Saint Louis, Missouri to Billings, Montana

We’re essentially headed west from the end of yesterday’s trip for our 2 and a half day trek from St. Louis to Billings. We’ll cover 1276 miles in total, and 538.9 a day. Lots of interstates and a whole lot of South Dakota means that our pace will be at 67.3mph. Pretty swift. Let’s be on our way.

DAY ONE

A system is getting ready to explode over Siouxland, as it’s known, between Sioux Falls and Sioux City (South Dakota and Iowa, respectively). The associated warm front will be pushed north of Saint Louis, and the entirety of Missouri for that matter by the time we hit the road. Expect quality conditions for most of the day, only to see them dramatically deteriorate as we approach Omaha. Depending on how things go earlier in the day, things could be particularly nasty north of town with supercell thunderstorms just beginning to develop for the day between Omaha and Sioux City. We’ll be happy to end the day in North Sioux City, especially if the thunderstorms are still raging.

DAY TWO
The general troughy pattern of the northern Plains will continue as we start our Friday drive. Showers and thunderstorms, though not as impressive as we will see Thursday, will crop up over northern South Dakota. Some of them could definitely sneak south to over I-90, our route for most of the day. Let’s again make it clear: Nothing as strong or severe as what we are expecting Thursday. The rain may even end by the time we reach Rapid City. We’ll keep soldiering on into Montana by the end of the day, and the town of Hammond in the far southeastern corner of the state.

DAY THREE
No complaints on Saturday. It’s going to be beautiful, cool for the beginning of the day, warming up into the 80s by the time arrive in Billings. Hopefully won’t show up with hail damage (or as I call it, speed dimples)

Billings, Montana

Off to Montana, which makes all meteorologists’ hearts sing with joy, because this forecast will be so easy. /rolls eyes

At 1054PM, MT, Billings was reporting rain with a temperature of 57 degrees. A weak perturbation in the jet was generating an area of low pressure over Wyoming, which in turn was kicking up showers and thunderstorms over eastern Montana. The severe weather was mostly out of the area, but rain was continuing on the back end of the low ad would likely persist for the area for a few more hours.
The trough that was bringing about the low pressure and the active weather will be enhanced in the near term as another jet will poke into the Pacific Northwest. This upper level support will interact with thermal influences to create broad low pressure over the Rockies. The flow over the Rockies will induce some lee side troughing in Montana which will exasperate the rainy, stormy conditions for Billings for the next couple of days.
Tomorrow – Morning rain, then mostly cloudy, High 79, Low 53
Friday – Isolated showers, High 83, Low 56

TWC: Tomorrow – Sunshine and some clouds (morning thunderstorms) High 84, Low 54
Friday – Mainly sunny High 81, Low 59

AW: Tomorrow – Sunny to partly cloudy (Morning thunderstorms) High 83, Low 56
Friday – Sunny to partly cloudy and breezy High 82, Low

NWS: Tomorrow – A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy High 84, Low 56
Friday – A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, High 84, Low 57

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. High 82, Low 57
Friday – Mostly sunny with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. High 82, Low 59

57 degrees, that’s the coolest we’ve seen around here in a while. Here is the rainy radar.

In their own backyard

As mentioned at no end, Atlanta is the home of the Weather Channel. One may expect them to take care of the forecast, especially with the way they have been forecasting lately, but NO. No. It was us, Victoria-Weather who absolutely dominated in the ATL.
Actuals: Monday – High 91, Low 71
Tuesday – .03 inches of rain, High 91, Low 73

Grade: A

Nauru

Nauru is a small island in the Pacific with a tormented history of invasion and enslavement in a pair of World Wars and German colonialism, so you have to believe that is why they are as fiercely independent as they are. Nauru is the smallest island nation in the world and they lie in the midst of the tropics. Their rainy season is November to February as the ITCZ passes through. The island is typically quite warm, with highs often in the upper 80s. They are on the equator after all.
They are not a member of the World Meteorological Organization, and I haven’t been able to find anything on a weather bureau. They do have a weather station, however.

