Lawton, Oklahoma to Lancaster, Pennsylvania

After a couple of short trips, we had a very long trip. Now, we can settle somewhere in the middle, with this 2 1/2 day trip. Storm chasing is still a thing even in these strange times, and I could imagine someone having a successful chase based out of Lawton last night, then wanting to take the 1,446 mile journey home to tell stories about the storms they saw near the Red River. The drive will cover 67.5mph and those first two days will be through after about 540 miles on the highway.

DAY ONE (Sunday)

Lawton, Oklahoma

To say the pattern is turbulent in the center of the country is a bit of an understatement. Successive short waves keep spiraling through the northern Plains, which draw moisture and instability through the central and southern Plains. There isn’t so much forcing that I would suggest there might be a severe weather outbreak on Sunday, but I would be surprised if it didn’t rain somewhere along the way. Light rain will be possible around Lawton as we head out, with a break through Oklahoma City and Tulsa, but there will be increasing chances for pop up thunderstorms by the time we hit the afternoon and Missouri. The best threat will be between Springfield and Rolla, but really, they will be aimless, and the possibility will continue to St. Clair, our destination for night one.

DAY TWO (Monday)
The entire Ohio Valley is going to become increasingly humid and warm. There might be a stray pop up shower or thunderstorm virtually anywhere during our drive from St. Clair, but the threat will naturally rise with the temperature as the day progresses. Still, the most active weather will be reorganizing to our west, so I don’t foresee anything more significant than a localized downpour. and the majority of the day will be warm and dry, but perhaps incredibly humid. Our day concludes in Jacksontown, Ohio, which is to the east of Columbus.

DAY THREE (Tuesday)
For the final day of our trip, we have a little bit better news. The low level moisture associated with all the disorganized action in the center of the country will be unable to penetrate Appalachia, and we are right on the doorstep of Appalachia. The threat for some rain likely won’t stretch further east than Zanesville, and the rest of the drive will be beset by nothing other than scenery and mountainside Americana. Lancaster should be appropriately late-springlike.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Charlottesville, Virginia to Oxnard, California

After a couple of road trips that were merely one day long, we’re hitting the big time, with this 5 day trip across the country. We’ll cover 2,604 miles at a pace of 66.8mph, which means the we will cover 534 miles a day for the first four days of the trek, with the last day being a hair shorter. What a terrific way to get a look at the nation’s weather this week.

DAY ONE (Wednesday)

Charlottesville, Virginia


Wouldn’t it be nice if we got off on the right foot, with clear skies and dry roads to set our pace by. Well, it won’t happen. Low pressure hemmed in by the remnants of Arthur will be raining over the central and southern Appalachians. The heaviest will fall from Roanoke to Knoxville, but lighter rain is going to continue west to Nashville, where we will stop on the eastern fringes of town.

DAY TWO (Thursday)
There isn’t a lot going on specifically over the Mississippi Valley for Tuesday, but it will be enjoying the ramifications of some of the activity elsewhere. Streaks of overcast with drizzle will continue through western Tennessee. After a bit of quiet weather in eastern Arkansas, flow will become southerly in response to another area of low pressure in the Canadian high plains. This may trigger a few thunderstorms from Little Rock west into eastern Oklahoma. We’ll make it to the Robert S Kerr Reservoir, where storm coverage would probably just be increasing through the night.

DAY THREE (Friday)
The showers and storms will probably continue through the night in eastern Oklahoma. If we use a mobile radar app, we’ll see a little bit of gumption would have taken us to Oklahoma City, the night before which will be a lot dryer on Friday. Instead, we’ll drive through a few more showers until we get clear air from western Oklahoma to the Texas Panhandle into New Mexico, where we will stop just past Tucumcari.

DAY FOUR (Saturday)
Finally, after being pushed and pulled by features near and far, things are going to look up as we move through the Desert Southwest. New Mexico and Arizona look to be devoid of any troubling features and even the heat will be pretty manageable. The day will end in Ash Fork, Arizona.

DAY FIVE (Sunday)
Come on. You’ve just spent all this time navigating the country, dealing with scattered showers and thunderstorms, and the monotony of I-40 west of the Mississippi. You deserve to coast to the Coast in Oxnard in peace, and you are going to get it. Enjoy Oxnard.

