Cincinnati, Ohio to Pascagoula, Mississippi

This is an interesting route. I like I-65 because it passes through so many large cities that would otherwise be out of the way, like Louisville, Nashville, Birmingham and Montgomery. Also, the interstate leads to a quick drive, as we can expect to cover 756 miles in about 11 hours. It’s a long day, but definitely manageable in one sitting, cruising at a pace of 67.3mph.

Strong thunderstorms have strafed the southeastern United States today, including the first tornado watches of the year in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida, as well as some confirmed tornadoes and strong wind incidents. The storm is shifting out, though, with unbearably cold air billowing in, stretching from the Great Lakes straight down 65 to the Gulf. Some flurries at the back end of the wave are possible during the early part of the drive, from Cincinnati over to Louisville, but snow is possible overnight as far south as Nashville, so who know how bad traffic will be because of that. South of Nashville, the roads will probably be devoid of traffic,, as Alabamians will not want to be out when temperatures are below 4. Pascagoula won’t be warm by many standards, but it will be warmer than Cincinnati, and the sun should be out.


Snow stymies warm up

There have been a couple of stronger features that cycled through the center of the country in this past week, including one last weekend, and another just yesterday. Our forecast in Lawrence covered Monday and Tuesday, which fell between the two systems. Easy forecast, right? If only. Snow on the ground meant temperatures weren’t able to warm as much, and the snow that was able to melt reappeared as fog or haze. As a result, high temperatures were much cooler than expected and nobody really ended up with a very good showing. Forecast.io, however, was cooler than the rest, and claimed victory, becoming the first outlet to win twice this year.
Actuals: Monday, High 32, Low 27
Tuesday, High 35, Low 32

Grade: C-D

It’s easy to be a meteorologist in California!

I count 19 different types of watches, warnings or advisories on the map out of the NWS office in San Francisco, screen capped on Thursday afternoon. It’s not always a slam dunk to forecast in the Golden State!

Another round of wet weather impacting a part of the country with such an undulating terrain, especially in the winter is going to provide an opportunity for a whole slew of inclement weather.

Out of sorts

It’s a weird thing, when  high pressure moves in, but it brings about clouds and colder temperatures, but alas, that’s what happened early this week in Corpus Christi. Northeasterly winds riding the ridge diving into the area met the warmer Gulf waters, and a sheath of low overcast and Canadian air made Corpus Christi significantly cooler on Monday. The forecasts were all in the same range, with little separation from first to last, but it was  The Weather Channel who had the clear victory.
Actuals: Sunday, High 62, Low 45
Monday – High 53, Low 47

Grade: B

Lawrence, Kansas to Waco, Texas

Just to give some scale to the size of Texas, this drive is mostly a reverse of the trip we took a couple days ago, but it is a 5 hour shorter drive. It covers a mere 600 miles and we can do it all in one day, which couldn’t be said about the Corpus Christi to Lawrence drive. Expect a pace of 66mph, as we won’t be able to build speed on I-35, and slowdowns in Dallas and OKC will carry more weight. Reverse course!

First off, great timing taking this trip on Friday. A weak, miserable wave is moving out today, and a monster of a system is in pursuit, threatening to make eastern Kansas a snowy travel nightmare by the end of the day. Warm air will surge north from east Texas to east Kansas, and while skies will clear, they will be dotted by puffy cumulus clouds that signify some sort of updraft. Those clouds will grow and become more ominous in the mid to late afternoon, with winds becoming more brisk across the prairies. We should be south of Oklahoma City by the time some of those clouds turn to rain or thunderstorms, but fortunately, the front will be almost through DFW by the time things start up, meaning a dry arrival in Waco. Surprise! It might actually be as cold in Waco as it was in Lawrence when we left. If not colder. Thanks, cold front!

Mystery Mornings

It seems to be kind of hard to pin down what happened in Columbus, IN over the last couple of days. The nearby reporting station only reports between 6am and 10pm, missing the main period where freezing drizzle was forecast to happen, though some light snow reports were seen.

