Major storms ready to tie up holiday travel

2019 may go down as one of the worst Thanksgivings for travelling in a very long time. As I sit on the south side of the Twin Cities metro area, skies are already starting to turn gray as a vast area of low pressure and some accompanying snow fall makes it’s way to the north. The latest forecast from the Twin Cities WFO calls for a foot through the heart of the metro area.

Snow has been ongoing today, particularly in northern Colorado, eastern Wyoming and across Nebraska, where it has closed schools, covered roads and severely disrupted Denver’s airport.

Since this isn’t a storm in the heart of the winter, there is the cold, snowy side, but also a side with strong to severe thunderstorms. There has already been one tornado warning in southern Missouri today, with more strong storms anticipated, particularly in eastern Arkansas.

The storm is going to continue strengthening over the next 12-24 hours, reaching maximum intensity somewhere over northern Wisconsin, meaning the snow that has fallen in the Upper Midwest will be , and the snow in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula will be wind driven. Altogether an unpleasant scenario. And that’s not even the worst of it.


This second storm, thanks to travel across the north Pacific is in the process of explosive cyclogenesis – a bomb cyclone – and will slam into the northern California coast tonight. With it will come more gusty winds, rain and a whole lot of snow the interior west. While much of California will appreciate the rain, they could do without more wind, and the snow inland will be fairly comprehensive. That is to say, it’s not going to be confined solely to the mountains. Take a look at the watches and warnings presently plastered across the country.

All the oranges and browns are wind related alerts, thanks to the potency of the first system, while southern Arizona is also under threat for flooding, thanks to the moisture they’ve recently received, and will be reintroduced to this week.

Most of the time, foot of snow the day before Thanksgiving would be bad enough, but in the Midwest, they will also need to concern themselves with the weather after Thanksgiving. If folks somehow managed to leave the house and visit their relatives, they will then need to contend with a second round of snow that will likely start as light freezing rain, particularly from about Sioux Falls to Omaha.

In my back yard, we are probably looking at another 2-4″ of snow on top of a glaze of ice, and more gusty winds to conclude what will be a very long holiday weekend.

Onshore and off the pace

The cold front that roiled the afternoon in the southeastern US yesterday induced a southeasterly, onshore flow over the eastern coast of Florida. Palm Bay’s Saturday forecast proved to be a hair too warm across the board because of the cool onshore breezes. Lingering moisture kept the overnight lows from dropping off too much either. The end result of these curious happenstances was a forecast win for WeatherBug, who seem to know something we don’t this month.
Actuals: Friday, High 76, Low 56
Saturday High 76, Low 63

Grade B-C

Charlotte, North Carolina to Florence, Alabama

On this Saturday evening, all I can think is that this drive is going to take us right through SEC country. We’ll depart from ACC territory, I suppose, as we take an 8 hour, somewhat circuitous drive to northern Alabama. We will be on the road covering 507 miles at a pace of only 64.9mph. But really, check out this route.

Charlotte, North Carolina

There is a small, tightly wound area of low pressure shuttling through the southeastern US towards the Mid-Atlantic overnight tonight. By the time we wake up to get on the road, the low will be a thing of the past, leaving only a shallow lee trough, which may aid in the development of some fog in the wee hours. After we get to the higher terrain in South Carolina, and then head through north Georgia in the daylight, we will only be concerned with traffic and the sun shining in our eyes. All in all, Saturday will be the better day to travel this weekend.

Florence, Alabama

Lost in a fog

Forecasts for Decatur were generally not too bad, save for one nasty verifying period: Wednesday morning. Even if they didn’t explicitly say they were expecting fog in their forecast (erm, I guess that was only me) it was still in the back of our minds. Decatur did see visibilities drop to a quarter of a mile in the morning, and despite that, temperatures continued to drop, all the way to 26. The 3 coolest morning lows all collected the three top forecasts, with The Weather Channel and earning victory. The temperature tracking surrounding the occluded front on Thursday surprisingly didn’t play into the victory totals at all.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 51, low 26
Thursday – .24 inches of rain, High 58, low 40

Grade: B-C

Cleveland, Ohio

Tonight we head to the Great Lakes where we visit a city that is the site of my favorite sporting moment in my life so far… the Cubs winning the World Series! Sorry Cleveland, but you had already won the NBA title that year.