Oxnard
Oxnard, California

Rochester, New York to Charlottesville, Virginia

We have a long one day drive through the mountains of Appalachia. In the spring time, after a bit of rain, I expect a verdant, gorgeous drive through the Finger Lakes and the Appalachians of Pennsylvania and both varieties of Virginia. We’ll cover about 62 miles per hour until we reach our destination 497 miles away.

Rochester, New York

A fairly amorphous blob of low pressure sits in the Ohio Valley, bringing some serious rainfall just west of the Rockies, however this feature is deteriorating and won’t actually interfere with the first couple of states in our journey. The interesting part, to me anyways, is why the system in the Great Lakes is falling apart. Tropical Storm Arthur, which sits off the mid-Atlantic coast and is cycling in dry air into western New York and Pennsylvania. The precipitation west of the Appalachians will squirt through south of Arthur’s field of influence, and that will lead to some wet roadways as we reach the Hagerstown, Maryland area. Scattered showers and maybe an isolated thunderstorm will be possible for the rest of our drive, but fortunately, much of it is in the shadow of the mountains, and rain won’t be as heavy as it could be, at least not until we turn east from Staunton to Charlottesville. Darn.

Charlottesville, Virginia

Washington DC to Barnstable, Massachusetts

This is going to be a an East Coast road trip through a part of the country that probably isn’t keen on travelers right now. Let’s make sure that we mind our P’s and Q’s while trekking through the busiest parts of the country on our full day’s drive,

which will cover 477 miles. Our pace will be 62.2mph, which is probably a little faster than normal, because of everything going on.

Washington DC

Brr! The last coldest shot of spring is moving into the mid-Atlantic tomorrow, and we will drive through those big cities, like Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore with the windows up. The sun will be out, so we won’t need the heat, and by the afternoon, it tends to get warm in the car, but it will be that difficult blend of too hot in the car because of the sun, and too cold to leave the windows down. But at least we will be able to avoid anything more serious than a stiff breeze, and will end up in Barnstable, which is nice.

Barnstable, Massachusetts

Hickory, North Carolina to Sacramento, California

I-40 runs all the way from North Carolina to California, and yet we will spend the first part of this trip getting up to I-80. The drive will be a 5 day excursion that covers 2,635 miles. Our 5 days will be evenly spaced at 527 miles a day. or rather just short of 66mph. We have some ground to cover, so we should probably get a move on.

Hickory, North Carolina

DAY ONE (Tuesday)
A weak tail of a cold front will be sweeping through the Appalachians overnight tonight. Could there be a little bit of mountain snow in the Appalachians. It will probably be only rain along our route through the mountains, as it will likely only be possible on the west side of the hills. Rain might be a possibility all the way to Crossville, but expect cool and dry air to move in by the late afternoon as we touch two more states, Kentucky and Illinois, where we will stop in Vienna, in far southern Illinois.

DAY TWO (Wednesday)
A little bullet of low pressure is going to arise in the southern Plains and move through the central US. The warm front will be a traditional stratiform rain maker, just like we want to see in the spring and summer months. That is to say, no severe weather and no snow. We’ll be in the rain for most of the time spent in Missouri. Rain will lighten north of about St. Joseph but there will certainly be some lingering sprinkle activity north to Nebraska City, along the Iowa/Nebrasla state line.

DAY THREE (Thursday)
The weather will become more congested as we head west. Nebraska looks like it will be pretty OK as we move along I-80, but don’t be surprised if an emerging feature brings some light ran to our drive after we pass into Wyoming. We’ll make it to Turtle Rock in the midst of a National Forest between Cheyenne and Laramie.

DAY FOUR (Friday)
Some atmospheric troughing will continue over the Wyoming Rockies, and a splash of rain with maybe *MAYBE* some snow in the peaks will accompany our trip along I-80 in Wyoming. Utah will be a different story as the Great Basin will be bathed in sunlight. It will work out just so that our day will end in West Wendover, Nevada, right along the UTah border.

DAY FIVE (Saturday)
What better way to finish a long week of driving than with a bright, sunny drive without the threat for inclement weather. Truckee and Lake Tahoe can be a bear when the weather is active, especially this time of year, and we just won’t have anything to really worry about. Sunscreen, maybe, if you want to go out while you are in town.

