Providence, Rhode Island to San Antonio, Texas

We are going to head right into the heat here in the dog days of summer. There will be a point where we have to pass through some storms to get from moderately more tranquil weather in New England to the steamy south, but where will it happen along our 2013 mile journey? And when, over the 4 day trek? As you might be able to establish, we will cover a bit more than 500 miles a day (519, actually) while traveling at a pace just shy of 65mph, which is somewhat slow, thanks to the tangled web of the east coast, and not a fear of impending thunderstorms.

Providence, Rhode Island

DAY ONE (Tuesday)
Naturally, the feature first expected to impact our journey will be a weak shortwave trough moving out of the Great Lakes. Why is this great? Because I’m being sarcastic, and this will be difficult to forecast around. There is consensus that we will be dry through the New York City area, but then it becomes a little dodgier. I think the model that brings a lot of rain to Pennsylvania is doing so because of poor resolution. I think it’s going to generally be mostly cloudy with some isolated spots of rain, but maybe not enough to even turn the wipers on. These dots will be possible for the rest of the journey, though becoming less likely as we pass into Virginia. The day will end in New Market, Virginia, in the northern part of the state.

DAY TWO (Wednesday)
Another wave moving into the Great Lakes is going to carry with it a bit more weight. Inflow towards the low might lead to some fog and haze in the Appalachians and Smokey Mountains, but the potential for heavy thunderstorms will arise in Tennessee. Not widespread, destructive thunderstorms, mind you, but isolated, pop up showers and storms of questionable coverage. The strongest storms will stay west of the Appalachians, and coverage will begin to wane as a strong batch of storms erupts over northern Missouri late in the afternoon. We’ll make it to Reece City, Alabama, northeast of Gadsden.

DAY THREE (Thursday)
I’m not in the market for going out on an island to predict tropical storms, but I will say, there looks like a week area of low pressure developing over the western Gulf through the middle of the week. Alabama will stay dry on Thursday morning, but some scattered showers will pop up fairly early in Mississippi, and we should be soaked through southern Louisiana. Thunderstorms are likely, but I would be surprised if any of this activity is severe. We’ll stop just west of Lafayette, in Scott, Louisiana.

DAY FOUR (Friday)
That at times steady rain, with a few embedded thunderstorms, will continue through western Louisiana, and may even remain a concern as deep into Texas as Houston, but after we reach the western suburbs, I think we are in the clear. Just in time for more oppressive heat! At least there will be a few clouds every here and there, but not enough to make things feel significantly diffeent in San Antonio than they did in Providence.

San Antonio, Texas

Morgantown, West Virginia to Birmingham, Alabama

Today we embark on a 2-day, 677-mile trek through the Appalachians to the Deep South. We could probably get this one in one very long day, but we’re gonna take our time and enjoy some scenery!

DAY ONE

High pressure is found over the OH and TN Valleys, keeping much of the region dry into the Central and Southern Appalachians. A sunny day is expected as we head south out of Morgantown through WV and through western Virginia. Continued pleasant but hot conditions are anticipated for the rest of the day as we end this leg in Knoxville.

DAY TWO

As high pressure continues to control the region, more sunny skies and dry conditions are expected for the rest of the trip. Temperatures are expected to hit the triple digits as we head past Chattanooga into Alabama and eventually into Birmingham, but at least the trip will be dry!

Tallahassee, Florida to Grand Forks, North Dakota

Today we embark on a 3-day, 1,687-mile cross-country trip. However, we’re not going coast to coast, we’re going from the Gulf to the Great Plains! Let’s see what the next few days has in store for us as we make our way from Tallahassee to Grand Forks.

DAY ONE

Quiet conditions are expected for our departure from Tallahassee in the morning. As we pass by Montgomery midday, a few isolated showers and thunderstorms look to develop in the region, but most of that should be off to the east of the route. Dry weather should persist for the rest of the day as we pull into Nashville for the night

DAY TWO

Quiet conditions are anticipated for the start of the second day, though as we head northwestward on I-24 into KY, there could be a couple isolated showers during the late morning hours. We’ll pass by Paducah and head north towards Champaign, with partly to mostly cloudy skies along the route. Dry weather persists throughout the day as we pass Champaign and continue north towards Rockford, our stop for the night. There could be some isolated shower activity as we pull in, but thunderstorms might be seen off to the northwest.

DAY THREE

Low pressure shifting through WI and IL to start the day could make for a cloudy and showery morning as we head north towards Madison. Thunderstorm activity, if it’s already started, should be off to the east so that’s some good fortune for us as we start this long day. Dry conditions are expected through the midday and afternoon hours along I-94 through WI towards the Twin Cities, though don’t be surprised if a late-afternoon shower pops up as we make our way into MN. As we continue along I-94 past St. Cloud towards Fargo, dry conditions are expected once again and remain so for the rest of the trip into Grand Forks!

