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Record-Breaking Snowstorm Trudging Through Plains

Record-Breaking Snowstorm Trudging Through Plains

The snowstorm that pounded Montana and Wyoming yesterday will continue its journey across central portions of North and South Dakota today, October 10. It will produce several inches of additional snowfall through tonight in places like Bismarck, Minot, Pierre and Rapid City.

What to Expect

Rain, with pockets of freezing rain and sleet, will gradually change to snow in eastern sections of the Dakotas and western Minnesota late this afternoon into tonight. The snow will keep falling through at least Saturday as the low pressure system responsible for the snow stalls over the region, dumping a record-breaking 10 to 25 inches in Grand Forks, East Grand Forks, Fargo and many surrounding towns.

These areas, on average, have seen no more than an inch of snow on a given early October day. For example, the daily record snowfall for today in Bismarck was 2.3 inches in 1959, and for Dickinson was 0.4 in 1932. The forecast for today calls for two to four inches in Bismarck and one to two inches in Dickinson. Bismark's record record for the snowiest month of October was 23.7 inches in 1991; for Dickinson it was 33.8 in 1995.

SONAR Critical Events: Snowstorm outlook as of Thursday, October 10, 10:00 a.m. EDT

The predicted three-day totals for this storm will rival those of the blizzard that hit this region on March 2-5, 1966. Many parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota were slammed with 20 to 30 inches of snowfall, setting new single storm records. News accounts vary, but unfortunately around 20 people died in the storm.

Besides producing super-slick surfaces, the current storm will also whip up powerful wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph, leading to blowing snow, blizzard/white-out conditions at times, and power outages. Downed trees and power lines could lead to radblocks lasting for at least 24 hours. Driving on I-29, I-90, I-94 and surrounding secondary routes will be downright dangerous and risky for truckers.

Still on track for significant, and potentially historic, October snowfall across North Dakota, with as much as 1 to 2 feet of snow and isolated heavier totals. Significant travel disruptions, power outages, and impacts to agriculture and livestock are all anticipated.

— NWS WPC (@NWSWPC) October 10, 2019

This storm will also cause significant disruptions to several oil facilities and international airports in the region, indicated by the red dots and "doughnuts" on the FreightWaves SONAR Critical Events map above. These represent a forecasted "High" risk of disruptions; orange represents a "Medium" risk. Shippers should expect delays on the ground and in the air due to this major snowstorm.

Winter Storm Warnings and Watches from the National Weather Service remain posted across the region into the weekend.

Other weather today, October 10

A cold front extending southward from the snowstorm will produce severe thunderstorms from Dallas and Wichita Falls, Texas to Omaha and Des Moines. Watch out for areas large hail, destructive winds, flash flooding and isolated tornadoes.

SONAR Critical Events: Severe thunderstorm outlook for Thursday, October 10

A low pressure system off the New England coast will produce periods of heavy rain, strong winds and coastal flooding from Long Island to Bridgeport, Boston, Nantucket and Cape Cod.

Additional notes

Supply chains will continue to be impacted by planned power outages across a large portion of California. Pacific Gas & Electric Company (NYSE: PCG) has shut off electricity to around 800,000 customers since yesterday. The decision was based on the extreme threat of wildfires due to very dry, windy weather from Santa Barbara and Bakersfield northward to Redding. This includes the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento metropolitan areas. The power outages may linger into Friday, October 11.

SONAR Critical Events: California power outages

A section of Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) rail is out of service in Missouri between Moberly and Kansas City because of logjams and debris strikes to the Grand River bridge in Brunswick, Missouri. Shippers operating through this area should expect delays of at least 48 to 72 hours.

Some lanes and ramps of the I-10 bridge over the San Jacinto River are still closed. This is just east of Houston and is due to damage during last month's flooding from Tropical Storm Imelda. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, repairs may not be finished until early 2020.

Tropical update

Super Typhoon Hagibis is still moving slowly northward through the Philippine Sea. Its maximum sustained winds are still 160 mph. Although Hagibis may lose some steam by the weekend, it should be taken seriously.

SONAR Critical Events: Super Typhoon Hagibis on Thursday, October 10, 8:00 a.m. EDT

Hagibis may still pose a threat to Japan, possibly making landfall near Tokyo Bay on Saturday, October 12. Sustained winds at that time could be as strong as 100 mph, with higher gusts. This would have a significant impact on major seaports and airports in the region. Shippers should keep track of Hagibis and expect delays of possibly a few days, at the least, depending on exactly how the storm pans out. Look for more updates through the remainder of the week on the FreightWaves website and social media accounts.

Have a great day, and be careful out there!

Image Sourced from Pixabay

Posted-In: Freight Freightwaves snowstorm trucking weatherNews Markets General


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