Sacramento, California

Pensacola, Florida to Monroe, Louisiana

We have a short, less than 6 hour drive today, covering 368 miles at a pace of about 63 miles. Even though this is a narrow stretch of the road, it is also exactly the most ravaged part of the south from the Easter tornado outbreaks. We will pass through Collins, which was just north of the 2 mile wide, long track twister that struck Bassfield, and clipped by another mile wide twister on the north side of town. It was a bruising day, that the Jackson WFO is still assessing.

Pensacola, Florida

The southeast currently finds itself in a pretty good respite, as the severe weather from Sunday is now a few days behind us, and dry weather has invaded. It’s warm and comfortably dry, though on Friday during the drive, expect the Lower Mississippi Valley to get increasingly humid as a weak cold front sinks southward and draws Gulf moisture north. This will mean increasing cloud cover as well, ahead of some rain that might enter the picture over the weekend in Monroe.

Monroe, Louisiana

Bremerton, Washington to Richmond, Virginia

Granted, the world is in flux, and long distance road trips are frowned upon at this moment in time, but the shipping needs of the country ensure that there will be people covering this kind of ground. Even without that necessity, seeing daily cross sections of the weather has its benefits. This drive will cover 5 1/2 days of mostly empty freeway, covering 2917 miles. That means our pace will be 66.3mph, which means Chicago is really going to slow us down. The days will be consumed by 530 miles of travel. Buckle up and here we go. 

DAY ONE (Wednesday)

Bremerton, Washington

Its a gloomy day down in the Puget Sound, and it’s not going to change through tomorrow morning. The deteriorating feature that is bringing the gloom to Bremerton is going to squeeze a few flakes into the Cascadian peaks, with additional activity over northern Idaho that will dissipate into the early afternoon. The mountain tops may be obscured as we reach Montana and pass through Missoula to Clinton, but at the surface it should be dry.

DAY TWO (Friday)
We will emerge from the high country of the Rockies into the vast emptiness of Big Sky country. Sure, we’ll pass through Billings and Butte and Bozeman and a few cities that don’t begin with a B, but otherwise we will be firmly in no mans land. We are east of the Rockies, so downslope flow should give an artificial bump to the temperature early in the day, but a developing feature over te central Rockies will bring temperatures back down again. Not much for clouds, and probably nothing for precipitation on the day, which will end at exit 192, where there is a rest stop and a historical marker, but no easily accessed inhabited areas. Social distancing!

DAY THREE (Saturday)
The rest of the drive in Montana, as well as that in North Dakota will not be terribly challenging, though east of Jamestown, we might notice increasingly blustery conditions. This is owing to that big area of low pressure that we talked about in the central Rockies. It looks like it will deepen quickly and bring Minnesota and the Upper Midwest an interesting weekend. Starting not long before we wrap up the day, there might be a few flakes, and coupled with the increasing wind, it will certainly compel us to pull off the road near Ashby, Minnesota.

DAY FOUR (Sunday)
I think a heavy stripe of snow is possible between Fergus Falls and St. Cloud, Minnesota overnight, with the rest of the region blasted by wind and rain. The entire system is going to shift away from the western Great Lakes by the afternoon on Sunday, so our challenge will be driving along that first hour or so, hoping the warm spring means no snow sticks to I-94. The pavement will be wet through the Twin Cities, but should have had plenty of time to dry before we hit Wisconsin. The day will end in Poynette, north of Madison.

DAY FIVE (Monday)
The 5th day of our trip will be clearer and more well populated than the first stretch. We’ll pass Chicago, Indianapolis and Dayton on our way to Frankfort, Ohio, all under the protection of a ridge of high pressure. IT’s not going to be a warm ridge, necessarily, but it will be dry.

DAY SIX (Tuesday)
Yet another round of low pressure is developing to our south and will be shifting to the northeast during the day, intercepting our route over West Virginia. Driving Charleston can be a bit challenging, because there are no straight lines and it’s hilly, so be careful and keep both hands on the wheel. The rain will tail off for a bit as we descend into Lexington, Virginia, and will remain in our rear view as we approach Richmond. Don’t worry, though, the rain will show up later.

Richmond, Virginia

Greensboro, North Carolina to Tucson, Arizona

After a trip to Greensboro, let’s take a lengthy trip from Greensboro. It’s going to take us 3 1/2 days to location to location, and it will require a pace of 71.2mph to cover our 2065 miles, which is downright blistering. We’ll cover 569.7 miles on those first three days, leaving a little bit left over for the fourth day. Westward ho.

