Naples, Florida to Beaumont, Texas

Today’s journey will wrap us around the Gulf Coast for a couple of days. It’s a 1054 mile drive, and we will be able to net 533 miles on the first day thanks to a rapid pace of 66mph. Making good time, having a good time. Or something.


An area of low pressure is developing over the center of the country, and doing so rapidly. Our first day will take place entirely in Florida, and it’s a matter of timing for when that cold front comes crashing into the Florida Peninsula. I say we will see some passing clouds, maybe an occasional area of showers until Ocala, when we are due for the initial wave of heavy thunderstorms. We stand the chance of seeing some heavy weather until at least Live Oak, maybe even all the way to Tallahassee. In Florida, these strong thunderstorms are typically windy systems with occasional small tornadoes, so be on the lookout for that, and keep your hands on the wheel. The day will end in Caryville, which is in the Panhandle.

After the heavy weather on our first day in the car, it’s going to be a rather pleasant drive on Monday. Behind a cold front, we’ll have a west-northwest flow that will cut the stifling heat that one might expect along the Gulf Coast. Even the humidity will be down somewhat as we arrive in sunny, beautiful Beaumont.

Monterey Bay Victory

Anthony came back from vacation and immediately forecast for Santa Cruz, right in the state he had recently departed from. He certainly knew what he was doing, as he ended up with the top forecast for the city. There was a small dose of light rain showers on Thursday, but Santa Cruz ended up with a pleasant couple of days in the weather department. (Accuweather tied for the top spot, BTW)
Actuals: Thursday – Trace of rain, High 60, Low 44
Friday -High 63, Low 40

Grade: A

The Week Ahead: 3/28/10-4/3/10

As you can see from the map below, we’ll be crisscrossing the country with our road trips this week (it looks not unlike a fox, if you ask me). I will be leaving on vacation Friday afternoon, so posts that day and into Saturday morning will be… fluid. Be patient please.

Monday – Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Tuesday – Denver, Colorado; Road trip: Elizabethtown to Denver
Wednesday -Gainesville, Florida; Road Trip: Denver to Gainesville
Thursday – Greensboro, North Carolina
Friday – Altoona, Pennsylvania; Road Trip: Greensboro to Altoona
Saturday – Evansville, Indiana; Road Trip: Altoona to Evansville

Naples, Florida

My parents are in south Florida this week, not too far from Naples. Hopefully things are going well for them down there.

At 1253PM, ET, Naples was not reporting a temperature, but was reporting mostly cloudy skies behind a band of showers and thunderstorms that spanned from near West Palm Beach to just south of Naples. Up the coast in the Fort Myers area, low clouds and fog was being reported with temperature in the low to mid 70s.
Fortunately, a nice Spring ridge is setting up behind the system producing the boundary in south Florida right now. Expect the ridge to become well established in the Peninsula, forcing out any lingering clouds or rain, bringing about sunny skies and typically pleasant Floridian weather. A system in the center of the country will drop a cold front through the Gulf that will approach the the Gulf coast of Florida late on Sunday, but thunderstorms won’t be a likely until Monday.
Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 82, Low 58
Sunday – Sunny, High 83, Low 62

TWC: Tomorrow – Sunny skies. High 80, Low 52
Sunday – Scattered thunderstorms. High 81, Low 62

AW: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sunshine High 81, Low 56
Sunday – Breezy with a blend of sunshine and clouds; a shower or thunderstorm around in the afternoon High 83, Low 62

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny High 83, Low 57
Sunday – A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly cloudy High 83, Low 62

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny High 78, Low 56
Sunday – Partly sunny with a 20 percent chance of showers. High 82, Low 62

Very interesting. The NAM, my model of choice today, really downplayed the thunderstorm threat in Florida, and frankly, if any are generated, I expect them due to inflow into the low, which would put storms over central and eastern Florida, leaving Naples dry on Sunday. We’ll see who is right. A look at the radar shows those showers south of Naples.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

We’re forecasting today in Wisconsin’s largest city. But can anyone find a beer?

At 1252PM, ET, Milwaukee was reporting cloudy skies and gusty winds to about 35mph. A strong area of low pressure has developed rather rapidly over the center of the country, and wrap around moisture had found its way as far north as the south side of Chicago, with the mid and high clouds extending into southeastern Wisconsin. The pressure with this low was such that strong winds were being seen all around the low pressure center.
If there is any good news, it is that the rain should stay south of Chicago as the system continues to wind to the east, bound by a polar front to the north that has brought about the chilly air in Milwaukee and will prevent the low from moving to the north. The upper level pattern is very shortwaved, which indicates rapid eastward propagation. Expect a quick warm up for Saturday, followed by some late showers Saturday night, though they will not be heavy as the next system sets up a warm front across central Wisconsin.
Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 40, Low 22
Saturday – Increasing clouds with an isolated late night shower, High 50, Low 32

TWC: Tomorrow – Mainly sunny.High 41, Low 23
Saturday – Mostly Cloudy. High 53, Low 31

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny High 42, Low 21
Saturday – Increasing cloudiness (late rain) High 49, Low 31

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny High 43,L ow 23
Saturday – Mostly sunny (rain after 8pm), High 54, Low 32

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny High 59, Low 28
Saturday – Partly sunny. High 51, Low 32

A look at the satellite shows an impressive looking system over the center of the country. That is a Spring system if ever there was one.

