Hurricane Michael has made landfall with the Florida panhandle as a very scary Category 4. That is the second-highest category, with winds of 130 to 156 MPH. You can imagine what kind of damage that can do to buildings and highways, let alone a truck, so if you are in or near the Gulf Coast of Florida or Alabama, or anywhere in the path of the storm, PLEASE seek shelter and make safety your one and only priority. 

As we've said in the past, hurricanes usually affect freight movements in three stages: 

  1. Before the storm, if it is predicted in advance, shippers rush to move freight out of the way. Outbound rates rise sharply in the area where the storm is expected to make landfall. Michael is landing right after the close of a quarter, so rates were expected to rise last week anyway.
  2. During the storm, nothing moves in or out of the affected area. It's just not safe. FEMA and other organizations will be moving emergency relief supplies to locations just outside the storm zone, so they're ready to act as soon as roads are clear.
  3. After the storm is over, emergency supplies are brought in, and inbound rates shoot way up, at least for a while. Van and reefer freight move in first, followed by flatbeds hauling construction equipment and materials.


Hurricane Michael barreled toward the Gulf Coast, and made landfall today in the Florida panhandle. This map of expected wind speeds was published yesterday by the National Weather Service.

Flooding and power outages can snarl supply chains for weeks or even months after a major storm. If you want to help with relief efforts, contact the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN). They're already posting a list of needs, which usually includes trucks, other heavy equipment, and warehouse space.

The American Logistics Aid Network urges everyone to follow important guidelines before, during and after the hurricane

  1. Make personal safety a priority. Follow instructions promptly, to evacuate or to shelter in place. 
  2. Stay informed about road closures. Check with the Department of Transportation for FloridaAlabama, or Georgia, or call 511.
  3. Don't bring supplies to the area on your own. You might end up impeding relief efforts.

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Pat Pitz

Pat Pitz is the editor of the DAT Solutions freight broker newsletter. He has nearly 20 years experience as a professional writer and editor. Before joining DAT, he spent 8 years at a Portland advertising and public relations agency, where he wrote newsletters and other content for a variety of high-profile clients, including several in the trucking industry.

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