DAY ONE (Sunday)

Greensboro, North Carolina

I am quite taken with the rapid pace we will take as we get started off towards Tucson. We’ll alight through 4 different states as we begin, both Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, where we will finish things off. High pressure is stout in the southeast, and we won’t have any weather concerns between Greensboro and Boligee, Alabama, where we are going to stop for the night.

DAY TWO (Monday)
Low pressure is emerging from the southern Rockies this weekend, and will be a rainy little system moving through the Plains. The tail of the cold front will dangle into the Lower Mississippi Valley as we also scoot through that same part of the country. Shower activity will be possible from about Ruston, Louisiana west into the Piney Woods of Texas. It should be cloudy but dry west of about the Tyler area, which will take us into the Metroplex by evening. The day will end in Fort Worth.

DAY THREE (Tuesday)
Leaving Fort Worth on Tuesday, we will enter the vast expanse of west Texas. It will be at it’s warm, dry and dusty best. There will be no well organized system across the region, but west Texas will indeed be squeezed between features, which will render the region cloudier than normal, but not quite rainy. We’ll make it as far as Tornillo, which isn’t quite to El Paso. Texas is very big.

DAY FOUR (Wednesday)
The next round of wet weather for the desert Southwest, and there certainly aren’t many, usually, will be running into the area on Wednesday morning. There won’t be much rain east of Las Cruces, but there will be a few showers with some elevation wet snow for the entirety of our drive on Wednesday. When you go to Tucson, you probably don’t expect rain, but alas, that’s what we are going to find on this occasion.

Tucson, Arizona

Killeen, Texas to Greensboro, North Carolina

The southern US has been trounced by severe weather lately, from the devastating tornadoes in Nashville and Cookeville, Tennessee, to persistent thunderstorms nearer the Gulf Coast. There is a break in the action, finally, across the region but will it last for our 2 day, 1219 mile route. Will these storms return, or will we be able to manage a steady pace (estimated at 66mph, with a goal of 529 miles in day one)?

DAY ONE (Saturday)

Killeen, TX

A split jet stream over the eastern US is coming together off shore in the Gulf Stream, meaning any and all concerning weather is going to be off shore this weekend. The primary concern between Killeen and Brandon, Mississippi, our destination for the night, will be ensuring that we remember our sunglasses and sunscreen in case we want to sit outside for dinner east of Jackson.

DAY TWO (Sunday)
Brandon, Mississippi, is the home of the WFO for Jackson, and in my opinion is one of the best offices in the country. Too bad the weather is going to be so pleasant while we’re there. High pressure will only consolidate over the southeast, and the drive from Brandon to Greensboro will continue to be pleasant, though in the wake of the strong system now off shore, it might be a little cooler in Greensboro than anywhere else along our drive.

Greensboro, North Carolina

Deltona, Florida to Hattiesburg, Mississippi

I will admit, that I haven’t done a heck of a lot of driving in the southeastern US, so I don’t have a terribly good concept of just how big the spaces are down there. I am a little surprised, I guess is what I am saying, that Deltona and Hattiesburg are only 610 miles apart, and the drive can be done in just one day. The pace will be a brisk 70mph, owing the fact, I guess, that the only major towns we will bypass are Tallahassee and Mobile, which I guess aren’t beset by traffic.

Deltona, Florida

The weather in Deltona today is quite nice, and there really isn’t anything on its way that suggests that will change for the next 24 hours or so. TYhe start of our drive, therefore, looks pretty great, pretty swift and incident free. Unfrotunately, an area of low pressure developing over Ontario, of all places, is draping a cold front south along the Mississippi River, and it will be inching into the Tennessee Valley as we get going on Monday. Now, the cold front will not reach the coast or I-10 at any point, but the flow feeding the boundary will lead to some afternoon showers and storms from the Florida Peninsula west to Hattiesburg. The shower activity is most possible beyond Tallahassee, but doesn’t become likely until we reach Mobile. The rain won’t last all night, so Hattiesburg should dry up by nightfall. Of course if we want to spend any more time in Hattiesburg than just one night, we might need to make sure our plans are of the “indoor” variety.

Hattiesburg, Mississippi