Punta Gorda, Florida to Bridgeport, Connecticut

I know how great vacation can be, but driving to Florida along the East Coast seems like such a challenge. But then, getting to La Guardia from Bridgeport doesn’t seem like a lot of fun either, so a 2 and a half day trip it is! We’ll meander over the course of 2 1/2 days at a pace of 62.6mph, which as you should know by now, isn’t very fast. We will cover barely over 500 miles a day on days one and two, with the rest of our 1284 mile journey reserved for Saturday.

Punta Gorda, Florida

DAY ONE (Thursday)
This is the rare August in which the southeast is somewhat synoptically active. There are a lot of showers and storms in the northeastern Gulf as high pressure sinks into the Carolinas. The daily convection in the southeast will likely not make it further north than Gainesville, which means that if we start early enough, we should stay dry all day. Well, save for the sweat we break out into every time we stop for gas. It’s still going to be hot and humid, until we reach Gable, South Carolina, southeast of Sumter. This blog is very into Sumter right now.

DAY TWO (Friday)
High pressure won’t last long in the face of August heat and humidity in the southeast. Alas, a blob of moisture will waft north into Georgia and the Carolinas. We should be sneaking into Virginia by the time it really gets active, but with the moisture wrapping into the eastern exposures of the Shenandoahs and Blue Ridge, don’t be surprised to see some late afternoon haze and clouds, even as far north as Havre du Grace, Maryland, at the northern end of Chesapeake Bay, and our terminus for the day.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
Further north, high pressure often has a greater toehold, and that will be the case on Saturday. A wedge of dry air associated with low pressure in Canada will make itself at home in between the moisture blob to the south and that same area of low pressure. It’s going to be a bit of an intense day of driving, as we pass through the southern and eastern parts of the Philadelphia metro, and then right through the heart of New York, but it should be worth it, as Bridgeport is in for a fantastic start to the weekend.

Bridgeport, Connecticut

Pittsfield, Massachusetts to Huntsville, Alabama

This drive will straddle the Appalachians, and despite the nexus generally in the Eastern US, we will duck a lot of the traffic trouble. We’re going to take 2 days with a total distance of 1,066 miles. We’ll average 66mph, and will travel 528 miles, a little less than half, on our first day of travel.

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

DAY ONE (Friday)
It’s been a bit active in the eastern United States, but we are looking at a break in the action, at least in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic tomorrow. A perturbation rolling through the Great Lakes tomorrow will bring some rain to interior New England initially, and reaching the coast by late afternoon. By that time, though, we’ll be well into the Potomac Valley, on our way to Mint Spring, Virginia, which is near Staunton.

DAY TWO (Saturday)
The sunshine will continue while we are to the east of the Appalachians, but as we crest them, we will also begin to intersect the moisture flow from the Gulf. Our drive through Tennessee will be dotted with rain and thunderstorms triggered by flow sneaking up the hillsides, and we will have to navigate this threat for the remainder of our drive. There will be more widespread gaps in precipitation the nearer we are to to Hunstville, thanks to the slightly flatter terrain, but the storms will be based nearer to the surface, which suggests a bit more intensity when we are in them. And gosh dang, will it be hot.

Pocatello, Idaho to Manchester, New Hampshire

It is a hot and active time in the northern US right now. Where there are no storms, there is blistering heat, but where there are storms, the heat abates. What will we contend with? The heat? The storms? Certainly the humidity? The only way to know is to look into the future, as we forecast for this 4 1/2 day trip, which will cover 2,463 miles. We will collect 532 miles a day. at a modest 66.5mph

DAY ONE (Tuesday)

Pocatello, Idaho

DAY ONE (Thursday)
While things have been a bit tumultuous this week, the biggest, baddest area of low pressure in the Plains is lifting towards Hudson Bay, as though it were a regular winter feature. This will provide a modicum of relieve for waterlogged farmers in the northern Plains, and a great deal of relief for anyone navigating the wilds of Idaho and Wyoming, as we will. There won’t be much to get in our way as we trek eastward, stopping in Egbert, Wyoming by night’s end.

