Green Bay, Wisconsin to Columbia, South Carolina

The drive from eastern Wisconsin to central South Carolina, if taken today, would be slowed mightily by rain gripping a wide swath of the eastern United States. We will start this two day trek tomorrow, though, so nothing to fear! The drive will cover 1,013 miles, which we will in turn cover at a pace of 65.3mph. The second day will be a little bit shorter, by a half hour or so, and our target distance on Tuesday will be 523 miles. all very manageable, yes?

DAY ONE (Tuesday)

Green Bay, Wisconsin (By Chris Rand)

Low pressure moving through the eastern portion of the country is gradually unraveling today, and will continue to tomorrow. That means that precipitation which was translating quickly earlier in the week is slowing way down. None of it is reaching into Wisconsin, so the drive south towards the Illinois line should be drama free, but when we hit the Windy City, there is a pretty good chance it will be snowing. The snow will continue in this inverted trough south through Indiana, with a gradual change to rain south of Indianapolis. Precipitation won’t be heavy, but it won’t need to be to slow travel down. We’ll reach the eastern suburbs of Louisville, particularly the town of Middletown, by the end of the day.

DAY TWO (Wednesday)
The back end of that system will swing to the south overnight. The dry slot will disappear from west of the Appalachians, and the light snow will return to our route, and last through our drive in Kentucky. We will turn south at Lexington and there might be a window of dry air by the time we reach Knoxville, which should last us through the rain shadow afforded by the Smokey Mountains from Asheville to Spartanburg, but the cold front associated with this low will start to redevelop on Wednesday afternoon. More rain will move into Columbia from the south, and will be there to greet us upon our arrival.

Columbia, South Carolina

Visalia, California to San Jose, California

Just a quick little trek today, as we head about 3 hours from the Central Valley to the Bay Area. Such a change in geography over only 191 miles. We’re going to cover the ground at a pace of 61.9mph. That’s not very fast, but these short trips aren’t known for their high rates of speed. Nor are California roads.

Visalia, California

Fortunately for our quick drive on Monday morning, the pattern, already pretty good, is going to get even better on the West Coast. A ridge is setting up over California, which may lead to a bit of a breeze, but not much else. The big concern will be traffic, but we’ll get to San Jose around lunch time, so hopefully, it won’t be bad!

San Jose, California

Weirton, West Virginia to St. Joseph, Missouri

Weirton lies along the banks of the Ohio River, while St. Joseph is on the Missouri. Maybe they aren’t the most famous towns on their respective rivers, but they do offer a chance to get up close to them. It will require a day and a half drive over the course of 832 miles. Our first day will conclude 518.7 miles in, slowed by travelling off-interstate to a pace of 64.8mph.

DAY ONE (Tuesday)

Weirton, West Virginia

High pressure has nosed into the western Great Lakes, and will suppress much rising air, which usually just means that there won’t be any showers or storms in the area. This is true, but for our purposes, it means an inversion across much of the region as well. This suggests there will be A) low clouds and B) morning fog, thanks to the high moisture content in the region, thanks to snow melt and a lack of motivation to clear out. As the day goes on, expect improved visibility and maybe even a bit of sun in the afternoon over Illinois and Indiana. We’ll stop in Buffalo, Illinois, between Springfield and Decatur, for our sole break of the trip.

DAY TWO (Wednesday)
A weak feature sliding along the Texas Gulf Coast will extend an inverted trough to the Show Me State, which means a few wet flakes across the region. Given the temperatures, it seems likely that this will lead to some especially icy roads in northern Missouri, even if there isn’t a lot of accumulation. I’m concerned about the threat for some freezing mist in the morning. Drive safely!

St. Joseph, Missouri

Madison, Wisconsin to Weirton, West Virginia

That, my friends, is a lot of W’s. We are going to trek through the Great Lakes right in the middle of winter. Does this mean Lake effect snow? Maybe! There is only one way o find out, I suppose. Our drive till take one long day, covering 606 miles, bogged down by the Windy City, which will let us move at a nearly glacial pace of 62mph. We’ll get there. Sometime.

Madison, Wisconsin

It’s not Lake effect snow that will be the problem on our Saturday drive, but rather just standard, regular back side of an area of low pressure snow that will be an issue. It’s not going to be heavy, save, perhaps for the stretch of northern Indiana downwind of Lake Michigan. the snow will be wet, too, and well trafficked roads might not even ice over with the snow. But any snow, especially in a metropolitan area like Chicago, is going to really slow down travel. Snow will still be possible across Ohio, but it will be a misty, flaky brand of snow that won’t accumulate and will be tough to wipe off your windshield without the help of washer fluid. Weirton awaits, whether or not you can get the grime off your windshield.

Weirton, West Virginia

Prescott, Arizona to Madison, Wisconsin

I think this might be the first road trip of the year, right? It will be a 3 day trip through the heart of the country, covering 1689 miles at a pace of about 65mph. That will mean the first two days will be complete after just short of 520 miles on days 1 and 2, with a 10 hour day coming on Sunday. 2020, here we come!

DAY ONE (Friday)

Prescott, Arizona

We are headed for a trip through the southern Rockies at the right time. Atmospheric instability is confined to the central Plains for the most part, with a dose in the northern Rockies, leaving Arizona and New Mexico fairly unperturbed. We’ll check in on Flagstaff and Albuquerque on our eastward journey, stopping west of Santa Rosa, New Mexico to end our day and our work week.

