Strong to severe thunderstorms will drench portions of the Plains and Midwest over the next few days, leading to potential delays for truckers.

Drivers are most likely to experience flash flooding in the Houston metropolitan area, as well as places to the west of the city along Interstate 10 heading toward San Antonio. The National Weather Service (NWS) has a flash flood watch posted for these areas. According to the NWS, some spots in the Houston area received 4 to 12 inches of rain Monday, after downpours for several days prior. With a saturated ground and swollen waterways, it won’t take much more rain to produce additional flooding and possible road closures.

Thunderstorms could turn severe Tuesday in places from the Texas Panhandle to Wisconsin. Look for scattered areas of large hail, sudden intense wind gusts and isolated tornadoes.

The threat for severe storms Wednesday stretches from the Texas Panhandle to western Iowa, southern South Dakota, as well as eastern parts of Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. Severe storms could also spread into the Northeast, including Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Upstate New York, Hartford, Connecticut, and northern New England.

By Friday, the focus for severe storms may shift back to the Plains, from Texas to the mid-Mississippi Valley. This would include cities like Dallas-Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, Kansas City and St. Louis.

Impact on freight

The latest FreightWaves SONAR data shows medium to high levels of freight available for carriers in markets that may be hit with severe storms. This is shown by the Outbound Tender Volume Index Weekly Change (OTVIW), an index of electronically tendered volumes on a given day.

(Map: FreightWaves SONAR Outbound Tender Volume Index Weekly Change (OTVIW). To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

Markets shaded in blue indicate areas with elevated levels of outbound loads being offered by shippers to carriers over the past week. These are some of the places where drivers are most likely headed to pick up freight, leading to tighter capacity.

Other notable weather

Watch out for windy conditions Tuesday from the Dakotas into Minnesota. Driving could be dicey at times with gusts reaching 45 to 50 mph. Winds will be from the west, so crosswinds will be an issue on Interstate 29 in the Dakotas, as well as Interstate 94 in Minnesota. These highways are oriented north-south. Since I-90 and I-94 are oriented east-west in the Dakotas, drivers will hit either a headwind or tailwind.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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