Winter Storm Hits Transportation Grid

Hunker down and hope for the best. The newest winter storm to hit could prove a problem for our transportation grid and delivery of goods. Many store shelves have been hit hard with people stocking up on the basics of life in anticipation that the storm may stop them from reasonable travel. The best thing you can do when the roads are going to be this bad and have dire consequences is to prepare early and try to stay off the roads.

Easier said than done, but it is really better to not be on the roads when this extreme of a storm hits. Our nations goods travel by truck and rail, when this hard of a storm hits, much of the supply chain slows down to a crawl. I see many people stranded during winter when I travel our highways doing my daily work. I hope you all have some basic items with you when you do venture out.

When road systems are closed due to drifting snow, high winds and low visibility, it is not the time to be wondering if I have enough food to make it until the all clear signs are given. Truckers usually have extra supplies with them as their trucks are where they live and hibernate when roads are impassable. I have sat for days in a truck stop and rest area completely blocked in due to heavy snow or closed mountain passes. Think ahead like most of us do and have some extra supplies at hand for use. Basic food staples and dehydrated milk will get you through when you cannot go back to the store to get fresh food.

This time of year is tough for the trucking industry as a whole. The main staples for grocery stores have to be delivered and on time, there is a shelf life on much of those goods. Much of our food supply system is designed as “just in time” type freight or JIT. We are rolling warehouses, and folks depend on us to navigate through the worst that mother nature can dish out to be able to stock the stores so people can eat. When storms of this size hits, it puts a major wrinkle in the supply chain for all grocery distribution points.

Most larger area distribution centers will have a very large amount of stock on the shelves, but they still have to be loaded on trucks and driven to the individual stores for receiving and placing on the shelves. Snow removal problems in areas hard hit will effect this chain. It may slow or stop some shipments from getting through.

With this information in mind, it places emphasis on you, being prepared ahead of time and having some extra food and non perishable items you can prepare in case you cannot travel. Having some extra canned goods and other needed items like medicine and things you use on a regular basis will ease tensions.

Most of us who live in remote areas have preparedness down to a science. We stock up in advance and think ahead of what we will need and plan accordingly. My house looks like a small store, we live 84 miles round trip from a grocery. Planning ahead and having the basics is not new. When temperatures drop to sub zero, we can hibernate and ride the storm out.

I carry a lot of extra supplies on my truck, I have been able to cook in my small microwave aboard and eat fairly well for days. I was trapped in a rest area in Illinois some years ago, there were folks who did not have much, but my student and I ate just fine.  The vending machines are not very good at giving you what you need to be comfortable, so think ahead and have some survival rations with you.

When you see a lot of trucks traveling this winter, remember that they are just trying to keep you supplied with food for your local grocery. Give them a wave, with all fingers, and thank them if you can for braving the roads to keep you and your family fed this winter.

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