DAY TWO (Friday)
Flow over the mountains will continue to be westerly, and as it ever does, it will fill in the gap behind the previous system with another lee trough. It will be tapped of moisture, though, and will function only to accelerate the warm air from the Gulf to the Plains. Hot and stick in Nebraska, and western Iowa, where we will alight upon Wiota, west of Des Moines, for the night.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
That advancing area of low pressure will start causing problems on our Saturday drive. The GFS, generally agreed to be more reliable in the longer term is indicating widespread precipitation from Iowa to Illinois and Indiana, though I suspect that is a resolution issue. Instead, it’s going to be hot and humid all day, with only a stray thunderstorm here or there. Granted, those storms will likely dump a lot of rain where ever they do show up, which will severely cramp our style. The drive will end in Howe, Indiana, off of the Indiana Toll Road. when we get there depends on how bound up a stray thunderstorm makes Chicago.

DAY FOUR (Sunday)
That area of low pressure from earlier in the trip, the one that we noted would be headed towards Hudson Bay? Well, he’s still going to be there, just hanging out. This will lead to much of the eastern third of the country being active, though not in a terribly organized way. Scattered thunderstorms cropping up in the heat of the day, without any semblance of a plan. This will require us to be vigilant with the wipers from Howe to Syracuse, though there is a chance those showers start tapering off as we role into Syracuse for the night.

DAY FIVE (Monday)
The mishmash of showery humid air will organize a bit to start next week. In New England and New York, this can be a bit more dangerous because of all the tree coverage. A bit of wind can block roadways for hours with the debris. don’t be surprised to see extra traffic through Albany and on to Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.

Manchester, New Hampshire

Canton, Ohio to Dubuque, Iowa

One day. One long day, and four states, those are the stats on this Midwestern trek. It will take a little over 9 hours, albeit those will be traffic slogged in Chicago, to cover 608 mles. How bad will traffic be? Google suggests an alternate route through Indianapolis that is less than an hour longer, but covers 72 more miles. The pace of our route is 66.4mph, which doesn’t seem daunting, but it does seem optimistic.

Canton, Ohio, via VisitCanton.com

Low pressure in the Great Lakes is bringing some northerly flow to the Northern Plains and cycling in batches of rain and isolated thunderstorms to most of our route. The low is shifting north and a little east, however, and by tomorrow, the Ohio and Indiana portions of our journey will be in the clear. A second volley of wet weather will cycle into the region late in the day tomorrow, and while most of the activity will be heavy clouds in northern Illinois, we should expect some rain in spits and starts between Chicago and the Quad Cities, with thinner clouds bout those same spots of rain between Davenport and Dubuque. Not much, but it will be there, probably when you are bringing luggage to your hotel.

By Dirk – originally posted to Flickr as Dubuque Iowa, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7121481

Redding, California to Montgomery, Alabama

Got a long trip from northern CA to the Deep South, covering 2,536 miles, which should take 5 days to cover.

DAY ONE

A broad ridge of high pressure is found over the Great Basin/Four Corners region, which is keeping most of the thunderstorm activity over the Sierras as well as the Rockies in the Four Corners region. Much of the day should be dry and fairly quiet as we travel southward from Redding along I-5 to Sacramento, then along Hwy 99 through much of the Central Valley past Fresno and Bakersfield. Late in the afternoon and evening we’ll cut across the Antelope Valley on 58 before ending our long day in Barstow.

DAY TWO

Going to be spending all day on I-40 as we head east out of Barstow and eventually make our way into northwestern AZ by midday. Some spotty thunderstorms are expected to get going over the mountains as we make our way towards Flagstaff, so by the evening hours some of this activity looks to roll off of them, which could give us a bit of a wet welcome heading past Winslow and Holbrook before ending our night in Gallup, NM.

DAY THREE

Slightly shorter day today, but still a hike across New Mexico as we continue our tour of I-40. However, storms are expected to flare up over the mountains in the central part of the state, so if we don’t get past them in time, we’ll be needing to turn on our wipers as we pass Albuquerque and eventually Santa Rosa. If we can get out ahead of the storms, it should be smooth sailing into Amarillo, TX, where we’ll end the night. Don’t be surprised if some late evening storms roll into town however, might keep us up a bit.

DAY FOUR

Our tour of I-40 comes to an end as we head southeast on 280 out of Amarillo towards Wichita Falls. Unfortunately a boundary settling across the Central Plains eastward is interacting with moisture coming up from the Gulf, and widespread showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop during the midday hours and persist well into the evening. Some thunderstorm activity could get potent as we pass by the Dallas-Fort Worth area, hopefully we’re able to dodge it as we continue onwards and end the long day in Shreveport, LA.

DAY FIVE

Looks like it will be another day of dodging showers and storms as low pressure shifts into the Mid-MS River Valley, increasing the chances of storms from AR/LA eastward into AL/GA as the day progresses. I don’t expect a washout, but you will have to keep an eye on the sky as we push through MS on I-20 past Jackson and eventually into Alabama before finally ending our trip in Montgomery.

