Posted on 01/20/22

How Severe Weather Affects Auto Shipment

How Severe Weather Affects Auto Shipment

It is not uncommon for severe weather to impact auto shipment.

Simply put, severe weather can cause havoc for unsuspecting shippers or carriers. It is more difficult to move things through bad weather than good, which can be detrimental to many businesses, even those that are not in the auto transport industry.

Hurricanes close entire cities. Flooding can make certain areas difficult to reach. Wildfires can close interstates or state highways, making it dangerous to travel near them. Ice does the exact same thing but in a different way. It freezes routes and poses a danger to drivers and loads.

These aren't freak events. The United States has many biomes, ranging from frozen tundras and scorched and barren deserts to temperate areas and tropical ones. Each biome has its own weather patterns and can have severe weather effects on auto shipping through it.

Take a look at the northern Great Lakes. Every winter, the lakes are subject to cold fronts that bring huge amounts of snow and/or ice. Inclement weather can affect cities like Buffalo, Detroit, and Cleveland. Did you remember the time Buffalo received 10 feet of snow in one year? That's not unusual.

Do you remember driving through snow 10 feet high? It's not possible, because roads are never clear when there is so much snow.

All of these events can cause carriers to freeze.

Winter weather, including lake effect snows

Let's get started with the topic we just discussed - snow, freezing, and other winter weather. Lake effect snow was only an issue in the Great Lakes. Winter weather can strike anywhere from the Pacific Northwest to Utah's steppes to the warm subtropics of the southeast.

Do you remember Atlanta snow? This was a very unique situation, as most residents of the area had never driven in snow. Bad things can happen when people don't prepare for the weather or don't know what to do.

Drivers, particularly car transporters, can be seriously affected by snow and ice. Although weight can be a benefit when it comes to maintaining traction on icy roads they are still very dangerous. Reroutes can be caused by major snowstorms or lake effect snows, especially if they happen suddenly.

It's very easy to predict and prepare for weather such as lake effect snow. Many carriers that serve the Great Lakes and the northern U.S. understand how to drive in snow and can prepare accordingly. This helps to reduce the number of auto shipments from and to the region in snowstorms because the carriers who frequent the region are more prepared and skilled to deal with the snow and ice.

This doesn't mean everything will go as planned. Sometimes pick-up and drop-off locations are not accessible, so you may need to meet them elsewhere. This can lead to delays, especially in larger areas that are too dangerous for carriers.

Tropical storms and hurricanes

Hurricanes and tropical storms can be prepared for, similar to lake effect snows. These storms are often caught early so most people will be able to prepare for them or evacuate if they do strike.

It is crucial to be able to forecast when a tropical storm or hurricane will make landfall. This has allowed us to build coastal communities without fear of mass death. Although property loss is still very severe, forecasting hurricanes in advance allows people to live in Florida while still being able to escape the next major hurricane.

This is fantastic. It can also inform carriers if they are going to be in an area about to be ravaged by a hurricane.

However, carriers must know if a hurricane is barreling towards Florida, Texas, or any other Gulf states (or eastern shore states at this point). Once they know this information, they must incorporate it into the routes they choose. They will avoid areas where they know that a hurricane is coming to Miami within the next week. Once the danger is gone, they'll travel there.

Tropical storms and hurricanes can cause severe damage to transport trucks and cargo. Many stories have been told about carriers being caught in hurricanes and losing all their cargo. This is a loss for their insurance. These dangers can be avoided by paying higher prices (risk vs. reward), having longer transit times, and shifting delivery dates.

Flash floods

These two do not necessarily weather in the sense that it rains or snows. They are still effects of severe weather. Flash floods often occur after heavy rains. This makes sense. They are unpredictable, unlike hurricanes and storms. This means that they can be more difficult to prepare for.

If they are traveling to areas where flash floods are possible, or if floods are expected, they will keep an eye on weather reports. Flash floods can be unpredictable but they are more common in areas that are vulnerable.

Flash floods can be dangerous as they can appear out of nowhere. If a vehicle transport truck is swept into one by floodwaters, it can cause massive flooding. They will avoid these areas as much as possible. Flood conditions can make it difficult to drive on roads with muddy surfaces and washouts. Don't be surprised when delays occur.

This is a common trend: severe weather equals delays. Carriers won't travel to areas where weather-related problems can cause severe damage to their vehicles. The same applies to hailstorms in the Midwest and Southeast - they will avoid them if possible.


Wildfires are the last weather-related catastrophe on our list. Wildfires can be devastating for anyone who lives in the west U.S.

Carriers won't drive into active wildfires, as it is not something that anyone wants. They'll still be far away, particularly if the fires become out of control. California's wildfire season, which is rapidly becoming the West Coast wildfires season, can cause hundreds of delays or even complete cancellations of shipments.

Even though they aren't near fires, this kind of smoke can cause damage to vehicles. The closer a carrier is to a fire, then the greater chance that ash or even burning embers will be picked up by the wind and dropped onto a customer's car.

Carriers will do their best to avoid flooding and fires. If your vehicle hasn't been dispatched, speak with your driver.

As you no doubt know, auto-shipments have a lot of moving parts. And because they have a lot of moving parts, different things will affect different shipments in different ways. Automobile shipping is less of a science and more of an art when it comes down to it. From the prices that are set to the timetables given, shipping cars is about the experience more than anything else.

On the whole, there are only so many things that will affect the prices that you see or the availability of carriers. Fuel prices, for instance, can make prices go up if they go up. The same goes for overall inflation, or if new regulations are passed making it harder for carriers to do their job.

These variables can’t be accounted for, much like severe weather events. Hurricanes, wildfires, flash floods, ice storms – the list goes on. Here in the U.S., we experience a lot of crazy weather, and that weather can impact auto shipments in a variety of ways.

In this post, we’re going to go over some of the most common inclement weather events how they can disrupt the car shipping industry, and what that might mean for you.

This will make it easier to weather these situations and better prepare for possible route changes or delays. This is the best thing anyone can do in such situations.

Move Car is here to help you weather any storm

Move Car understands how challenging inclement weather can be. We try to communicate as early as possible to let you know if weather conditions or factors could affect your shipment.

Give us a call if you are interested in shipping your vehicle to one of the most respected names in the business. We can provide a free quote for shipping any type of vehicle with wheels over the phone. To get a free shipping quote, you can also request a quote online for auto transport.

We can help you no matter what, where, or when you ship. Our 20-years of experience in shipping cars means we are well-equipped to help you get your car moved.