Omnitracs' Road Ahead blog

Our winter storm data findings

Pierre Sarnow
Pierre Sarnow
Lead Data Scientist

This February’s winter storms, impacting 100 million Americans, profoundly affected critical infrastructure and supply chain transportation in Texas, the South, and across the country.

At Omnitracs, we process hundreds of millions of vehicle events per day across North America, spanning different sectors, industries, and customer bases. Our customers rely on our breadth for accurate and reliable information to help keep their fleets safe and productive. But our insights also allow us to correlate these vehicle events with external data for additional insights. This week, we've analyzed how the winter storm has affected the South — particularly Texas, home of our headquarters — compared to the rest of the country and in relation to our industry. Here's what we found.

Daily over-the-road miles


The chart above analyzes how many long-haul, or over-the-road, miles were driven in Texas and outside of Texas. The freeze effect hit Texas harder than the rest of the country. When the storm hit hardest earlier in the week, power outages affected streetlights and signage, and major roadways were covered in snow and ice. There has also been a fuel shortage, with fuel deliveries resuming once road conditions improve.

Combined, these factors give more insight into the big dip in miles driven on February 14, preceded by a smaller drop on February 13. The February 14 dip in Texas and the rest of the U.S. show a strong contrast to the natural ebb and flow shown in the weeks prior. Most interestingly, we can see as miles driven dropped in Texas, they also dropped in the rest of the country. This is an indication of the national impact of the winter storm.

Here’s an in-depth look at the percent-drop numbers in Texas:

  • Feb 13: -30% from the previous Saturday
  • Feb 14: -58% from the previous Sunday
  • Feb 15: -51% from the previous Monday
  • Feb 16: -52% from the previous Tuesday

Regional map insights


Our map depicts the percent change by state between this current week's truck miles driven vs. the previous week's. Here, we can see how the storm deeply affected the South and, to a lesser extent, some of the neighboring states.

In terms of average miles driven, Louisiana saw the most significant drop, followed by Arkansas and Mississippi and Texas and Oklahoma. While South Dakota and Wyoming have not seemingly been as affected by the winter storm's effect on the South and the country, we can see that almost every other state saw some decrease in this week's miles. In this chart, we have a strong visualization of how transportation disturbances in one region of the country can potentially affect other areas.

The impact on sectors


This graph compares the current week's miles driven per sector in Texas vs. the previous week's. This graph is only a sample of the many industries impacted across the state. The transportation and warehousing sectors make up half of the total miles driven in Texas, so the 48% drop is a significant indicator of total economic impact.

The wholesale sector has been most affected, percentage-wise, and retail, manufacturing, and oil and gas have also been deeply impacted. These numbers emphasize the massive influence severe weather has on state economies. On a national scale, AccuWeather estimates that this winter storm will result in an economic loss of up to $50 billion.

Commercial and last-mile drivers have been braving this winter storm as best they can, and they — as always — will play pivotal roles in emergency relief, supply chain transportation, and economic recovery. We wish all the truckers and drivers safe travels, and we will keep sharing thoughtful insight for their benefit and yours on our Road Ahead Blog.