This drive is going to be quite lengthy as we head from the East Coast to the West. It will take nearly 6 full days to cover 3,091 miles. We’ll see a great deal of the northern US as we track along at a pace of 67.2mph. The 6th day will be shorter than the first 5, with the first days averaging 537.6 miles. This is a time of year where a drive through this part of the country can be pretty rough, so let’s hope for some good luck.
DAY ONE (Wednesday)
The beginning of our long journey will take us from Providence to western Pennsylvania. There is an area of low pressure in the Gulf of Maine, and a trailer is going to develop overnight over Lake Ontario. It will do a good job of cleaning up the coastal area, though there will be some clouds thanks to a light onshore flow. A weak cold front associated with the system will produce a west wind and some snow showers on the western exposures of the Pennsylvania Appalachians. The best chance of snow will be for the last hour of the day, from Dubois to Grove City, where we will stop for the night, right across the border from Ohio.
DAY TWO (Thursday)
We will be post frontal on Thursday as we head through the southern Great Lakes. There will be a westerly flow through the region, so lake effect snow will be ongoing in Michigan and just across the border, in northern Indiana and Ohio. After we have passed the Goshen, Indiana area, we will see a change. The sun will come out, and while it will be quite chilly, the threat for precipitation will end as well. We’ll make it all the way to Wisconsin, just across the border from Illinois in Beloit.
DAY THREE (Friday)
High pressure will remain over the Upper Midwest. A warm front may produce some snow showers over southwestern Minnesota, but we will manage to stay north of this swath. We’ll make it to Moorhead, just across the Red River from Fargo, without any real worries.
DAY FOUR (Saturday)
The whole time we spend driving through the eastern US, another monster of a system will be organizing out west. The leading edge of this system will emanate a wave of showers, both rain and snow, that will reach the eastern Dakotas by the time we get going on Saturday. We’ll see a bit of a mix from Fargo to Bismarck, with some clearing over the western part of the state into Montana. There will be some clouds, but more importantly, it will be unseasonably warm. We’ll stop in Saunders, Montana, in the eastern part of the state.
DAY FIVE (Sunday)
The low will continue to churn in the Great Basin, and it will come to bear in the northern Rockies. We will encounter the first bouts of snow between Butte and Missoula, and from Missoula to Stull, just across the state line into Idaho, we will really get slammed. This looks like the type of snow that could lead to a road closure, particularly in the twisting terrain of the northern Rockies. Precipitation will be very heavy, and winds will be picking up through the valleys. Let’s try to make it to Stull, and hope that Monday will be better.
DAY SIX (Monday)
Low pressure over the Olympic Peninsula will help usher the heavy snow out of the Idaho Chimney. Not all of it, but some. There will be a few flakes through Couer d’Alene, but in the Cascade rain shadow, we will enjoy our last bit of dry pavement. In the Cascades, light surface precipitation will be preceded by some heavier snow in the mountains. Ah, well, it will be cloudy with some light rain in Mount Vernon. It’s not the Puget Sound without a little bit of dinginess?