This sounds great

Right now in Minneapolis, its cold enough that I can see my breath. The past two days in Gainesville, they saw mostly sunny skies and temperatures that climbed into the low 70s. That sounds like a little slice of heaven. Not distracted by the amazing weather, Accuweather had the best forecast.
Actuals: Tuesday, High 70, Low 42
Wednesday, High 76, Low 42

Grade A

Allentown, Pennsylvania to Santa Cruz, California

Yup, a grueling 2906mile cross-country trip that’ll take 6 days. Best get on our way…

Day 1
Clouds will be streaming over Allentown early in the day as a warm front slowly lifts its way towards the Southern Great Lakes. The first half of the trip should be fairly benign with clouds thickening and lowering, however, light rain showers will begin to show themselves by early afternoon. As we make our way into Ohio and head towards Cleveland, some moderate rains will be possible as the main area of low pressure that’s affecting the region passes off to our south. No thunderstorms are expected for us, as those will remain a decent distance towards the south. We will need to make sure the windshield wipers are in working order though as we finish off the day making our way towards Toledo, the stop for our first night. A few light rain showers will still be possible in late evening, but will continue to dwindle overnight as the system presses eastward.

Dry weather greets us as we wake up for our next leg of our trip, but will be markedly cooler with morning lows in the upper 20s with high pressure starting to build in during the morning. Mostly sunny skies are expected as we trek into northern Indiana with temps warming into the 40s by midday. Today should be a fairly non-descript day as we continue past the south side of Chicago and towards the Quad Cities. Southerly winds might pick up some towards the latter pary of the day as we make our way to Des Moines, our stop for the day, as another system starts taking shape over the Southern Plains.

As an area of low pressure ejects into the Southern Plains, the winds could kick up a lil bit during the morning hours as we hop back onto the I-80 and continue our westward march through the Plains. Some light rain is possible during the morning as the low pressure makes its way fully into the Plains, but will increase to a possibly heavier steady rain as we continue west on I-80 through Omaha and through the Cornhusker State. Rain will start to lighten up as we cruise past North Platte and pretty much end as we make our way past Ogallala. Clouds will continue to linger over the area as we make our way to Sidney, NE, the halfway point of our journey.

By now the kids are getting restless as the batteries in the Gamy Boy gets low, but soon they’ll have something to keep them entertained, mountains! The topography that we’ve been lacking the last couple of days will show up almost immediately as we make our way into Wyoming and past Cheyenne. High pressure will be moving over much of the Rockies today, so aside from some lingering low clouds early in the day that’ll burn off, just some mostly high clouds will dim the sun from time to time as our exploration of I-80 continues. Again, today should be a fairly non-descript day as we wind our way into the Rockies and finish our day at Salt Lake City. Who’s up for a swim!?

A large trough is going to start moving its’ way towards the West Coast, so clouds will be on the increase as we make our way out of Utah and wind our way through Northern Nevada. The view should still be entertaining and clouds will remain high as the thicker ones haven’t quite been able to push over the Sierra Nevada just yet. A couple of isolated showers are possible during the early afternoon north of Battle Mountain and Winnemucca, but our afternoon should continue on the dry side. A couple of stray showers might be able to make their way over the mountains and into Reno as we finish our day, but most of that action should be moving in overnight.

We finish our exploration, and our trip, today as we make our way up into the Sierra Nevada towards Truckee, CA. Most of the heavier rains will have happened during the overnight, and begin to lighten during the morning hours. It’ll be slow going during the morning with the wet roads and steep grades, but luckily today’s trek is not nearly as long as the rest of the trip. Conditions will dry out as the bulk of the system pushes into the Northern Rockies. A few lingering upslope showers are possible as we head out of the Tahoe National Forest, but for the most part the rest of the day should be on the dry side. Some low clouds will continue to linger over the area as another system will move in towards the overnight hours, but the rest of the drive into Santa Cruz should by dry, but cloudy. Finally, we’ve arrived at the Pacific Ocean! And we didn’t even need to ford a river.

