Modesto, California to Kankakee, Illinois

Up, up and away once again. We won’t be covering the entirety of the United States with this trip, merely stopping 2/3 the way, in Kankakee. It will take us 4 days to cover 2125 miles, which means an hourly pace of about 65mph, leading to the three leading days being through after about 520 miles, leaving the change for Tuesday. Let’s climb the mountains and make our way east.

DAY ONE (Saturday)
There is a large system moving into the northwestern United States, and San Francisco Bay will be seeing some rain and wind by the time we hit the road tomorrow. This will follow us through the Sacramento Valley, but will really be tapering off by the time we reach Sacramento itself. The Sierras look good, and we will be dry through western Nevada, There will be some mountain showers and storms, but many are focused near Salt Lake City, which is too far east for our Sunday goal. Instead, dry weather, fairly warm, to be sure, will allow us to camp in an RV or tent around Deeth, Nevada, with no fear of rough weather.

DAY TWO (Sunday)
Guidance suggests a long stream of showers from the Baja to the Canadian Prairies with little variation from this swath. Expect it to be dry through Salt Lake City, with some rain chances picking up as we climb into the mountains. The best shot at rain will be from Summit Peak, east of Salt Lake, to Rock Springs Wyoming. It will dry out quickly on the way east, before we stop in what should be a quiet Walcott, Wyoming.

DAY THREE (Monday)
Strong surface low pressure will be developing in the far northern Plains as we head east, but won’t emerge far enough into the Plains to make too much of an impact. The boundary extending from local pressure minima in Saskatchewan and eastern Colorado will run through the North Platte area, bringing some fluffier clouds, and perhaps a stray shower (which, in this part of the world could always entail some thunder as well). Anything we see will be brief, which is fantastic news, and we will press onward to York in hot, sticky late August air.

DAY FOUR (Tuesday)
Guidance isn’t 100% sure, but it definitely seems possible that the drive through Iowa will remain dry, but with temperatures warm and the atmosphere soupy, it’s entirely possible that some lifting parcels breach the cap, and there could be a stray thunderstorm throughout the Hawkeye State. Northern Illinois will be even moister, which means more instability, so don’t be surprised to see a little more stratiform rain mixed in with the thunder. There will still be more sun than rain, and generally speaking, those school buses we pass as we arrive when we get to Kankakee will be upset they spent the whole day in school.

Kankakee, Illinois

Hey, I’m back! It’s been a while, which is pretty strange, I guess. Off to northern Illinois for my first forecast of the week.

At 915PM, CT, Kankakee was reporting clear skies and a fairly muggy 68 degrees. A sharp but rapidly diminishing wave moving through the Upper Midwest was responsible for the moisture across the region, and was producing a persistent swath of rain northwest of a line from the Quad Cities to Rockford. Expect a dry night for Kankakee for tonight, however the trough will get folded into a weak upper level perturbation and begin to shift eastward tomorrow afternoon.
The boundary will work its way through northern Illinois tomorrow, which may lead to a stray shower or thunderstorm, though widespread precipitation is not anticipated. The shear associated with the trough will deteriorate, and a weak ridge in the Appalachians will lead to the remnant energy to stall in the western Great Lakes and lower Ohio Valley. This will mean a mostly cloudy Sunday, but with cold air not available, it should remain rather stuffy.
Tomorrow – Scattered showers, with an isolated thunderstorm, High 80, Low 63
Sunday – Mostly cloudy, but warm, High 84, Low 63

TWC: Tomorrow – Scattered Thunderstorms, High 81, Low 61
Sunday – PM Thunderstorms, High 86, Low 62

AW: Tomorrow – Rather cloudy with a shower or thunderstorm around High 79, Low 62
Sunday – Humid with variable cloudiness High 85, Low 64

NWS: Tomorrow – Scattered showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 4pm. Cloudy High 79, Low 63
Sunday – A 20 percent chance of showers after 1pm. Partly sunny, High 83, Low 64

WB: Tomorrow – Cloudy. Chance of showers until late afternoon…Then a chance of showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms late in the afternoon. High 79, Low 63
Sunday – Partly sunny. Chance of light showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 83, Low 64

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly Cloudy with Scattered Showers High 79, Low 63
Sunday – Partly Cloudy with Isolated Showers high 82, Low 64

FIO: Tomorrow – Light rain starting in the afternoon. High 83, Low 63
Sunday – Rain throughout the day. High 85, Low 69

It will be interesting to see how much of that lingering moisture actually hangs on for Sunday. I suspect with temperatures warming, the cap will be strong. Take a look at the current radar, with all the rain to the northwest.

The Week Ahead 8/30/15 – 9/5/15

It’s a relaxed week ahead, which means we will be able to look closely at the news of the weather world, including what Erika has in mind for the coast.
Sunday – Prescott, Arizona
Friday – Road Trip from Racine, Wisconsin to Barnstable, Massachusetts
Saturday – Barnstable to Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Yakima, Washington to Modesto, California

Today we embark on a tour of sorts of the West Coast! This is a 728-mile trip that will be split up into two days. Perhaps a hearty family could make the trip in a single day, but that would be a LONG day, and who really wants to only spend one day looking at the beauty of the mountains?!



A cloudy start to the day is expected as a frontal system approaches the Pacific Northwest, bringing rain to the coastal areas and the Cascades, but isn’t quite able to make it over the mountains to our route southwards out of Yakima down into Central Oregon. That will kind of be the theme for today: cloudy, but dry. Not too many problems are anticipated as we make our way into CA and finish our day In Redding.


