At Beaver Express Service in Woodward, Okla., near the state’s panhandle, company president Mike Stone spent most of last week trying to figure out which of his terminals, scattered across six states, could reopen after a record-breaking blizzard buried them.
The massive storm, which started in New Mexico and Texas on Jan. 31, paralyzed Oklahoma and shut down Interstate 70 in Missouri on Feb. 1 before crossing the Great Lakes states into the Northeast.
By midweek Feb. 2, the sun was out over Stone’s Beaver Express office and the 50-mph winds had died down, but temperatures were still south of zero and the snow that idled his 300 trucks made many roads impassable.
“Yesterday, shutting down the entire company, that’s the first time that’s happened that I can remember in . . . forever,” Stone said last Wednesday.
He is the third generation of his family to run the LTL carrier. “It was so bad everywhere that we just couldn’t operate.”
Interstate 70, the major freight artery between Kansas City and St. Louis, did not reopen until 6:30 a.m. Feb. 2.
Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn dispatched the National Guard to transport state troopers in Humvees to reach motorists and truckers on the Illinois Tollway.
In northern Ohio, where 14 inches of snow and ice covered the roads Feb. 1 and 2, officials restricted highways to emergency use and large employers closed.