Heat and humidity are building up across several areas of the country, leading to good odds of truckers running into showers and thunderstorms. Storms could become particularly strong to severe in some places the next couple of days.


Severe storms will be scattered across two pockets of the country Tuesday — one in the Plains, the other in the Northeast.

Gusty winds, large hail and a few isolated tornadoes could impact drivers on the Interstate 25 and 90 corridors from Billings, Montana, to northeastern Wyoming, far northern Nebraska and Rapid City, South Dakota. Portions of northeastern Wyoming are also under red-flag warnings due to drought conditions. Winds could be gusty even in the absence of thunderstorms, increasing the chance for wildfires spreading.

In the Northeast, severe storms will develop in western New York, as well as parts of central and eastern Pennsylvania. This includes the Interstate 76, 81 and 90 corridors in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, New York, in addition to State College, Harrisburg and Allentown, Pennsylvania.


The bull’s-eye for severe storm development Wednesday will be in the Midwest, and the risk will be a bit higher than Tuesday’s in the previously mentioned regions.

Severe winds and large hail could be more widespread from eastern sections of South Dakota and Nebraska, including Omaha, to Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Des Moines, Iowa.

The National Weather Service classifies a thunderstorm as severe if it produces one or more of the following, based on radar or eyewitness reports:

• Winds of at least 58 mph.
• Hail at least 1 inch in diameter.
• A tornado.

Flooding potential

Severe storms the next couple of days could dump very heavy rain in fairly short periods of time, leading to flash flooding and possible road closures.

Monsoonal rains may cause flooding problems in Arizona and southern Utah, with flash flood watches in place Tuesday and Wednesday. This includes the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas. The Desert Southwest has been under a serious and  prolonged drought for quite some time, so just an inch or two of rain could not only cause flooding but also potential mudslides.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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