At 1153pm EST, the temperature in Cleveland, OH was 51 degrees with some light rain occurring. A cold front is pushing through the Great Lakes tonight with some light rain showers pushing through the Cleveland area. These showers will persist into the pre-dawn hours before shifting eastward. Dry weather and decreasing clouds will seem more pleasant for the daytime hours, but a breezy northwest wind will continue to usher in colder air throughout the day, leading to a midnight high and only a daytime high in the upper 30s. Weak high pressure will traverse the area Friday evening into Saturday morning with mostly clear skies. However, this will be short-lived as a low-pressure system develops over the Lower MS-River Valley and shifts northeastward. While the bulk of the system will miss off to the east, some rain showers on the northwestern side of the low look to wraparound and impact the city on Saturday evening. Nothing too heavy, just enough to annoy every that’s out having fun on their weekend.

Friday: A few early morning showers, decreasing afternoon clouds with temperatures dropping. High 51, Low 32.
Saturday: Increasing clouds, a couple late evening showers possible. High 45, Low 29.

TWC: Friday: Early rain, then partly cloudy/windy. High 43, Low 35.
Saturday: Afternoon showers. High 45, Low 30.

AW: Friday: Some sun returning; cooler. High 52, Low 35.
Saturday: Occasional afternoon rain. High 44, Low 30.

NWS: Friday: A few early morning showers, then breezy and mostly sunny. High 41, Low 33.
Saturday: Partly sunny, chance of rain. High 46, Low 30.

WB: Friday: Chance of early morning rain, then partly cloudy. High 52, Low 33.
Saturday: Chance of rain. High 44, Low 31.

WN: Friday: Slight chance of morning shower, then partly cloudy. High 53, Low 33.
Saturday: Partly cloudy with scattered showers. High 46, Low 31.

FIO: Friday: Drizzle tonight. High 52, Low 32.
Saturday: Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High 45, Low 28.

A few rain showers are traversing the region currently, but the rest of the day should be dry!

Palm Bay, Florida

There are so many cities in Florida, all clustered on the Atlantic coast, and we’re involved in a little East Florida two-step, recently looking at Sebastian, and now moving on to Palm Bay, which isn’t very far away at all.

At 1253PM, ET, Palm Bay was reporting a temperature of 76 degrees with fair skies. High pressure was smothering the southeastern US, allowing for the pleasant conditions. Cool air being cycled south by the remnants of Tropical Storm Sebastian was generating some rolling fair weather clouds over the southern Gulf Stream.
The dome of high pressure will remain centered over the Florida Peninsula for the next couple of days, even as a wave moves southeast out of the Upper Mississippi Valley. Some return flow at the surface may lead to some extra cloudiness through all hours over the Palm Bay area.
Tomorrow – Sunny, High 77, Low 58
Saturday – Partly cloudy, High 81, Low 59

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies in the morning will give way to cloudy skies during the afternoon. High 77, Low 59
Saturday – Intervals of clouds and sunshine High 80, Low 60

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny and pleasant High 77, Low 62
Saturday – Partly sunny and pleasant High 80, Low 61

NWS Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 78, Low 56
Saturday – Partly sunny, High 81, Low 58

WB: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 76, Low 56
Saturday – Partly cloudy, High 79, low 60

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 77, Low 59
Saturday – Partly cloudy, High 80, Low 60

FIO: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High 77, low 60
Saturday – Partly cloudy throughout the day. High 80, Low 59

Not a lot of forecast variety, but a bit of space between bosom buddies the NWS and WeatherNation. Here is the afternoon’s satellite imagery for the state of Florida.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tonight we head to the Southern Plains to see how Tulsa is setting up for the rest of the workweek. Will the Golden Hurricanes of the namesake university see a peaceful couple of days? Or is there a tempest brewing?

