia, PA: Similar to NYC, the Philadelphia Metro Area will face a serious flood threat. Several inches of rainfall in a short period of time, combined with oversaturated soil and snowmelt to the north, is a recipe for high impact. Conditions could be dangerous at times. Road closures and cars/trucks stuck in flooded waters will be possible. Delays and disruptions to transportation are expected.


High wind gusts, especially to the east of the city and along the NJ coastline, will bring the risk for power outages, toppled trees, and damage to infrastructure.


Washington DC & Baltimore, MD: Flash-flooding is also expected to be a major issue across the Mid-Atlantic portion of the I-95 corridor. A similar story with rapid snowmelt to the north, heavy rainfall, and oversaturated grounds, will make for a lower threshold of flash flooding. Conditions could be dangerous at times. Road closures and cars/trucks stuck in flooded waters will be possible. Delays and disruptions to transportation are expected.


High wind gusts, especially near the coastline and further east, will bring the risk for power outages, toppled trees, and damage to infrastructure.


Boston, MA: While flooding may not be as severe, there is still some risk for dangerous flash-flooding to occur. The focus across the Boston Metro Area and along the coast down to Cape Cod will be the high winds. Gusts of 60-65+ will be possible. Power outages, downed trees, and damage to infrastructure will be a concern.


Power outage risk near the Boston Metro Area
Power outage risk tomorrow night across southern New England

Freight Corridors Impacted in the Eastern United States:


I-95 corridor: The heavy freight corridor connecting the entire eastern seaboard is likely to be significantly impacted today from north to south. Across Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, flooding and high winds will be the main issue. Further south across the Carolinas, GA, and FL, severe thunderstorms could cause problems, including the threat of tornadoes.


I-40 corridor: Stretching from NC through TN and into AR, heavy rain, gusty winds, and some severe weather will be possible that could slow down transportation and cause isolated incidents.


I-81corridor: Running through the Appalachian Mountains from NY to TN, expected hazardous driving conditions at times with the potential for flash-flooding and strong winds.


I-90/I-84 corridors: These major east-west routes in the Northeast will see a combination of rapid snowmelt and heavy rainfall, especially across MA and CT. Flash-flooding will be a serious risk, and could cause dangerous driving conditions in the evening and overnight hours.


Extreme slowdowns and road danger along I-90
Heavy impact expected along the I-90 corridor as shown by RightRoute

Major Cities Impacted in the Southern United States:


Raleigh, NC: Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes will be possible later today near the Raleigh Metro area. The SPC currently has a significant risk for damaging winds and the potential for a few strong tornadoes.


Expect scattered issues to supply chain, transportation, and business operations. Where storms hit, they will be damaging. Operations should consider shutting down during the window with the highest risk of severe weather between 2 PM ET and 10 PM ET.


Savannah, GA: Severe thunderstorms will be the biggest threat to Savannah today with an Enhanced Risk in place by the National Weather Service. Damaging winds in excess of 70 mph along with a risk of tornadoes will be present. Heavy rainfall could also lead to some brief flash-flooding.


Expect scattered issues to supply chain, transportation, and business operations. Where storms hit, they will be damaging. Operations should consider shutting down during the window with the highest risk of severe weather between 1 PM ET and 7 PM ET.


Charleston, SC: Severe thunderstorm capable of producing tornadoes – and a few strong ones – will be a serious threat the Charleston in the afternoon and evening hours. Regardless, damaging straight line winds could gust as high as 70 mph.


Substantial impacts are possible to supply chain and business operations. Airports are also likely to be heavily impacted. Operations should consider shutting down during the window with the highest risk of severe weather between 3 PM ET and 9 PM ET.


Jacksonville, FL: Damaging straight line winds and the potential for tornadoes will be present across the Jacksonville Metro Area this afternoon and evening. Winds could gust in excess of 70 mph, along with possible flash-flooding from torrential rainfall.


Expect scattered issues to supply chain, transportation, and business operations. Where storms hit, they will be damaging. Operations should consider shutting down during the window with the highest risk of severe weather between 1 PM ET and 7 PM ET.


Tallahassee, FL: Significant risk of both tornadoes and strong damaging winds today. A few strong tornadoes are possible. Winds could gust as high as 70 mph during the peak of the squall line or during discrete thunderstorms.


Substantial impacts are possible to supply chain and business operations. Airports are also likely to be heavily impacted. Operations should consider shutting down during the window with the highest risk of severe weather between 9 AM ET and 2 PM ET.


Power Outage Index 24 hour loop
Model loop of expected power outages according to the WeatherOptics Power Outage Index

Freight Corridors Impacted in the Southern United States:


I-10 Corridor: From FL through LA , heightened severe weather will lead to isolated but significant issues. There will be a real threat for tornadoes and damaging winds that could be life-threatening to drivers.


I-20 Corridor: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia will have an elevated risk of tornadoes, heavy rains, and strong winds >70 mph. High danger potential for freight and commuters.


I-65 Corridor: Alabama, Tennessee, and into Kentucky will also see impacts from the potential severe thunderstorms, with an elevated tornado risk further south.


I-75 Corridor: Florida, Georgia, and states northward can expect the potential for severe thunderstorms, scattered flash-flooding, and an isolated tornado or two. Potential for accidents and disrupted transportation.


Life and Property damage 24 hour loop
Model loop of potential property damage according to the WeatherOptics Life & Property Index

Major Cities Impact in the Midwestern United States:


Omaha, NE: Heavy snow and gusty winds will begin to wind down later today, with snowfall totals in the 6-12 inch range for the area. Strong winds will lead to blizzard conditions at times. Travel will remain difficult with disruptions and delays expected even into the late afternoon and overnight hours.


Des Moines, IA: Heavy snow between 5 and 10 inches is expected for the metro region. Gusty winds will lead to blizzard conditions at times. Travel will be difficult to impossible through the early afternoon hours. Some roadways may close for periods of time, and there is a higher than normal risk of accidents.


Kansas City, MO: 2-4+ inches of additional snowfall is likely for the region, along with wind gusts of 25-40 mph at times. Blizzard-like conditions may continue through the afternoon and early evening hours, making travel hazardous.


Milwaukee, WI: Heavy snow will mix with rain at times, especially near the lake coastline. Lakeshore areas may see as little as 3 or 4 inches of total snowfall while areas further inland could see 10-12 inches. Winds will gust up to 35 mph at times. Morning and evening transportation will be heavily impacted.


Chicago, IL: Wet snow will continue into the early afternoon hours and could briefly become heavy. Low visibility and some gusty winds will lead to hazardous travel conditions, and may slow transportation and freight movement through the early afternoon hours. 3-5 inches of snow is expected.


Road conditions across the midwest
Expected road conditions Tuesday afternoon according to the WeatherOptics Road Index

Freight Corridors expected to see Severe Winter Storm Impacts in the Midwestern United States:


I-70 corridor: Potential for significant disruptions due to heavy snowfall and high winds – even as snow ends, blowing snow can lead to blizzard-like conditions at times with low visibility and a higher risk for accidents.


I-80 corridor: From Nebraska to Iowa, expect the potential for significant delays and an elevated risk of accidents and road closures due to high winds and heavy snowfall.


I-94 corridor: In Wisconsin, expect near blizzard conditions at times that will reduce travel speed and has the potential to lead to isolated accidents. Snow will be heavy and wet.


High impact weather along the I-80 corridor
Extreme transportation impacts Tuesday afternoon along I-80 as shown by RightRoute

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