Gainesville, Florida to Napa, California

One of the first road trips we ever took on Victoria-Weather many, many moons ago, was from Gainesville to Chico, California. This won’t be terribly different in terms of route or distance, but I should hope almost 10 years later, that the trip itself will be a little different. It will take us 5 complete days, covering 2731 miles, at a pace of 68mph to reach Napa. We will cover 546 miles a day in our efforts to cross the country.

DAY ONE (Thursday)

Boy, is the forecast map looking more and more like summer, expecially in the southern United States. The NAM and GFS are looking at sea breeze thunderstorms along the Gulf Coast with varying degrees if intensity. With these small scale events, the NAM’s precision often makes it the better model. If that is indeed the case on Thursday, watch out for strong thunderstorms with heavy rain, particularly over southern Alabama as we navigate our way north towards Hattiesburg. We will see more isolated thundershowers in Mississippi as the day winds down, and the stop for the night will come in Magee, about 50 minutes southeast of Jackson.

DAY TWO (Friday)
A little vort max is expected to develop around the Mississippi Delta by the afternoon, so the threat for organized thunderstorms along our route will be fairly low. Still, with latent moisture still high, and heat in the afternoon, don’t be surprised to see a smattering of showers over northern Louisiana and Texas as the heat of the afternoon sets in. We’ll dodge rain drops most of the day, which is fine, because we will need to keep the windows rolled up and the AC on the whole day. We’ll stop for the night in Bellevue, Texas, which is about 45 minutes southeast of Wichita Falls.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
The drive through north Texas and northern New Mexico will be fairly active. Most of the region will be under the influence of a broad, weak area of circulation, with a smattering of showers early in the day, with thunderstorms filtering in later. The rain will back into New Mexico as the day progresses, with thunderstorms butting up against the higher terrain that makes up the spine of the Land of Enchantment. We will almost definitely get a bit of precipitation, but it certainly won’t be a washout. The day will end on the west side of Alburquerque.

DAY FOUR (Sunday)
Showers and thunderstorms are going to be a thing of the past, especially as we cross northern Arizona. There might be a few isolated spots of rain in New Mexico, but that activity will wait to develop until after we have left the state. Northern Arizona will provide us with no problems, and the only issue we will have in southern California will be finding a place to stay. Incredible that the coast can be so populous, and inland, it’s so empty. Let’s say around the Camino Airstrip by Bigelw Cholla National Wilderness, we will stop for our final evening.

DAY FIVE (Monday)
High pressure! Ridging! Driving through California will be a piece of cake! Except for any traffic through the bigger towns of the central Valley, of course, but traffic through inland towns is so much easier to manage. The day will end in Napa, with sun and a glass of wine.