Dangerous Weather Conditions Reach Eastern U.S.
Truckers travelling throughout the Eastern U.S., particularly those east of the Mississippi River, should be wary of potentially dangerous weather conditions in the week ahead. For the last week, there have been heavy rains falling in states including Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. Due to the storms, some areas received several inches of rain, which has poured into the Mississippi River and created flash flood warnings.
Flash flooding has occurred as of Monday morning, June 7, 2021, but the National Weather Service has added Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas to the list of affected regions. Truckers who will be going through these parts of the country should stay careful, alert, and follow the recommended safety guidelines to ensure their safety.
For the second half of the week, heavy rain will finally move away from these waterlogged areas, heading northward. Portions of the middle Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee valleys, as well as the Northeast, will get drenched late Tuesday through Friday. There’s a chance of localized flash flooding in these areas too, including places such as Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee; Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; Indianapolis; Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia; Baltimore; Washington; as well as most of Virginia and North Carolina.
Locally-intense thunderstorms could produce severe winds, large hail, and isolated tornadoes on Monday from the Dakotas and northern Minnesota to Texas and the Ark-La-Tex region. This also includes the Denver and Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan areas. The severe threat on Tuesday will mainly be from the Dakotas to Montana, eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska.
According to the Center for Disease Control, "Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard [...] over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in cars swept downstream."
Because it has been raining in such high amounts the last few days, the ground is saturated, meaning the soil is full of water already. Any extra will run off and lead to flash floods more quickly than you would expect.Truck drivers should aim to avoid unsafe storm and flood conditions at all costs.
A Dallas water rescue team that is currently on standby for people who get caught in the waters has these important safety tips for driving through heavy storm or flood regions:
- Check your route before you get in the car for any closures; avoid being on your phone while driving.
- As the rain picks up, slow down and drive with caution (hazard lights are not necessary).
- If you see any water on the road, take an alternative route or wait it out; often areas can clear up in an hour or two.
- Water as shallow as 20 to 24 inches can swamp your car in a matter of seconds and sweep you away. It's dangerous even for people in a large truck or SUV.
For more information, visit the NWS website here and make sure to consistently keep watch on the weather reports. Drive cautiously and put your safety first!