High winds disrupting freight flows out West

Union Pacific Railroad held trains Tuesday

 By Nick Austin, Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist for freightwaves.com

Areas of the western U.S. have been battered by powerful winds the past few days, disrupting freight flows. Gusts reached 80 to 90-plus mph in parts of Montana and Wyoming.

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

According to a customer alert from Union Pacific Railroad (NYSE: UNP) on Monday, company officials held trains between North Platte, Nebraska, and Green River, Wyoming, due to high winds in southeastern Wyoming. UP said it was unsafe to operate the trains. Customers with shipments moving through these impacted areas can expect delays of between 36 and 48 hours.

Winds gradually subsided Tuesday night and early Wednesday but will pick up again later Wednesday into Thursday in southeastern Wyoming, as well as portions of Montana, Nevada and California.

Gusts will not be as strong but will still hit 50 to 70 mph in places like Great Falls and Cut Bank, Montana; Cheyenne, Laramie and Elk Mountain, Wyoming; the southeastern California deserts; in addition to the mountains around the Los Angeles and San Diego metropolitan areas.

SOAR ticker: OTVI

This will create a risk of rollovers for drivers on sections of I-10, I-15, I-25, I-40 and I-80, including the busy LA and Ontario, California, freight markets. They rank No. 1 and 5, respectively, regarding total amount of outbound volume, based on the latest data from FreightWaves SONAR. In other words, this is where a lot of loads are being offered by shippers to carriers, compared to the rest of the country. Drivers heading into these areas may run into temporary delays due to the challenging winds.

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