Santa Cruz, California

As Ryan mentioned earlier, i’m covering the forecast and road trip updates today. They’re getting up a little late tonight however, as I encountered something even more difficult to predict on my way back from my CA vacation… airplane delays! Nothing like a 4 hour delay to brighten your day. However, off we go to Santa Cruz. Interesting how my vacation was bookended with forecasts for CA cities.

At 933pm PDT, the temperature was 54degrees with cloudy skies. A cold front is starting to push its’ way through Northern California, with the main low remaining off the coastline of the Pacific Northwest. Some showers are swinging through the San Francisco area ahead of the front, with a few lighter ones lingering behind. Once this band pushes through, conditions should be fairly dry for the remainder of the day, however some clouds should continue to linger through mid-morning. Some sun should break though for the afternoon and evening hours, making for a relatively decent day, albeit a bit on the breezy side. A second disturbance is looking to rotate it’s way through northern CA as well late Thursday into early Friday. Clouds are expected as it moves through, but light shower activity should remain off to the north. When Friday morning comes around, most of the low pressure trough should be building towards the Four Corners region with high pressure reasserting itself along the CA coastline. This means mostly sunny skies to kick off the weekend, with less wind than Thursday.

Thursday: A few early AM showers, then mostly cloudy. High 60, Low 46.
Friday: Clouds decreasing through day, mostly sunny by afternoon. High 65, Low 41.

TWC: Thursday: Slight chance of morning shower. High 61, Low 46.
Friday: Sunny. High 64, Low 42.

AW: Thursday: Possible AM shower, then breezy. High 60, Low 47.
Friday: Partly sunny. High 62, Low 41.

NWS: Thursday: Early AM shower. High 62, Low 44.
Friday: Sunny. High 65, Low 42.

WB: Thursday: Chance of light rain. High 59, Low 42.
Friday: Another chance of light morning rain, then clearing. High 60, Low 40.

Here we see the rain showers moving through the Bay Area. How long will they stick around this morning?

A different Columbus

Hey, this is going to be a weird day. I’ll start with this Columbus verification, but Anthony, who has been on vacation, will be back this evening to take care of the forecast and road trip for the day.
Back when the site first started, we always seemed to have forecasts for Columbus, Ohio. Now, we keep featuring Columbuses, but have moved further south. Does this mean we are doing well in Columbus? Eh, not really. The Weather Channel is though. They went away from covering health care reform and actually set about creating an excellent forecast. They navigated a pretty sizable temperature swing from Monday to Tuesday and blew everyone out of the water. From here on out, I’m covering politics and forecasting as an afterthought. How about that Bull Moose party?
Actuals: Monday – No precip, High 50, Low 40
Tuesday – High 68, Low 44

Grade: B


I would say that there are 4 premiere international weather services worldwide, simply because of their presence internationally and influence on global forecasting, and how much other countries rely on their forecasts: The United State National Weather Service, the UK Met Office, Meteo France and the Japan Meteorological Agency. More on that later. First, let’s talk about their climate.
Japan is in an interesting position. They are situated in a warm oceanic current off the east Asian coast, which exposes them to tropical systems from the southeast. They are also at a latitude conducive to the general cyclonic systems that we are familiar with in eastern United States, and those very same systems are a common feature, developing over northeastern China and southeastern Russia. Of course, there is also a spine of mountains running down Honshu, the main island of the Japanese Archipelago. This helps to divide the Sea of Japan shore from the Pacific shore in terms of climate. The Sea of Japan, or west coast is exposed to the continental flow, and is subject to a more extreme winter in terms of cold and snow (of which northern Japan sees ample amounts). The east, or Pacific coast, sees drier and more bearable winters, but when the winds switch to southerly in the summer can be exposed to hot, humid, wet summers, especially when a typhoon comes to town. The other thing about the geography of Japan is it’s extensive north to south range. Hokkaido is at about the same latitude as Nova Scotia. Kyushu in the south and even the islands south of there, like Okinawa, have a subtropical climate given the low latitudes. That’s gives the islands an impressive temperature swing from Sapporo to Nagasaki.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, Japan has perhaps one of the most important meteorological departments in the world. The Japanese Meteorological Service is a comprehensive, extremely informative service for the Japanese people and any duests to their country. They curiously have no maps on their main page, but those are a mere click of the mouse away. The standard forecasts and weather maps are available, but where Japan really excels is in their tropical forecasting. The Japanese typhoon forecasting is second to none. The presentation is easier to understand for an American than even the National Hurricane Center, and is leaned on heavily by most of Southeast Asia, and even some American territories like Guam or the Mariana Islands. If there is anything that the JMS is missing, it is model data readily available in the United States, however with as clear and precise as the Japanese are, it’s hardly essential data. Of all the national weather services, I only defer to three when seeking more information than is available: the US, Tanzania (for their Subsaharan African modeling) and Japan. As you can tell, I can’t say enough about Japan.

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