CLIVE, Iowa — Semi truck drivers familiar with Love’s Travel Stop along I-80 and Hickman say typically on an evening you can find two dozen trucks lined up waiting for gas. A near-deserted area shows most drivers paid heed to the caution of recommendations against driving in these high winds and staying Wednesday night parked in the lot.
“I’m like real nervous because I have to go to South Dakota to put it back in the shop but I will not chance it at all. Better safe than sorry. I wanna see my family,” said DJ who is a truck driver from Las Vegas, Nevada.
Brian Clevenger is a truck driver from Lubbock, Texas and chose to stay off the roads. He said, “You get 30-40 mph winds and I’ve had trailers come up off the ground going around a curve just rolling up the wheels.”
Merrill Still has been a truck driver for 52 years and is from Kellerton, Iowa. Still was hauling meat to Missouri and hoped to get as far as he could despite the winds. He said, “I’m gonna go through it. It’s not too bad just slow down.”
DJ explained just how tough the winds can be when they reach the expected 60-70mph range, “It’s like a kite. You try to get the kite up and the wind just blows it around.”
Clevenger took the dangerous winds into account and began his journey early before spending the night in Iowa. “I got up at 2 am to get ahead of this storm because I knew the wind was coming.” Still added, “If you are getting in the ditch and they are picking your freight out of the ditch two days later you could have been there. Freight in the ditch don’t do anybody any good. Slow down take your time.”
DJ was happy to make a pit stop in the Des Moines metro and wait things out. “I could have chanced it. I had confidence but I didn’t want to do that and fight the wind. You can’t beat mother nature that’s a given,” said DJ.
Because of the National Weather Service warning of high winds for the state of Iowa, the Iowa DOT has restricted overweight and oversized permitted vehicles from traveling. The ban began at noon Wednesday and continues until 30 minutes before sunrise Thursday.