By Craig Daniels
Don’t be fooled by the warm days we encountered this winter. Tornadoes can develop from severe thunderstorms in warm, moist, unstable air along and ahead of cold fronts. This can make traveling a challenge in the springtime.
Also, springtime brings tornadoes and high winds at lower levels as the jet stream moves its loop back up into Canada. In the heartland, starting in Texas near Amarillo, tornadoes often spool up and travel northeast. The fronts often gain speed and velocity in Oklahoma, then continue through to Missouri and further. The storms can travel through the night after being warmed and energized by daytime warming. Keep an eye on the weather conditions as it is not uncommon to go from a bright and sunny morning to a thunderstorm by lunchtime.
Weather apps like My Radar and Fox News Weather can go a long way to alert you of bad weather conditions in front of you. XMRadio is a great source to find regular weather reports too.
While the Midwest is dealing with this, don’t forget strong storms form when cold air clashes with warm air. As we approach springtime, the cold in the mountains will continue. Mountain snow and wind are still a thing. Some of the most dangerous crashes in Wyoming happen in the spring when people believe that a few days of above-freezing temperatures mean the roads are no longer icy. The nighttime leads to roads refreezing wherever moisture lies. Temperatures in the low 30s are the most dangerous. The ice tends to be more slippery than sticky in the 30s because of the wet roads refreezing The winds alone can be a reason to be cautious about roads refreezing.
NASA Langley did some testing several years ago and found that a 50-mph wind will cause an empty dropped trailer to weather vane or slide on the sand pads sideways pivoting on the tandems. To my knowledge, no wind tunnel testing has ever been done on a combination vehicle with various wheel loadings, but some computer models have been done. This chart from Truckingtruth.com is a good one to use as a reference.
Springtime has some of the best sunrises and sunsets. The air is still fresh from being cleaned by snow and rain. Enjoy this magical time of year but always be hyper-vigilant of the changes it brings to travel conditions.
“Craig 10ring” Daniels is a Patriot Fleet driver with nine years for Crete/Shaffer/Hunt and over a million accident-free miles and 12 years of the road experience. Daniels is an Army veteran who went into heavy equipment repair after serving, and that led to almost 20 years of building roads by running asphalt plants, rock quarries, and paving crews. He has been led to help and guide others along the way in what he calls divine intervention. He has trained and mentored other Crete/Shaffer/Hunt drivers, helping new family members with policies and procedures unique to the company. Craig has been exposed to some special people who have taught and continue to teach him the force’s ways and is proud to call a few good friends he values and takes their knowledge to heart. You can nd Craig Daniels on TikTok at 10ringcraigdaniels or Instagram at Shaffer_Patriot_46135.