When heavy snow, sleet and ice bog down transportation systems, causes vehicular accidents, strands automobiles and closes businesses, only proper planning can help to mitigate the impending related travel issues. Saia’s winter preparation is essential to the safety, efficiency and timeliness for our employees, equipment and terminals, as well as our customers and their freight.
It begins with our very own Saia employees. Our drivers are the most reliable source of communication when it comes to passing along weather and road condition updates. Combined with State Department of Transportation forecasts, live weather data, road/traffic cameras, and other internet sources, first-hand accounts between our drivers and terminals make for the best combination of information to strategize around. Communicating accurate and essential weather conditions allows terminals to make decisions such as whether to move freight out of a terminal that could be impacted by bad weather, or to hold it at another terminal.
Every bit of information is critical in making these decisions. However, Saia must first understand what it’s up against.
What did that weatherperson say?
Because the winter months can throw such a myriad of weather at us, it’s important to know exactly what you’re up against. What makes a blizzard a blizzard? What’s the difference between a watch, warning and advisory? Safety begins with knowledge, and we like to think our knowledge, in all situations, is part of what sets us apart.
Winter Storm Watch – Indicates severe winter weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible within the next day or two. Prepare now!
Winter Storm Warning – Indicates heavy snow (greater than 6”), heavy sleet (½” +) or a combination of winter weather hazards are highly likely or occurring. Stay indoors and adjust travel plans.
Ice Storm Warning – Heavy accumulations of ice will create extremely dangerous travel, damaged trees and likely cause extended power outages.
Blizzard Warning – Strong winds of 35 mph or greater will combine to produce blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts and life threatening conditions—especially for those that attempt travel.
Wind Chill Advisory – Dangerous wind chills of 15 to 24 degrees below zero.
Wind Chill Warning – Life threatening wind chills of 25 to 30 degrees below zero or colder.
Winter Weather Advisory – Indicates snow accumulation of 2 to 5 inches, or a combination of winter weather conditions, will cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous, especially to motorists. Use caution if you venture out.
Freezing Rain Advisory – Light accumulations of ice will cause hazardous travel.
How Saia prepares before a winter event
Having winter storm survival kits is important to the safety of our employees. Blankets, water, flashlights, batteries, cell phone chargers, shovels, ropes, tire chains and first aid kits are just some of the necessary items we have at the terminal in case of inclement winter weather.
Terminal preparation is essential to minimizing the impact caused by winter weather. Areas such as doors, windows, docks, bays and driving paths are cleared prior to snow accumulation.
Saia prepares travel routes, as well as alternate route plans, which could be the difference in keeping freight moving and having it delayed. This may also mean knowing when to stay off the road completely, as the safety of our drivers and your freight will always be first and foremost on our mind.
How Saia operates during a winter event
Monitoring road conditions is an on-going practice during winter weather. Saia drivers are constantly made aware of road conditions and asked to help evaluate highway safety. This information helps the company make the safest decisions regarding employees and customer cargo.
Monitoring facility conditions throughout a winter event can help establish and resolve situations of vulnerability. This also helps determine if freight should be held or moved.
Snow and ice removal from vehicles is not only a safety measure but a legal one as well. Saia ensures full compliance with local regulations pertaining to snow removal.
Operational updates are provided via the Saia website. Information regarding major weather impacts is provided as soon as it is made available to us.
If winter weather presents itself, Saia is prepared. With safety as our number one priority, Saia can be trusted to take the necessary measures to keep our employees, our equipment and your freight safe so that operations continue to run as efficiently as possible.
Visit Saia’s weather info page for current information on any delays and your local weather.