Palm Bay, Florida to Napa, California

This is a very long trip, taking us from the east coast of Florida all the way to the San Francisco Bay, but after trips too and from Anchorage last month, this is nothing. Since there is so much ground to cover, we will move at a relatively quick pace of 65.9mph, and the first 5 days will be through after 527 miles of driving with the final day being shorter than that. Let’s buckle up the kids and go tour the southern US of A.

DAY ONE (Thursday)
Palm Bay

We should get going before afternoon convection gets going in the Florida Peninsula, but there may be a stray rumble of thunder as we head north through Orlando, but much of north Florida will be dry. Muggy but dry. Ther ecould be an isolated storm along the coast again after we have turned west, but for the most part, I-10 will run well north of of the threat. Look out the driver’s side from Tallahassee westward and there could be a towering thunderhead. The better chance for rain will come as we approch Pensacola, where I-10 dips further to the south. We’ll make it into Alabama and the town of Robertsville by the end of the day, where they may be experiencing the last gasps of afternoon convection.

DAY TWO (Friday)
A combination of three things will make the Friday drive interesting. First is an area of instability over the western Gulf which will eject a good deal of moisture north into Louisiana. Second is a deep, digging trough full of cold air that is plunging all the way down into Texas as the weekend approaches, which will only enhance the thunderstorm threat over Louisiana and east Texas. Third is the fact that we will drive smack dab through the heart of Houston in a blinding rain storm complete with vivid lightning. YEEEEEEEHAW. Alabama and Mississippi will be fine, the rain will really pick up west of Lafayette and continue all the way to Brookshire, which is just west of Katy, one of the more notable Houston ‘burbs.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
The heavier showers and storms are going to continue to be pressed further south by the advancing mass of cool air, and as we head west, we will be entrenched in a cloudy, drizzly mess. This should last most of the day, though the threat for drizzle will really clear up after San Antonio. After San Antonio? Nothing. Not falling from the skies, not in terms of local population, nothing. West Texas is rather sparse. We will end the day in Balmorhea, which is west of Fort Stockton but still 200 some miles to New Mexico.

DAY FOUR (Sunday)
Model guidance suggests a lot of mooisture welling north into west TExas, thanks in large part to another tropical system in the Pacific, and the remnants of that thing in the Gulf. Expect some showers and storms to bubble up from Balmorhea to Van Horn, and then again around Las Cruces, New Mexico, but that activity will be confined to the higher terrain. The rest of the drive on Sunday will be through southern Arizona, which is not known for it’s rainfall. We will end in Marana, Arizona, which is just northwest of Tucson.

DAY FIVE (Monday)
Now is the easy forecasting part of the trip. I can say with confidence, even though we’re 5 days out, that I don’t think it will rain across the desert as we drive through it. The biggest issues will be traffic, as we clip Phoenix and Riverside. WE will begin the drive north by the end of Monday, and stop in Lebec, which is west of Lancaster, to end the day.

DAY 6 (Tuesday)
Nothing doing in the weather department again on Tuesday as we finish the trip to wine country. There was an earthquake in Napa last month. I would forecast for the earthquake outlook, but it’s impossible to predict those. Sorry. Besides, I’m a meteorologist, not a geologist.