Some rain showers are possible as we start our day as the front from yesterday pushes further inland. A surge of moisture could be strong enough to bring some rain showers to far northern CA, but as the morning continues, it’ll dry out and we’ll be left to deal with just some mostly cloudy skies as we head towards Sacramento. Clouds will break up a bit as we make our way through the capital and eventually into Modesto!


Modesto, California

Today we head off to one of the driest areas of the country lately… California. Will anything be different as we head into the weekend?

At 753pm PDT, the temperature at Modesto, CA was 91 degrees under fair skies. An area of low pressure is found well offshore of CA and is pushing up towards the Pacific Northwest. One would think as this system intensifies and pushes towards the coast, it’d bring some much needed rain to the Central Valley of CA. However, an intense ridge of high pressure continues to park itself over the Four Corners region, effectively blocking the system up and around it. The Pacific Northwest and portions of Northern CA will see some rain from it, but outside of maybe a couple stray showers around Sacramento and areas to the north, the Central Valley will only see some passing clouds on Saturday. Curses! At least with the front pushing into the area it’ll knock temperatures down on Saturday noticeably.

Friday: Mostly sunny and hot. High 98, Low 68.
Saturday: Increasing clouds, cooler. High 87, Low 67.

TWC: Friday: Mostly sunny. High 101, Low 70.
Saturday: Mostly sunny and cooler. High 87, Low 67.

AW: Friday: Times of clouds and sun. High 101, Low 70.
Saturday: Cooler with periods of sun. High 87, Low 68.

NWS: Friday: Sunny and hot. High 98, Low 70.
Saturday: Mostly sunny. High 85, Low 69.

WB: Friday: Mostly sunny. High 98, Low 70.
Saturday: Partly cloudy. High 85, Low 69.

WN: Friday: Mostly sunny. High 99, Low 70.
Saturday: Partly cloudy, High 86, Low 70.

FIO: Friday: Partly cloudy in the morning. High 103, Low 69.
Saturday: Partly cloudy in the morning. High 88, Low 63.

Here we see a rather significant frontal system approaching the Pacific Northwest, which will bring some decent rains to the coastal areas of WA/OR. Sadly, it won’t make it far enough inland to help with a majority of the fires plaguing the region.


Oh, Well Hello There Erika!

Just a couple days ago, I wrote about the rapid rise and fall of Hurricane Danny, the season’s first (Major) Hurricane. I didn’t mention that further off to the east, there was an area of interest that could develop into our next system. Well, it’s done exactly that and Erika has been able to stick together through the wind shear that ripped apart Danny. It’s close to moving over the northern portion of the Lesser Antilles, eventually over the Virgin Islands and just north of Puerto Rico. While the forecasts are somewhat scattered at the moment, the general consensus is that it progresses over the Bahamas still as a tropical storm and as it makes its curve towards the north, intensifies to a hurricane off the Southeast US coastline. Erika will certainly bear some watching throughout the weekend.


Sweltering Summer Days

The South is a hot and humid place during the summer months, and Lafayette is no exception. Scattered thunderstorms are the norm throughout the season thanks to the ever-present humidity, but they dodged ’em both days to start of the week. Temperatures varied a bit more than most outlets had them pegged to be, but Weather Channel took home the win.

Monday: High 97, Low 80.
Tuesday: High 90, Low 72.
Forecast Grade: B

Temperatures Not Only Thing Scorching the West

With El Nino continuing to intensify, more and more predictions of a soggy Winter for the Western US continue to be made. I moved to Los Angeles in the Summer of 1997, then got to experience the ridiculous El Nino-influenced winter of 97-98. It rained ALL. THE. TIME. Trust me, track practice then riding your bike home in the rain is not a fun time. Anyways, if this winter shakes out anything like that one did, hopefully we can put a dent into the epic drought that is plaguing the region.

However, we still actually have to GET to Winter for that to happen. In the meantime, the western US remains dry, and now, over the last couple of months, forest fires have been replicating with almost springtime bunny rabbit efficiency. The Pacific Northwest has taken the brunt of it, causing massive problems for the region. Air Quality Alerts encompass eastern WA, northeastern OR, all of western/northern ID, and the western half of MT. Also, look at this comparison from June 25 and August 23 of the area. From crystal clear to… um… yikes. One of my friends from NWS Missoula has sent me a few pictures of smoke-filled skies as well over the last several days. No wonder there’s so many AQA’s out for the region. Hopefully relief comes soon to the area and clears out the skies because prolonged periods of this poor of air quality can cause serious issues to people.


Pascagoula, Mississippi to Provo, Utah

Today we embark on a 4-day, 1,790 mile trek from the Gulf Coast to the heart of Utah. Perhaps it’s move-in day for one of your kids at BYU? Let’s see if the weather will cooperate for such an event!



We head out of Shreveport westward along the coast, with perhaps some patchy fog to deal with. This should burn off by mid-morning. A ridge of high pressure is found over the area in a north-south fashion, keeping most of the afternoon showers/thunderstorms west of Baton Rouge. Even then, there won’t be much we have to dodge as we pull into Shreveport, LA in the mid-afternoon hours.


It’s going to be a long westward trip through TX today. Luckily, high pressure continues to keep most of the route dry as a system begins to develop throughout the Rockies. There could be some increasing clouds once we get past Dallas, but another dry day looks to be in the books as we pull into Amarillo for the night.


Low pressure continues to develop over the Central Rockies and eventually pushes out into the Northern/Central Plains by the end of the day. The start of the day should be fine as we leave Amarillo and head off for New Mexico. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected to dot the landscape as we negotiate our way through the mountains. We eventually finish the day in Farmington, NM, not far from the Four Corners marker.


Almost there! It’ll be more mountains as we push through far southwestern CO and then southeast UT. High pressure reasserts itself over the region, and should be a fairly nice day as we make our way to Provo just in time for the weekend!


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