Stranded and Diverted: How Extreme Weather Disrupted Deliveries Across the West Coast

While this has been one of the oddest winters in recent memory for Michigan, our snowfall troubles pale in comparison to the mountain snow and high winds that were experienced in the Western part of the United States. This has been especially true in Wyoming, one of many states on the I-80 highway that we use to deliver shipments to the West Coast. While closures occur during the winter months, this year there has been a large uptick in the number of closures, including a period where the interstate was closed indefinitely which left drivers stranded for days with no safe route out of the area. 

Extreme wind has been the primary culprit, since it doesn’t take much snow to create drifts that make a highway impassable, even on the interstate. On top of that, wind gusts of over 50 mph cause an extreme risk of semis toppling over, especially if they don’t have enough weight loaded in their trailers. While I-80 is one of the main veins to the West, many trucks have had to be diverted to I-90, I-70 or I-40. However in the month of February there was a period when all four of these major highways were closed due to high winds. We here at Zip Xpress were able to make deliveries, but only by sending trucks all the way to Interstate 10 which had our trucks going through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in order to make deliveries in California.

Heavy snowfall in the mountains has also made travel extremely hazardous where at one point meteorologists were begging people to stay off of mountain roads. During the winter there is a section of the road called Donner’s Pass and it’s the only place trucks can drive through in order to get into Northern California. Yet Donner’s pass has been experiencing record snowfall, even to the tune of 44 inches in one day back on March 1st. (For those who may be curious, a link to their snowfall tracker can be found here) This pass can close at a moment’s notice due to high winds or heavy snowfall, creating a maze through the mountains that carriers must navigate through in order to keep their drivers, equipment and freight safe from the weather.

While Zip Xpress is able to divert our fleet to other interstate highways in order to get shipments to their destination on time and undamaged, we must also keep in mind the safety and well being of other drivers as they try to navigate this winter environment. Just because the weather doesn’t look bad outside our window doesn’t mean that another part of the country isn’t experiencing rough weather conditions that drivers must navigate in order to make their deliveries. The safety of a driver is far more important than the contents of a shipment, especially when storms are hitting harder than ever.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of getting your shipments to their destination on time and undamaged, even in the midst of turbulent weather conditions. It’s why we devised our storm diversion solution which utilizes alternative routes that avoid road closures and harsh weather conditions. It allows us to reliably deliver all of our shipments on time, no matter what. To utilize this solution or see what other solutions we can offer you, start today with Zip Xpress!