Naples, Florida to Kingston, New York

We’re taking a trip from the Gulf Coast to the Hudson Valley between Albany and NYC. It’s a 1388 mile journey, surprisingly long, if you ask me, and will take us nearly three full days of driving. The first two days will net us only 496 miles, primarily because of our glacial pace of 62mph. I guess grandpa is driving us back from his winter home.

DAY ONE

Part of the reason this drive is so long is that we are following almost the entire Florida Peninsula, which takes about 400 miles on its own. The extra 100 miles will take us to Savannah, Georgia, which is our destination on day one. Models are indicating that the seabreeze will be most active for Florida on the eastern side of the Peninsula tomorrow, which is great news for us, since our route takes us on the Gulf side. We will likely be just fine from Naples to about Ocala. Thunderstorms will be more problematic from then to Gainesville, and becoming more dispersed through Jacksonville and on to Savannah. Of course, this is summer in the southeast, so don’t be surprised if a storm does crop up over that tail end of the trip. It happens.

DAY TWO.
A cold front is sweeping through the east tomorrow, and is often the case, the tail end will stall through the eastern Carolinas. The most widespread thunderstorm activity will be in South Carolina, which is good, because it isn’t likely to be fully developed as we drive through. Still, the heaviest rain of the day will likely be between Lake Marion in South Carolina and the North Carolina border. After that, we should really dry out as we head through the rest of North Carolina and southern Virginia. Our day will finally end in Ladysmith, Virginia, which is between Richmond and Fredericksburg.

DAY THREE
The next little wave will be rolling into the east coast as we travel through the bustling megalopolis. We should stay dry, but there is a chance at some isolated drizzle and mostly cloudy skies virtually through the whole day. Don’t let that deter you though, because the last hour and our arrival in Kingston will be quite lovely.

The fickle monsoon

As suspected, the weather in Salt Lake City was largely dictated by a typically monsoonal flow. A HOT monsoonal flow. There was an unexpected splash of rain on Monday that threw off some precipitation forecasts and knocked the high down a few degrees. Dry air allowed the low temperature to register a full 10 degrees cooler than some had forecast on Tuesday. Salt Lake was a typically difficult mountain forecast that the Weather Service came in on top with, solely because they were the only ones to even hit at rain on Monday.
Actuals – Monday – trace or rain, High 96, Low 70
Tuesday – Thunderstorms reported but not measured, High 94, Low 64

Grade: C

Barbados

Our trip around the world takes us to the Caribbean, not very far from today’s forecast in the grand scheme of things. Barbados is north of Venezuela and separated from the rest of the Lesser Antilles by a few hundred miles, as the island sits east of St. Lucia. It’s position means that it is often the first site to see hurricanes marching from the coast of Africa into the Caribbean. Their rainy season lasts for the latter half of the year, essentially through the hurricane season when tropical waves are marching across the Atlantic. The hurricanes typically aren’t fully developed when they arrive in Barbados, but it’s a good benchmark, seeing what they may do when they arrive at other populated areas of North America.
This beacon out in the middle of the sea alerting the continent to potential hurricanes does have a weather service, Barbados Meteorological Services, though presently their site isn’t functioning properly at present.

Naples, Florida

Ah Naples, my home away from home. (I wish)

At 353PM, ET, Naples was reporting a temperature of 91 degrees, despite an onshore flow, and partly cloudy skies, perhaps reflective of the flow. There was very little activity to speak of over the entirety of the Peninsula, and the Gulf and Caribbean were surprisingly quiet as well. There was a convergence of winds north of Naples that may eventually touch off some convection.
With no real tropical forcing anywhere in the Caribbean or locations being monitored for development, there doesn’t seem to be much to separate the next two days from any other by the standards of Naples. A weak high pressure over the Gulf of Mexico will generate a northerly flow through most of the Florida Peninsula, which will keep things quieter than is typically expected for the next couple of days.
Tomorrow – Isolated afternoon storms, High 92, Low 78
Thursday – Chance of some storms in the afternoon, High 91, Low 77

TWC: Tomorrow – Sun and clouds mixed with a slight chance of thunderstorms during the afternoon. High 92, Low 78
Thursday – Isolated thunderstorms. High 93, Low 78

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny with a shower or thunderstorm in spots in the afternoon High 92, Low 78
Thursday – Mostly sunny with an afternoon and evening thunderstorm High 90, Low 77

NWS: Tomorrow – A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Partly cloudy, High 93, low 79
Thursday – A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Partly cloudy High 94, Low 79

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny with a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 88, Low 78
Thursday – Partly Sunny with a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 89, Low 79

It should be noted that the text in Weatherbug’s forecast doesn’t match the numbers. I don’t know what happened. Also, since I started this forecast, a storm went up quickly inland from Naples, as I sort of prognosticated. Here is the unusually serene Caribbean satellite.

