Major U.S. Snowstorms still on Track for Thanksgiving Week

November 25, 2019

As first reported by FreightWaves of Friday, Nov. 22, Thanksgiving week will look like Christmas week in many areas of the U.S. as two winter-like storms take shape. Heavy snowfall accompanied by gusty winds will make it tough for some holiday travelers and truckers to get home on time. The weather will likely slow drivers working through the holiday to earn those extra bucks. Shippers should expect fairly significant delays of road, rail and air cargo.

Storm No. 1

The first winter storm will strengthen as it moves over the northern and central Rockies from Monday, Nov. 25, into Tuesday, Nov. 26. A large area of heavy snowfall is likely from the mountains of northern Colorado and southern Wyoming eastward into western Nebraska and northwestern Kansas. The snowfall will begin in the mountains Monday afternoon, spreading into the Denver-Fort Collins area during the evening. Then, the storm will move across the rest of northeastern Colorado by about midnight. The snowfall will end from west to east during the day Tuesday. The heaviest snowfall will probably occur late Monday into the early morning hours Tuesday.
Storm totals of 6 to 12 inches will be common, with up to 24 inches possible in some foothills. Wind gusts of 35 to 50 mph will produce blowing/drifting snow, creating occasional whiteout conditions and very low visibility on the I-25 and I-70 corridors.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm warning for the region. FreightWaves SONAR shows several assets at risk of service disruptions, including Denver International Airport (ICAO code: DEN), Union Pacific Railroad (NYSE: UNP) and a few oil/petroleum facilities. These assets are indicated by the colored dots and “doughnuts” in the map above.

Storm No. 2

The focus for this storm is in the Western U.S. The NWS expects a low pressure system to strengthen as it approaches the California Coast on Tuesday, Nov. 26. Confidence is increasing that the low will strengthen and track into the Southern Oregon coast Tuesday, then move inland across the Sierra Nevada of eastern California and the Great Basin through Black Friday.

Storm No. 2 may also produce periods of very heavy rainfall. Flooding, mudslides and debris flows are possible in lower peak and valleys. Urban flooding is also possible in the San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas.

Besides travel issues, both storms could cause major disruptions in local and regional business and supply chain operations in the affected areas. Check chain laws here for the latest updates on winter driving. Whether you’re on the road or in the air, the FreightWaves staff hopes everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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Source: Freight Waves