DAY TWO (Saturday)
As we continue to the east, we’ll slice through a couple of Panhandles before spending the rest of the day in southern Kansas. I don’t recall ever spending much time in this part of the world on a road trip, and I especially don’t remember cutting through Wichita to get anywhere. Usually, it’s just a bypass on I-35. Not this time! Instead, we will enjoy an increasingly warm day, free of any atmospheric interference before we reach El Dorado, where we will end our day. Along the way, appreciate Greensburg, a city that has had to completely rebuild after a devastating tornado in 2007.

DAY THREE (Sunday)
Sure, this day will be the longest, and it will also be the gloomiest, with clouds becoming much more likely thanks to a combination of general troughiness* over the Plains, and the melting snow north of Kansas City leading to clouds and fog along most of the route. On the other hand, at least the car won’t be unbearably hot because of the penetrative sun, and we will get to see Des Moines! And Dubuque! Both are very nice towns. So is Madison, for those unaware.

* Not an actual science word

Miami, Florida to Hattiesburg, Mississippi

It seems like these two towns should be nearer to one another, but in fact, it’s a day and a half drive between Miami, way at the south end of Florida, and Hattiesburg. To give you an idea of how big Florida is, our drive covers 817 miles in total, and probably 3/4ths of it are in the Sunshine State. We will do 2/3rds of the driving on day one, which will account for 542 miles at the Floridian pace of 67.8mph, It’s a long ways from Miami to any other state, so be patient.

DAY ONE (Saturday)

Miami, Florida

A long, dangling front extends from a low over Newfoundland. If that gives you any idea, by the time the front has reached north Florida, it is quite weak, and as we drive north, it may only bring a few clouds over Orlando. North and west from the Ocala and Gainesville area, however, we will probably note a change in the air. Somewhat cooler air is possible, but more significantly, it will feel drier than Miami. We’ll make it to Grand Ridge in the Panhandle to call our day complete.

DAY TWO (Sunday)
High pressure is developing over the East Coast this weekend, and guidance is suggesting that the return flow will be strongest in the Mobile area. There might be some light rain showers as a result, but more likely, it will just be some puffy cumulus clouds. Hattiesburg won’t have to deal with any of that, but the afternoon will be getting warmer and soupier after we arrive.

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

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

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

Bowling Green, Kentucky to Sebastian, Florida

Hello, and happy weekend! If you are ready for this southeastern US trek, then I am too. It’s an 837 mile trek, and if we did it in 1 day, it would take 12 hours. Possible, sure, but I think we would all prefer a more relaxed day and a half pace. We’ll cover the ground at a clip of nearly 70mph, which is a great advertisement for I-75.Our full day of travel will conclude after about 558 miles.

DAY ONE (Monday)

Bowling Green, Kentucky

We are picking a great day to depart from Bowling Green. Another reinforcing bolt of Atctic air is pressing into the center of the country, which will bring more wind and rain to Kentucky and Tennessee by the time Monday is thorugh. Fortunately, it will get to the route between Bowling Green and Chattanooga well after we have reached Georgia. The Peach State will still be it’s regular sultry self, with a bit of added humidity ahead of the strong emerging cold front in the Ohio Valley. We’ll be in the safety of Florida by the time the day ends, spending the night in Jasper, not far across the state line. Good thing bad weahter never comes to Florida.

DAY TWO (Tuesday)
That strong cold front will continue to sink to the southeast, it will lose most of it’s on shore mustard. Sure, there will be wind and some mid level clouds, but most of the actual rain showers will lie offshore. We should outpace the cold front, but a head wind will be gusting towards the lower pressure, so be sure to grip the steering wheel securely. Always good advice when driving in Florida, actually.

Sebastian, Florida

Auburn, Alabama to Fond du Lac, Wisconson

Today’s journey takes us along I-65, one of my old favorite arteries, running from Chicago to Montgomery, but we will end up both north and south of that highway by the time all is said and done. It’s a 2 day trek covering 931 miles. The first day will be longer, concluding after about 502 miles. We’re going to see some weather, so hopefully we make good time outside of the storms.

DAY ONE (Thursday)

Auburn, Alabama

The weather is going to be nice in Alabama tomorrow morning, as warm Gulf air is drawn northward, taking the edge off of the autumn by just a little bit. Nice! Of course, the reason it is going to move to the north is a massive, nasty cold front at the leading edge of a strong ridge of high pressure sinking into the Great Lakes. The resulting boundary will be in our path, starting with a few rogue showers and thunderstorms north of Birmingham, with heavy rain and wind, perhaps even severe, in Tennessee and southern Kentucky. The trailing air mass is going to be cold an dense, so the cut off from rain to clear air will be abrupt. Expect a change in wardrobe if we need to stop anywhere north of Bowling Green, Kentucky, The night will be clear when we call it a night in Scottsburg, Indiana, north of Louisville.

DAY TWO (Friday)
While the rain we see on Thursday is going to be a pain in the butt, it will come with a good navigational consequences, Sure, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin will be awfully chilly, they will also be sunny and dry. With a fresh bit of snow in Wisconsin, keep those sunglasses at the ready.

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin (C) Bryan Penberthy