Salt Lake City, Utah to Gainesville, Florida

Today we travel from Salt Lake City to Gainesville. Well, it’ll take four days but if the Utes and Gators were ever to play a high-stakes football game, at least the fan base would know where to travel! This trip will cover 2,207 miles over 4 days. So let’s all hop into the minivan and travel to the Sunshine State!

DAY ONE

It’ll be a somewhat cloudy start to the day in Salt Lake City, as some remements of overnight monsoonal showers and thunderstorms lift northwards over the region. While no showers are expected in the area as we head eastward on I-80 into Wyoming. The sun should break out fully as the morning progresses and the land heats up, but as with the typical monsoon routine, thunderstorms should start blowing up around midday. The tail end of a cold front that’s pushing through the Northern Plains will be the focus of showers and thunderstorm activity, most of which should stay out over the Dakotas and over Northern WY. Scattered thunderstorms are quite possible as we roll through Laramie towards Cheyenne, and a few should continue to hang around the region as evening approaches and we continue on into Western Nebraska towards Sidney, our first stop of the night. No severe storms are expected today, they should all stay well off to the north and east of today’s leg.

DAY TWO

As the tail end of the cold front pulls away from the Upper Midwest and high pressure starts to build in, it should be a fairly nice start to the day as our trip along I-80 continues on its’ merry way. The base of the high pressure will continue to push down over NE and Western IA, keeping partly cloudy skies overhead as we roll through Kearney and Grand Island by early afternoon. Overall, it should be a rather pleasant day through and through as we turn southward and head into Kansas City, our stop for the second night.

DAY THREE

The main dome of high pressure will continue eastward overnight into the Western Great Lakes, with the base of it pushing down into the Mid-MS Valley. With another system developing over the Northern Plains, a weak boundary will set up from southeast MO northwestward into the Dakotas. The start of the day will be nice, with us starting our way over on I-70 towards St. Louis. Clouds will build through the late-morning hours as a few thunderstorms attempt to develop over the region, with better chances as we make our way along I-24 to kick off the afternoon past Mt. Vernon, IL. The afternoon will continue to get a bit drearier though, as numerous showers and thunderstorms are expected to ignite over western KY and TN into the early evening hours. The windshield wipers should have gotten a pretty good workout by the time we roll into Nashville, our stop for the third night.

DAY FOUR

This area of high pressure has been rather kind to us for the most part the last couple of days, following us along the US and getting our days off to good starts. Today won’t be any different either, with it building southward into the TN Valley and Southern Appalachaians while the main center remains over the Central Great Lakes. The cold front mentioned previously will have pushed off the Eastern Seaboard mostly, but the tail end of it will have shifted to southeast GA/FL Panhandle and westward along the Gulf Coast. This axis will be the main area for showers and thunderstorms, which we won’t get to until well in the afternoon after making our way though Chattanooga by mid-morning and Atlanta by midday. Once we get south of Macon is where we’ll start to see increasing clouds and a few scattered storms, which we’ll have to dodge for the remainder of the day as we pull into Gainesville. Time to do the Gator Chomp!

Gainesville, Florida

Off to the Sunshine State we go, there summer thunderstorms normally rule the landscape. I also have family that lives in the Gainesville area, will they be able to ward off the summer storms or get some afternoon soakings traveling about the city?

At 12:53PM EDT, the temperature at Gainesville was already a toasty 93 degrees with a few clouds overhead. As I mentioned in my Salt Lake City forecast, broad high pressure continues to rule the Southeastern US, with a cold front slowly sagging through the Carolinas up into the Mid-MS Valley. This front will be falling apart over the next couple of days, but will be the focus of showers and thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening hours. While this broad ridge of high pressure will keep the front well to the north of the region, very hot temperatures are expected over the FL Peninsula. Scattered thunderstorms are expected both days, but mainly over the western half of the peninsula since a general east to west flow should be in place. Gainesville will probably escape the brunt of the thunderstorm activity, but certainly can’t rule out a couple stray thunderstorms will soak some Gator summertime activities.

Tuesday: Isolated thunderstorms possible. High 95, Low 73.
Wednesday: Slightly better chance of thunderstorms. High 96, Low 74.

TWC: Tuesday: Isolated afternoon thunderstorms. High 96, Low 75.
Wednesday: A few scattered thunderstorms. High 95, Low 76.

