We’re going to start the week with what should be a pretty quick jaunt. It won’t be, because we will be navigating the Chicagoland region, but it definitely SHOULD be. The drive will be nearly 3 1/2 hours, at a glacial pace of 63mph.
A weak little wave is moving through the Great Lakes this evening, and it will generally be in the central and eastern Great Lakes before the drive begins on Monday. I don’t think there will be much in the way of flurry activity south of Lake Michigan, though it can’t be ruled out, especially in Michigan City and Laporte. I would expect some dryer skies through Chicago proper, but as we approach Waukegon and north through Milwaukee, I would expect flurries to pick up again. This weak little feature is wrapping in a considerable amount of light snow that just doesn’t want to cut out, so I have to believe it will still be snowing in Fond du Lac when we arrive. Nothing accumulating, but it will be happening.
Boy, we know when to pick these cross country trips. This trip, into the teeth of one of the most significant storms for the Upper Midwest in decades, will last 4 days in ideal conditions, though these will be less than ideal. It’s 2065 miles between the systems, and right now is prognosticated to have a pace of 66.6mph, which will lead to a perhaps aspirational 533 miles a day. Day 4 will be a hair shorter than the rest, but they are all going to feel long, I reckon.
DAY ONE (Tuesday)
The entirety of our route on Tuesday will be in a at least a winter storm warning, while some stretches of southern Wyoming are in a blizzard warning. I think the heaviest snow will be in Montana tomorrow, though we will be seeing snow around Logan as we set forth. Wind will be on the increase throughout the day, but we will probably be dry from time to time from Kemmerer to Rock Springs, then even more sparsely through the remainder of the state of Wyoming. Assuming we keep our pace, we will be just ahead of the worst of the snow, but any flurries we see will be wind driven and challenging. The day will end in Sidney, in the Nebraska Panhandle. Batten down the hatches, it is going to be a long night.
DAY TWO (Wednesday) This is definitely our most imagination driven day. The heavier snow is going to sink south into Nebraska, along with a cold frontal wind, and it is not out of the question that blizzard conditions will grip most of I-80 in Nebraska. If that’s the case, then the road might simply be closed. The nasty parts of the storm will be cut off by a dry slot nosing north into the Omaha and Nebraska City regions, and we might even get some dry air after we leave the freeway in Lincoln. Expect to see drier condition as we head south, west of a cold front that will, by this point, have advanced into Iowa and Missouri. We will end the day in Kansas City, and be extremely grateful for it.
DAY THREE (Thursday) The nasty storm is going to focus it’s wrath to our north by Thursday, which is good news for our travels, bad news for the Great Lakes. South winds will be rushing north to meet that area of low pressure, and especially east of St. Louis, we will need both hands on the steering wheel, as if they haven’t been white knuckling the whole way already. We’ll make it to Simpsonville, east of Louisville, by the end of this day.
DAY FOUR (Friday) Low pressure will be moving vaguely poleward by the end of the week, and this is a relief for us. Dry skies will continue on the way to Greensboro, though a little band of light rain will develop eventually to our south and west, and that wind that will buffet us on Thursday will also be a memory. The arrival in Greensboro will come after 4 long days of driving, and will be quite a relief.
The middle and southern part of the country has been battered of late, but at least we are moving to a calmer stretch. Holy smokes is it going to be cold, though. We’ll take 1 day to march across this icy terrain, from Lawrence to Indianapolis, covering 521 miles at a pace of 67mph. Even St. Louis can’t slow us down.
Cold air has built in behind a stormy, snowy system that moved through this week. There is some high pressure to the south, which is doing a good job of stifling moisture which is trying to reach a Clipper moving through the Canadian Prairies, and will head for the western Great Lakes as we get moving. I don’t trust Clippers moving through the cold to stay bound by where the models say it will snow. There isn’t much precipitable water with these, and the flakes fly even if there is no real moisture available. To that end, I suspect the last stretch, from the Illinois side of the Mississippi all the way to Indianapolis will feature some flakes. The steadier activity will be in Indy on our arrival.
You… you want to go for a drive? Tomorrow, in the Ohio Valley? Good luck with all that. If you insist on taking this trip it will cover 287 miles and in good conditions, would take a little over 5 hours. These will not be good conditions. The pace would be set at about 55mph, but it will be slower driving tomorrow through this part of the country. I can’t recommend in stronger terms that you do not actually make this drive tomorrow.
We’re watching a massive storm, with blizzard implications in the northern US charging towards the Great Lakes. The system will look like a typical summer time system, and the cold front will charge into Decatur shortly after noon. We’ll already be about to Effingham when it arrives, and this snow will arrive with some intensity. Snow totals will be lighter because there are warmer temperatures than further to the north, but winds will be very strong. There could be a little bit of rain before we see clear skies again, think around Evansville, with dry conditions returning in Kntucky. While in Bowling Green, though, all hell will again break loose, so hunker down.
Another trip home for the holidays. Lakeland is a new enough town that there aren’t likely to be many people FROM Lakeland, so this trip rationale seems right to me. It’s a 1,248 mile journey that will last two days, including a particularly long day on Wednesday to finish things off. Expect a pace of 66.4mph and a Tuesday covering 531.2 miles.
