The last few weeks have brought natural disaster to a couple parts of our country. Louisiana is recovering from historic flooding around Baton Rouge and California is dealing with six major fires at the time of this writing. Truckers must keep informed of these fast changing situations. These disaster areas also include very busy interstates and direct corridors to huge population centers. The normal logistical flow is degraded significantly with the closure of roads and the addition of hundreds of extra trucks deploying with relief and recovery supplies.
The “Blue Cut” fire is the most concerning because it’s burned over 37,000 acres and it’s only 25% contained. Interstate 15, a major corridor into southern California from Interstate 40, Las Vegas and beyond has been closed in certain areas because of this fire. Sadly, many homes and businesses have been destroyed.
At the height of the Louisiana flooding, two interstates were closed – Interstate 10 and 12. They run parallel to each other around Lake Pontchartrain. The mighty Mississippi River flows through Baton Rouge, so this flooding was a major disruptor in east-west travel. There are not that many bridges over the Mississippi River. Trucks were diverted to Interstate 20, which was a considerable distance out of the way.
It is very important to keep abreast of the significant events around the country. Many times these breaking news stories affect our industry. Whether it is natural disasters or major weather events, trucking is affected in some way. Special attention to news and weather sources are imperative in keeping drivers and equipment safe. Raging wildfires and rapid flooding can cause imminent danger in the blink of an eye.
Twitter is an excellent information source for current traffic information. I think most states have a "511" traffic account that gives up to date information on road closures, crashes and detours. I've used these resources on numerous occasions to learn when traffic problems have cleared up. In areas of disaster, resources like these are invaluable in determining your next move.