The Urethane Blog

Winter Storm Updates

Winter storms still stalling supply chains

Roads, airports, intermodal terminals remain closed

Nick Austin, Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist Follow on Twitter Thursday, February 18, 20210

Tractor-trailer on snowy Houston, Texas road on Feb. 15, 2021.
(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Updated 11:15 a.m., Feb. 18, 2021.

A second winter storm this week slammed parts of the South Wednesday. Several more inches of snowfall, along with some sleet and freezing rain, hit from Texas to the Tennessee Valley.

This storm will impact trucks, trains and ships from the Appalachians to New England Thursday and Friday. Besides road closures, some airports and intermodal terminals remain closed, and hundreds of thousands of people still have no electricity.

Roads

Roads are still covered in snow and/or ice in many states across the southern Plains, as well as the Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio valleys. Most issues and closures are on U.S. and state highways, and the I-10 Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has reopened. Still, additional road closures are possible the next couple of days, especially in the Northeast.

Runways

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Abilene Regional Airport (ICAO: ABI) in Texas is scheduled to reopen at 3 p.m. CT Thursday, and the Jackson International Airport (ICAO: JAN) in Mississippi is slated to reopen at 11 p.m. CT Friday. These times could change again, so keep checking the FreightWaves website and the FAA.

Rails

Widespread power outages across the South the past few days have caused cascading issues related to Union Pacific Railroad’s (NYSE: UNP) main line and terminal operations. It has also affected available water supply and other critical supply chain requirements such as fuel. Ongoing road closures may continue to impact the company’s ability to transport crews. The weather has also impacted train length and has frozen switches, reducing terminal productivity.

As conditions improve in some areas, several Union Pacific Railroad (NYSE: UNP) intermodal terminals will reopen Thursday at 8 a.m. in their respective local time zones. Others will reopen Friday at 8 a.m. Click here for more information.

Ports

According to its website, Port Houston’s public terminals and truck offices will remain closed Thursday. This is due to snowy and icy road conditions, and lack of power/water.

The APM Terminals gate at Port Elizabeth, New Jersey will be closed Thursday due to the impending winter storm. APM says any units in free time will be extended through Saturday.

Gate plans for Friday will be communicated via e-alert Thursday afternoon.

Power problems

As of 7 a.m. ET Thursday, more than 600,000 customers in Texas had no electricity, compared to about 4 million on Tuesday. Hundreds of thousands still have no power in Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Kentucky and West Virginia combined.

Forecast

Snow will linger Thursday in some places from western Texas to the Ohio Valley. However, snowfall will be spreading mostly across the Northeast, fading late Friday. Many areas will see 4 to 8 inches in total.

Snow will change to sleet and freezing rain along the I-95 corridor, from Washington to Boston. Some areas could see up to one half inch of ice buildup, leading to potential road closures and power outages.