DAY ONE (Tuesday)
High pressure is taking care of the southeastern United States, and really, most of the rest of the country as well. Everything, except, ironically, the Sunshine State. A baroclinic flow is streaming across the Peninsula, and scattered showers and probably some embedded thunderstorms are going to be possible until Gainesville, with isolated spots of precipitation as far north as Macon. Fortunately, the drive through Atlanta will be nice and dry. We’ll get into Dalton, just south of Chattanooga, for the night.
DAY TWO (Tuesday) There will be a bit of a return flow through the middle of the country, which will bring temperature and humidity up a little bit. It won’t be an exquisitely sunny day but the whole way to Racine will be dry and pretty easy to navigate. You might even enjoy a trip to the lakeshore after reaching Racine.
I love absolutely nothing more than mostly rural road trips through the middle of nowhere. Imagine how big Casper is going to seem after this 2 day voyage! It’s a 921 mile journey between these two towns, which we will pace at 64.5mph, ending the first day at the 516 mile mark. Let’s go on this windswept journey!
DAY ONE (Wednesday)
A broad, disorganized area of low pressure has been bringing fairly steady light snow to much of the Northern Plains for the last couple of days. It’s a nuisance, but it hasn’t yet drifted so far south to impact Missouri, and the drive through the Show Me State and Kansas City will be fine. We will pop north and cut through Lincoln (the last sizeable town for the rest of the drive) and head west, where a lobe of that mass of light snow will start digging to the south. The feature won’t reach Nebraska until the overnight, and we should reach Lexington, in south central Nebraska without much fuss. Don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security.
DAY TWO (Thursday) Windy conditions with light snow can make for some terrible visibility, and that is what we can expect west of North Platte. The precipitation, but not the wind, will taper by noon, with the snow becoming more likely in the mountains off Wyoming by the end of the day. Snow or no snow, conditions will be challenging in Nebraska, and only a little bit better in Wyoming. If the roads are clear, that will be good news. Casper certainly sounds like a friendly destination, doesn’t it? It will have a faint dusting of snow when we arrive.
If you know any thing about me, know that I love it that we take road trips that are a bit different The trip, just shy of 8 hours, makes it’s biggest turn at Cedar Rapids. Has that ever happened? I don’t think so! It’s a 491 mile trek, covering 3 states at a pace of about 62mph. And we get to see Cedar Rapids!
Low pressure spinning over the mountains is going to sink deeper to the southern Plains. The light rain showers that are threatening the Upper Midwest are going to be drawn south to the more organized region of instability in Texas by the time we would depart tomorrow. The weather will get less cloudy and potentially a few degrees warmer as we head to eastern Wisconsin.
I am writing up this road trip forecast in the midst of a road trip that has gone awry. I got a flat tire and bent a rim after taking a mountain corner a little too wide, and am stuck until I can get my car fixed. I’m kind of along this route, though, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, so maybe that will help with the forecast. We will be able to cover the ground in one long day, and the route — south of Spartanburg — will be 599 miles long. Maybe it’s just me without a car, but it does seem like the pace here is slow, so 63.5mph, even when using interstates, sounds about right. Keep your eyes on the road!
Late this weekend, rain really started to pick up along a stretch from western North Carolina to north Georgia, clearly induced by the ocean sided exposures of the Appalachians. The surface trough helping to enhance the onshore flow and subsequent rain is going to consolidate and shift off the mid-Atlantic coast towards Hurricane Earl. This will bring a slight reprieve in the showers from Huntsville to about Madison, Georgia. The threat for rain has continued to be minimal for much of South Carolina and central Georgia, though with the trough in place, the stretch from Columbia eastward stayed drier anyways. Mostly cloudy skies are likely, and after the threat for spotty showers ends around Madison, we should see dry pavement on to Wilmington.
This road trip will be a little bit longer than our intra-Michigan trek yesterday, but it will still take only a day. We’ll cover 619 miles in just over 9 hours, as we skirt Chicago and pass through Des Moines into an underrated town. I think sometimes cities compensate for being in “boring” areas by being extremely interesting. Omaha is certainly interesting, and I would recommend a visit some day.
While today in Michigan is pretty nice (even though I got the road trip backwards! It was supposed to be Jackson to Battle Creek! I digress) there is a weak perturbation moving through the Upper Midwest that will change all that. Excepect some scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms to roll in to the area tomorrow evening, which means we will intercept on the way to Omaha. There will be a chance of these pop up showers – very few and far between – on the south side of Chicago, with the tail of the boundary stationary through southern Iowa. leading to scattered showers mostly south of I-80. Again, even if we see any rainshowers among the corn and Chicago traffic, they will be short lived. Potentially heavy, but short lived. Omaha is great, though, and shouild be drier than points eas.t.
It is not a long drive that we intend to take tomorrow through Lower Michigan. It’s less than an hour and 53 miles from Battle Creek to Jackson. The Google Maps pace is 60mph, but I’ve driven I-94 in Michigan. We’ll be going faster than 60mph.
There really isn’t a lot to say here, honestly. Michigan is a nice enough state, and there are a surprising number of wineries. Not a lot of weather coming through, though. There is high pressure over the Great Lakes, with some mid layered overcast in the northern part of the lakes, but we are on the south side of Michigan, so just enjoy Jackson, I guess!