El Centro, California to Lakeland, Florida

This is a drive I can get behind. It will be a 4 day drive along the southern tier of the US. The drive will cover 2331 miles, and we will cover ground at approximately 68.5mph, which is a decent clip. That decent clip also means a robust 548 miles traveled on days 1-3, with a long day in the southeast on day 4. they drive fast in Florida, so I bet we save some time.

El Centro, California

DAY ONE (Saturday)
For a drive in the southwest, our route will take us through a couple of pretty large areas, as we will encounter the sweltering Phoenix and moderately cooler Tucson on our way to New Mexico. Precipitation is not expected, and population will be minimal between the towns in question. The terrain in central New Mexico may aid in the development of a few showers and storms, but I think those will all remain east of where we will stop, exit 116 between Akela and Las Cruces.

DAY TWO (Sunday)
The dry line and the monsoon will be the two most identifiable features on our route on Sunday, but the late in the day develoment of these two features, and the lack of moisture available to them because of a batch of energy in the northeast means we will thread this needle without much threat for precipitation. We’ll make it to Kerrville, on the outskirts of San Antonio to finish the day.

DAY THREE (Monday)
The tail of a cold front will wrap around an advancing bubble of high pressure on Monday, and will touch off a few squirts of rain and isolated thunderstorms along the Texas/Louisiana border as we approach. It looks the wettest on the Louisiana side of the line, and the last couple of hours to Denham Springs, just east of Baton Rouge, bring a chance of a wet windshield.

DAY FOUR (Tuesday)
This isn’t something we see very often, especially this time of year, but high pressure is expected to settle into the southeastern US by early next week. Hot? Yes. Dry? Also yes, even in Lakeland. There might be a stray spritz left over in Denham Springs, but it should be good weather to enjoy the lakes of central Florida.

Lakeland, Florida

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to El Centro, California

This has been a challenging week. Tornadoes have now struck in several places, most famously in Jefferson City, Missouri and Dayton, Ohio. This 5 day trek, covering 2,585 miles will cover nearly all of the regions that were most heavily impacted. We’ll parcel this day into 530 mile segments, with a pace of 66mph. I thought it would be quicker given the surfeit of interstate we will cover, but safety first. hopefully the tornado threat is lessening as we traverse the central Plains.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

DAY ONE (Thursday)
Eastern Pennsylvania hasn’t been safe from the tornadoes either, with a twister northeast of Philadelphia last night. There is severe weather in the offing again today, however by tomorrow, when we start on our way westward, the system will finally be abating a bit. The rain won’t be any less, unfortunately, as the strong area of low pressure causing all this nastiness will occlude south into the Ohio Valley. Some rain, thunder and maybe another rogue severe (not as widespread!) thunderstorm will be possible through Pennsylvania in the morning. Rain will be heaviest on the western exposures of the Appalachians, but it will be tapering off through eastern Ohio. We should be dry by Columbus, and pleasantly cool in Huber Heights, a suburb of Dayton, though not as heavily damaged by the Memorial Day tornado. It will be our stop on Thursday night.

DAY TWO (Friday)
The weather is going to take a dramatic turn for the better on Friday. There might be a rogue thunderstorms, especially in the afternoon across Illinois, because we can’t just leave it well enough alone, but they will be garden variety, pop up storms on the back end of a broad spring cyclone. We’ll make it to Sarcoxie, Missouri in the southwest part of the state on a hot, humid afternoon.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
You might think that the drive from southwest Missouri, through Oklahoma and into the Texas Panhandle would bring the best chance for significant severe weather, and with the way things have gone lately, it would seem even more likely that you’d be right. By Saturday, though, the tail of the cold front that has caused so many problems will lie through Kansas, leaving us with some warmer, humid but dry conditions for the day. As the day turns to night, it looks like instability will take over and some terrific lightning producing, if not severe thunderstorms will pick up across the state. Not that this should bother us, we’ll be in the Texas Panhandle, spending the night in Pampa by the time things get going in the Sooner State.

DAY FOUR
We will likely see and hear some overnight convection associated with the dry line in the Texas Panhandle overnight, but it will also be associated with cooling aloft. That cooling is going to be gone when the sun rises, and after a short drive to the west, we will be on the dry side of the dry line anyways. The air will be clear in New Mexico, and it’s tough to find a good stopping point in northeast Arizona, but there is a travel center about 15 miles from Chambers that will suit us fine.

DAY FIVE
The most significant change we will be the elevation. The Petrified Forest is fairly high up there, and we will descend towards Phoenix, and then cut off towards El Centro. No significant weather is expected, but El Centro is pretty stinkin’ hot.

Imperial Valley, with El Centro at the bottom left