Wednesday: Light snow reported. High 33, Low 30.
Thursday: Rain reported. High 37, Low 32.
Forecast Grade: B-C

Winter Storm Set to Roar Through US

As the Government Shutdown rolls on into yet another day, the hard-working men and women of the NWS continue to show up and doing their job diligently, and we couldn’t be more thankful for that than a time like the next 3 days. A massive winter storm is taking shape over the Western US and will affect everybody from the Central Plains to the New England states. A northern branch of energy will bring snow to the Dakotas and Upper Midwest, then it will link up with the main area of low pressure ejecting out into the Plains, then start racing eastward over the weekend. Areas of heavy snow are expected from IA/MO/IL through the OH Valley into the Northeast and ultimately into New England on Sunday. Behind all of this will be the first significant push of Arctic air into the Eastern US as well, as MSP may finally see a sub-zero temperature for the first time this season, but not before breaking the all-time record for latest such reading on record (Jan 18th is the record, accomplished in 2012, 2002, and 1889). Places in New England could be reporting snow by the foot by the time it shifts out late Sunday. Here’s a look at the current string of watches and warnings issued by the NWS, who no doubt have their hands full this weekend. We appreciate you!

Waco, Texas

We’ve taken a hard look at the center of the country lately, and that continues with this exploration of Texas.

At 951AM, CT, Waco was reporting overcast skies with fog and a temperature of 50 degrees. A moisture rich return flow was feeding into a very weak trough sliding through the Plains. There weren’t any surface triggers available to help produce a shower or thunderstorm that might clear things up, so Waco and most of East Texas look to be in for a drizzly, bleak Wednesday, which will probably spill into Thursday morning. 
Surface low pressure will shift off to the east through Thursday evening, but it won’t cycle in any colder clearer air to scour the moisture out of central Texas, and continued clouds and haze will continue to be a possibility through the day. Another, stronger system will descend out of the Rockies into the Colorado Plains, with more aggressive circulation and a swifter drop in pressure. Waco will be in the warm sector, and will appreciate a swift warm up on Friday, with the potential for thunderstorms in the afternoon. 
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, High 65, Low 49
Friday – Warmer, with thunderstorms in the afternoon High 70, Low 45

TWC: Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 67, Low 51
Friday – Cloudy in the morning, then thunderstorms developing later in the day. Gusty winds and small hail are possible High  68, low 45

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy High 68, Low 50
Friday – Thunderstorms, some severe; storms can bring downpours, large hail, damaging winds, and a tornado High 69, low 46

NWS: Tomorrow Patchy fog before noon. Otherwise, mostly sunny High 64, Low 50
Friday – A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly after 1pm. Mostly cloudy, High 69, Low 49

WB: Tomorrow – Patchy fog in the morning. Mostly sunny, High 64, Low 52
Friday – Mostly cloudy. A slight chance of showers in the morning. Then a chance of showers in the afternoon. High 65, Low 45

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 68, Low 51
Friday – Mostly clouidy with scattered storms, High 71, low 49

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy throughout the day.
Friday – Breezy starting in the afternoon, continuing until night, and light rain starting in the evening. High 71, Low 48

Interesting to see the Weather Service and WeatherNation diverge so greatly. Also, Accuweather is bringing the drama! Here is the murky looking satellite

Springfield, Massachusetts to Columbus, Indiana

Today we embark on a 2-day, 876-mile trip from Western MA to central IN. There’s been a lot of talk about a storm system hitting the region, can we get the trip in before it stops us in our tracks?

Day 1

It will be a fairly nice start to the day and mostly sunny skies greet us as we embark southward out of Springfield into CT then eventually heading west on I-84. Clouds will increase throughout the day as we trek through southeastern NY and into PA. There’s a slight chance a few flurries could linger in the air as we pass by State College and into western PA, but the system responsible for that will have mostly passed on to the north, leaving some overcast skies in its wake. Fairly quiet conditions are expected for the evening as we pull into Youngstown, OH for the night

Day 2

An area of weak low pressure will be making its way through the OH Valley today. While the start of the day will just be cloudy, we can expected to see some light snow start to fall by the time we make it past Mansfield into the Columbus, OH area. While we may be happy to see THAT Columbus, we must trudge onwards on I-71 since we have a little ways to go yet. Luckily for us, snow showers will changeover to rain midday, making the rest of the drive wet, but not as treacherous as the start of the day was. Rain showers should start to taper off as we pass by Cincinnati and eventually into Columbus, IN!

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