AW: Tuesday: Scattered thunderstorms expected. High 94, Low 73.
Wednesday: A few less thunderstorms possible. High 93, Low 74.

NWS: Tuesday: A few early evening thunderstorms possible. High 95, Low 73.
Wednesday: More scattered thunderstorms expected. High 95, Low 74.

WB: Tuesday: Scattered thunderstorms possible. High 95, Low 74.
Wednesday: More scattered thunderstorms possible. High 95, Low 74.

A few thunderstorms are already popping off towards the west. Will they see some farther east today? Time will tell…

Salt Lake City, Utah

At 10:53AM MDT, the temperature was 86 degrees under clear skies. With a mid-level trough parked off the CA coast, and general high pressure camped out over the Southeastern portion of the country, Salt Lake City is caught in no-man’s land with weak flow and systems staying well off to the north. That doesn’t mean SLC won’t be seeing some weather over the next couple of days, however, as it’s monsoon season over the Western US! With the high pressure sitting over the Southeast, more moisture than normal is pushed over the Four Corners and Intermountain West region. Given the hot temperatures that occur on a daily basis throughout the summer, scattered thunderstorms are a daily occurrence. Most of the action for Monday will be towards the south and east of Utah’s capital, but Tuesday will see a better shot at storms creeping towards the city. Monday, however, will be the hotter of the days, with the mercury flirting with triple digits.

Monday: Increasing clouds in afternoon, hot. High 99, Low 69.
Tuesday: Scattered afternoon thunderstorms. High 92, Low 70.

TWC: Monday: Mostly sunny. High 97, Low 71.
Tuesday: Partly cloudy, afternoon thunderstorms possible. High 91, Low 70.

AW: Monday: Some sun, increasing clouds. High 100, Low 70.
Tuesday: Afternoon thunderstorms. High 95, Low 71.

NWS: Monday: Isolated thunderstorms possible. High 97, Low 73.
Tuesday: Scattered thunderstorms. High 93, Low 74.

WB: Monday: Partly cloudy. High 95, Low 72.
Tuesday: Scattered evening thunderstorms. High 91, Low 74.

Mostly clear skies over the region now, with that pesky marine layer still affecting the CA coastline. Beachgoers there will prob want to head to UT to enjoy some sizzling sun!

Soggy Weekend

The system that Ryan mentioned heading for Jackson did pretty much as advertised, bringing a couple bouts of storms to the region Friday and Saturday. Friday saw a couple heavy thunderstorms roll through the area, with gusts upwards of 40mph and dumping over an inch and a half of rain. The cloud cover kept temperatures far lower than most people thought on Saturday, leading the way for TWC to take the top spot. Seems like they can forecast for everywhere except right outside their own building lately.

Friday: 1.65″ of rain in thunderstorms. High 91, Low 73.
Saturday: 0.21″ of rain in thunderstorms. High 84, Low 71.
Forecast grade: B

The Gulf catches a break

We will still have to wait to see what a tropical storm or hurricane will do to the Gulf oil spill. Tropical Storm Bonnie developed over the Bahamas before making landfall in Miami-Dade county in Florida. It moved quickly over the Florida Peninsula, almost entirely unnoticed by most Floridians. It was simply a rainy system that brought a little bit of rain to south Florida and ALMOST knocked Jim Cantore’s hat off.
The fear, then, was that it would track over the oil spill, intensifying the whole to once again become a tropical storm before crashing into New Orleans. It was going to be interesting to see how such a system would affect the slick.
Well, that never happened. Bonnie moved through Florida very quickly, which was part of the reason it’s mark there was so mitigated. She continues to move quickly, which is preventing her from accumulating energy. Additionally, an unfavorable shear environment aloft is hampering the further strengthening of the system, even though Bonnie is over the warm Gulf waters. The result is that the system is now not expected to strengthen much beyond it’s current state. Winds are about 30mph, which isn’t an uncommon wind speed over the Gulf of Mexico even without a tropical system to contend with.
This is a huge break for residents of the Gulf of Mexico. Bonnie will merely be an inconvenience, rather than a disaster.

Showing no fear

I had made a comment about forecasting for Billings that inferred that such a forecast would be difficult. Oh, how wrong I was. Well, that is if you ask The Weather Channel, who had 0 problem with executing a nearly flawless forecast. There was a dash of rain on Friday that threw everything off a bit, but otherwise, it was like they had no idea they were forecasting for the High Plains.
Actuals: Thursday – Trace of rain, High 84, Low 54
Friday – .01 inches of precip, High 79, Low 60

Grade: B

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