At 1053pm CST, the temperature at Tulsa, OK was 63 degrees under partly cloudy skies. An area of low pressure is working through the Midwest, trailing a cold front through the Southern Plains that will bring rain showers and a few scattered thunderstorms during the day. However, temperatures will be falling throughout the day as cooler air works in from the morning as high pressure works down into the Northern Plains. As the boundary continues to push south Thursday into Friday morning, a few lingering rain showers are anticipated over the region, though the heaviest activity looks to be off to the east. Conditions should dry up as the day goes on, but even cooler temps will work their way into the state as high pressure pushes further south over the Central Plains.

Thursday: Chances of showers and thunderstorms. High 62, Low 42.
Friday: Widespread showers. High 41, Low 34.

TWC: Thursday: Rain. High 65, Low 44.
Friday: Showers. High 44, Low 34.

AW: Thursday: A shower in the morning. High 65, Low 45.
Friday: Occasional morning rain. High 44, Low 35.

NWS: Thursday: Chance of showers then thunderstorms. High 63, Low 45.
Friday: Showers then chance of thunderstorms. High 45, Low 36.

WB: Thursday: Rain showers expected. High 63, Low 45.
Friday: Morning rain showers. High 45, Low 35.

WN: Thursday: Mostly cloudy with isolated storms. High 63, Low 45.
Friday: Mostly cloudy with scattered showers. High 44, Low 37.

FIO: Thursday: Light rain starting later tonight. High 66, Low 44.
Friday: Possible light rain until afternoon. High 45, Low 36.

Some decent rain showers are found east of the city and pushing towards Joplin. Another couple rounds of precip are in the cards for the rest of the workweek however.

Dodging Bullets in Winchester

Some light rain showers were found in the Winchester area on late Monday evening. But luckily, for the residents however, the city avoided the rain and stayed dry through the forecast period. Temperatures warmed nicely for Tuesday as expected, though Monday’s highs never quite got as high as anybody wanted. Weatherbug narrowly edged out the competition for the win

Monday: High 39, Low 34.
Tuesday: High 50, Low 35.
Forecast Grade: C

Reno, Nevada to Decatur, Illinois

A trip through the Rockies and Plains as a vigorous system moves through the region… I see no reason to worry! Our three day trip will feature an extended third day, and 1,861 total miles covered. We’ll navigate the terrain of the Rockies in our shorter two days, which will conclude after 551miles of travel, all at an average pace of about 69mph. Nice.

DAY ONE (Thursday)

Reno, Nevada

There is a string of features extending from the northern Praries of Canada to the High Plains to the southwestern US. Epic rains are falling around Phoenix and in the southern Rockies, with snow falling at the highest peaks. By the time we get going tomorrow, the system will have weakened, with precipitation becoming limited to the upper elevations along our route. We may not see any precipitation on the roads, but there will be some nearby, in the Ruby Range in northeast Nevada, and by Park City, Utah. We’ll stop in Coalville, not too far beyond Park City.

DAY TWO (Friday)
As high pressure filters back into the High Plains, moisture will be scoured out of the low lying terrain. We might see some mid level or high clouds as we trek through Wyoming, north of the snow falling in the peaks of Colorado. Wyoming has a lot of beautiful parts, but none of them are along I-80, so hustle through and get to the western part of Nebraska, where we will stop in Brule for the night.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
The very same system that we saw on Thursday will be sweeping through the Lower Mississippi Valley, shuttling to the northeast. An inverted trough at the north end of the low will be pointed into Illinois, into some chilly air. Nebraska and Iowa should be sunny and dry, but the threat and intensity of snow will increase the closer we get to Decatur.

Decatur, Illinois