Denver, Colorado to Gainesville, Florida

From the foothills of the Rockies to one of the biggest party schools in the nation, our drive is going to cover 1737 miles. Better hit the road!

DAY ONE

A rather vigorous upper-level trough is digging into the Western US, with an area of low pressure intensifying over the Central Plains. This area of low pressure won’t move very much throughout the day, but strong low-level flow out ahead of it is going to make for some VERY windy conditions for nearly the entire route between Denver and Kansas City. A couple of light rain showers are possible in the Denver area during the morning hours as we head our way eastwards into Nebraska, but for the most part the trip today should be dry as the cold front makes its way out of the Four Corners and into the High Plains from Kansas to western Texas.

DAY TWO

The cold front will continue to move through the Central Plains during the overnight into Friday morning, drawing closer to KC. However, most of the precip will remain right along the front, so showers should be of worry as we push eastward through Missouri during the morning hours towards St. Louis. However, winds will continue to be gusty out ahead of the front so keeping the car on the road will require a little bit of attention. By then end of Friday, the cold front will have made its way into Missouri, but winds will be lighter over central TN, where we’re parking in Nashville for the night.

DAY THREE

Once again, it’s a race against the cold front. By morning, rain and thunderstorms will have made their way to Memphis, with a chance of a few spotty showers pushing as far east as Nashville.  Things should dry out as we head southeastward through Atlanta, as high pressure over the East Coast will put the kibosh on any significant amount of showers pushing too far ahead of the front. Winds will be a lot calmer today as well as we push towards FL, due to the high pressure. Mostly clear skies should greet us in Gainesville as we arrive in the late evening. Saturday night in a big college town, surely there will be a couple of parties to relax after a long trip!

Deomocratic Republic of the Congo

Our journey around the world takes us from last weeks highly advanced, extremely important Japanese Meteorological Service to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire, a nation that is struggling with internal strife, as well as external. Since their independence during the middle of the last century, they have been the scene of internal governmental turmoil, which was followed by wars with Uganda and Rwanda.
The climate is equatorial. The term “rain forest” isn’t used as effectively in many countries as it is in the DRC, as hot, humid conditions are broken frequently by tropical rains, often as part of a heavy thunderstorm. As usual, the elevation helps allay some of the heat where ever there are mountains. There are some mountains along the Ugandan border which actually see snow.
As I mention, the DRC is a war torn country, and is fraught with internal corruption. This plus their nearly identical weather pattern over the course of a year has meant that the National Agency of Meteorology and Teledetection by Satellite has seen their website go dormant since 2004.

Elizabethtown, Kentucky to Denver, Colorado

We’re heading west towards the mountains, perhaps to get in a final ski run for the year. It will be a two day trip covering 1155 miles. We’ll do it at a pace of about 65mph and try to put 520 miles behind us on the first day. We’re looking at a lot of Plains on this trip, but will we be dodging any rain? Let’s find out!

DAY ONE

There is a good chance that we will drive for many miles without seeing a cloud in the sky. As we start hitting some wind, likely around Mount Vernon, Illinois, clouds will begin to increase as moisture from the Gulf picks up. We won’t have many problems with this trip, especially as we drive through St Louis where the 15mph winds will be blocked by higher walls around the interstates. We’ll get to Bates City, Missouri, which is just outside the Kansas City metro for our first day.

DAY TWO
We’re in for a much longer drive on Thursday to make up the rest of the ground. Expect a drive unfettered by things like rain or precipitation. Temperatures are going to climb and perhaps be in the 80s as we trundle off through Kansas, with clouds on the increase and winds nearly constantly blowing at about 20mph. As we arrive in Denver, there is a slight chance that some light rain could be falling in Colorado’s capital. That means snow in the mountains!

Denver, Colorado

Denver is one of the more difficult major metropolitan areas to forecast for, what with their widely variable temperatures and the potential for a half a foot of snow in late March. We’ll see how it goes this time.

At 953AM, MT, Denver was reporting a temperature of 64 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. There was a degree of lee side troughing, however the real story was a broad, strong upper level trough digging into the west that would create it’s own weather news for the next couple of days.
A stout ridge in the east will prevent the system from shifting east, though with the low pressure aided by the Rockies in the lee side of the Rockies, a more effective southerly flow will develop over the coming days in eastern Colorado. Expect a continued warm up for Denver and an increase in the clouds tomorrow, with snow lurking in the mountains west of town by Thursday, with the clouds stamping out any warm weather in Denver.
Tomorrow – Mostly sunny and windy, High 73, Low 44
Thursday – Overcast and cooler, High 57, Low 38

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly to mostly cloudy. High 69, Low 51
Thursday – Mostly cloudy. High 55, Low 45

AW: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sunshine with a warm breeze High 70, Low 43
Thursday – Breezy and cooler with times of sun and clouds (PM Rain) High 54, Low 36

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny High 71, Low 46
Thursday – A 20 percent chance of showers after noon, chance of snow before midnight. Partly cloudy High 60, Low 38

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny High 70, Low 46
Thursday –
Partly sunny. A 10 percent chance of rain showers in the afternoon High 60, Low 40

I am completely dumbfounded by the Weather Channel. I triple checked to make sure that was actually their forecast, notably the low temperatures. Anyways, here is a look at the western US from space. Pretty good system over the northwest, and it doesn’t want to move!

