Hot shots: whiteouts, floods, frozen roads, etc.

Every Friday, FreightWaves reviews the past week or so on social media, highlighting images of trucking, transportation, and weather. This week, visibility will be zero due to northeastern storms, flooding of Washington’s interstate highways, and truck accidents on frozen northwestern mountain roads.

Evil whiteout

Earlier this week, lake-effect snow struck part of the northeastern interior. The persistent cold air flowing over the relatively warm waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario helped the rapid buildup of snow, primarily in northern New York. The highest amount of 11-18 inches, which is the buried part of Lewis County.

The wind was very gust and resulted in a period of whiteout. Blowing and drifting snow produced zero to near-zero visibility, especially in the Taghill region, east of Lake Ontario, north of Oneida Lake, and west of the Adirondack Mountains.

Water, water everywhere

Mother Nature has not been kind to the Pacific Northwest for the past few months. Part of the region was devastated by flood rains, especially from mid-November to early December. Floods caused landslides and road closures, primarily from northern Washington to British Columbia, Canada.

Related: British Columbia’s truck industry “hit” by historic floods

It has been raining even harder since last weekend, with 4.5-7 inches of rain in places such as Hoquiam and Quileute. Highwater, as well as part of Interstate 5 in Chehalis, Washington, sometimes blocked many local and state roads. This is about 30 miles south of Olympia, where the Chehors and Newaukum rivers meet. The next rain should continue until Sunday and Monday.

Ice is not always so good

One of the storms that flooded the northwest created even more dangerous weather in the mountains. Part of the Cascade Range in western Washington was hit by icy rain on several roads.

Ice-bearing rain falls as a liquid in the lower atmosphere and icing when it comes in contact with a surface below 32 degrees Celsius. This occurs when a layer of warm air develops over the frozen layer of the ground. When the temperature rises through the layers of the atmosphere, as in this case, it is called a “reversal”.


Earlier this week it became very cold at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire, where employees had a hard time eating breakfast. The temperature at sunrise on Tuesday was around 30 degrees below freezing. This caused the rest of the employee’s spaghetti to freeze almost instantly.

According to National Weather Service records, the official minimum temperature for the morning was 31 degrees below zero, which was also the coldest temperature recorded for the day across the Americas.

Beauty shot

This week’s beauty shots feature a gorgeous lenticular cloud above the Beatus Mountains in southern Montana. These clouds, which look like lenses or flying saucers, are usually formed where stable, moist air flows over mountains and mountains. In this case, a series of large standing waves can occur on the leeward side of the mountain.

The temperature at the top of the wave Dew point, Moisture in the air may condense to form a lenticular cloud. As the moist air returns to the valley of the waves, the clouds can evaporate and return to steam. Therefore, lenticular clouds can appear and disappear relatively quickly.

Click here for more Freight Waves articles by Nick Austin.

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