Weather impacts travel, and truck drivers are in the middle of it. In 2003, Covenant Transportation reported several accidents. Jonathan Hunter says the company took the advice of Chief Meteorologist Paul Barys years ago, who suggested they quit relying on sensors and start relying on driver observations.
"You know if you can't figure it out from the sensors, talk to the last guy who came through, so he is owed some credit for helping to shape our idea of how weather can help our truck drivers out on the road," states Meteorologist Jonathan Hunter, who talks about Barys.
Meteorologist Jonathan Hunter is now on staff and has been for nearly 9 years. He predicts conditions so drivers can safely make their deliveries and be home for the holidays. His day starts at 6:00 am.
"We find right in that 6:00 am to 9:00 am hour, that is prime time for dangerous conditions on the roads," Hunter adds.
Most drivers travel in teams, so they can stay on the road overnight. That makes it tricky when temperatures drop.
Hunter sends out emails and alerts to drivers when there is inclement weather. With several inches of rain expected this busy holiday week, Hunter says drivers will be ready, but he isn't expecting local delays.
"This area is prone to a little bit of flash flooding, and we have had some problems getting in to keep business open," states Hunter.
Two years ago, Christmas day brought major flooding after 10 inches of rain fell during the month of December. Covenant has added two weather coordinators since then to help Hunter during the busy holiday season. Their focus right now is on the Pacific Northwest.
"Specifically an area of Montana is taking a lot of snow, we want to make sure we stay on top of that because our biggest concern is snow and ice," Weather Coordinator William LaRowe states. Thousands of Covenant trucks will hit the road from now until New Years, with routes including Nashville to Chattanooga to Atlanta, and Hunter will be watching.
Covenant Transportation Group is located at 400 Birmingham Highway in Chattanooga and serves 48 states.
Have a weather-related story idea? Feel free to email Meteorologist Brittany Beggs.