Elizabethtown, Kentucky

Sorry, there will be no in-depth analysis featuring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst here. However, the weather for the next couple of days will be just as beautiful as fans of those stars think they are!

At 12:56pm EDT, the temperature at Elizabethtown, KY was 45 degrees under overcast skies. A large storm system is pummeling the East Coast from NC northward through New England, dropping copious amounts of rain. The main low is found just offshore of the Carolinas, with a bit of a low pressure trough extending northwestward into the Southern Appalachians. This is keeping some cloudy skies over the eastern half of Kentucky, but will burn off during the afternoon as the main cloud deck also pulls off towards the east. As the low shifts up the East Coast, a ridge of high pressure will build over the Ohio Valley, clearing out the skies and bringing warm weather surging back into the region on Wednesday, with winds a bit higher as well in the afternoon. This ridge will expand over the Eastern U.S., keeping Elizabethtown dry not only over the next couple days, but through much of the rest of the week as well.

VW: Tuesday: Mostly sunny. High 65, Low 38.
Wednesday: Clear and warmer. High 75, Low 45.

TWC: Tuesday: Sunny. High 64, Low 36.
Wednesday: Sunny and warmer. High 74, Low 42.

AW: Tuesday: Partly cloudy, becoming sunny. High 64, Low 36.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny and warmer. High 78, Low 44.

NWS: Tuesday: Sunny. High 64, Low 36.
Wednesday: Continued sunny. High 77, Low 44.

WB: Tuesday: Sunny. High 64, Low 37.
Wednesday: Sunny. High 77, Low 47.

While it’s overcast now, it should become sunny later today, which will stick around for the next few days. Except, of course, at night. Otherwise that’d just be weird.

A 23-hour day?

Our competition all had a chance of showers or thunderstorms late Sunday night for Naples, we figured that they would hold off to the east. If our days lasted 23 hours, we would have stormed (no pun intended) to victory! Sadly, a rogue thunderstorm decided to move into the area after 11pm on Sunday, dropping a quick 4/10ths of an inch before midnight. Curses! AW wound up taking the top spot, with no added embellishment from Joe Bastardi.

Saturday: High 81, Low 55
Sunday: 0.42″ of rain in a thunderstorm. High 81, Low 66

Forecast grade: B

For the billionth year in a row, expect an active hurricane season

Ah, March. This is the time of year that your various long term forecasters project the hurricane season. What are they saying this year? Oh, it’s going to be active, just like every other year. Well, except last year, but everyone still SAID it would be an active year. Let’s see what the Charlotte Observer has to say:

“This year has the chance to be an extreme season,” says Joe Bastardi of Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather,

Because Joe Bastardi has never exaggerated the threat for anything before. The more telling of the quotes from the Observer (emphasis mine) is below:

Not all the forecasts are in. For example, the National Hurricane Center’s seasonal prediction won’t come until late May. And some forecasters plan to fine-tune their outlooks later this spring, when conditions become a bit clearer.

Besides, long-range hurricane forecasts have been unreliable in the past.

It’s tough to say. Right now, the Gulf of Mexico after a very chilly winter is quite cold. It’s hard to say how long it will be until tropical systems will be able to even move through the Gulf. It’s hard to say this early how many hurricanes there will be, or how active a season we are looking at. It’s dangerous to put a number on the hurricane outlook, especially when talking about how many storms will make landfall along the coast. Every hurricane is it’s own animal, and could just as easily miss land as make landfall every single time.
I’ve often said that anyone who says they can forecast past 10 days is full of it. sure, you can make predictions, but the accuracy is always going to be subject to more short term patterns. Mostly, it’s a way for people like Mr. Bastardi to get his name in the paper, and he can get a feather in his cap on the off chance he gets one of his forecasts right.

I definitely screwed something up

First, in the process of creating the forecast for Milwaukee, I transcribed the forecast from Weatherbug incorrectly. It was about 15 degrees off on the Friday high for everyone else. Of course, the forecast was flat out wrong for everyone else anyways. Clouds and some pretty substantial cold advection knocked temperatures down to the low 30s for a high Friday and in the 40s on Saturday. Of the forecasters that ended up getting their appropriate forecasts in, the best was Victoria-Weather and the Weather Channel. But it was nothing to be proud of.
Actuals: Friday, High 33, Low 27
Saturday – High 42, Low 29

Grade: D

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.

DAY ONE

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.

DAY TWO
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

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