Saint Louis, Missouri

I believe that this is the first time my forecast parade has taken me to St. Louis, the Gateway to the West. One of my favorite cities out there.

At 251PM, CT, St. Louis was reporting a temperature of 87 degrees with mostly cloudy skies and dew points in the mid 70s. A line of thunderstorms has erupted southeast of the city but north of Cape Girardeau, indicative of the weak troughing that has been rippling through the Mid-Mississippi Valley for the past several days. A mostly stalled boundary was running through northern Missouri and Kansas, triggering another line of thunderstorms for that area. The Storm Prediction Center was indicating a slight risk for severe thunderstorms for the area.
The jet runs west to east just north of St. Louis, so not much change is expected over the next 36 hours or so. Some training lines of thunderstorms should be expected across most of Missouri until a ripple appears along the jet. At the tail end of the jet, there is a weak perturbation that will evolve for the next several days. An area of low pressure will develop over the Dakotas and start lifting a warm front north away from St. Louis. Expect things to eventually quite down then on Thursday with temperatures climbing to the 90s.
Tomorrow – Showers and thunderstorms, High 90, Low 77
Thursday – Morning showers and storms, then hot, High 97, Low 75

TWC: Tomorrow – Scattered thunderstorms. A few storms may be severe. High 78, Low 78
Thursday – Times of sun and clouds (AM Storms). High 95, Low 77

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, hot and humid with a shower or thunderstorm around; thunderstorms can be severe High 92, Low 79
Thursday – Hot and humid with intervals of clouds and sunshine High 97, Low 79

NWS: Tomorrow – A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy High 91, Low 75
Thursday – Partly cloudy (AM Thunderstorms) High 95, Low 78

WB: Tomorrow – Hot and humid. Partly sunny with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. High 93, Low 78
Thursday – Hot and humid. Partly cloudy (AM Thunderstorms) High 96, Low 77

Looks to be hot and muggy in Saint Louis. Just another summer day. You can see the storms off to the southeast of town pretty well on satellite.

Harrisonburg, Virginia to Saint Louis, Missouri

Back in the 1800s, the Mississippi seemed like some mythical destination for residents of the original Colonies. People would pack up and take weeks to get from the coast to a city like Saint Louis. Well, now it takes a day and a half to get from Harrisonburg to Saint Louis, a trip that covers 746 miles. That means we get to cover 510 miles per day at 63.6mph. Let’s do what the pioneers couldn’t and cover this ground quickly!

DAY ONE

The drive tomorrow, Wednesday, is going to be appalling. A cold front is going to set itself to stall east to west right along I-64. Yes, we will be taking I-64 almost the entire day, how did you know? Essentially, we’ll be OK right up until we get to that interstate in West Virginia. Before we reach it, the drive will likely be mostly sunny with a few hit or miss showers. Then after we reach Beckley, WV, it will be almost nonstop thunderstorms. Some of them will have gusty winds, some of them will have hail, and almost all of them will have torrential rain. Ironically, the drive will end in Carefree, Indiana, which is west of Louisville.

DAY TWO
The drive on Thursday will be easier than the one n Wednesday, no doubt. The will be some more rain to be sure, likely from when we get up in Carefree until about Mount Vernon, Illinois, but this rain will be associated with a warm front and will likely be more rain than thunder, and won’t create the torrential downpours we’ll see on Wednesday. Heck, by the time we arrive in St. Louis, we can expect sunny skies. Hot, sure, but sunny.

The Monroe Doctrine

Sure, you can forecast all the dry air that you want in the southern US this time of year, but eventually, there will be scattered thunderstorms and one of them is bound to clip whatever town you are forecasting for. This was true in Monroe and our forecast from Saturday, where everyone said the chance for thunderstorms was low, but still slipped them in the forecast, because we all know better. In fact, a quarter inch of rain fell just before noon yesterday validating the mutually held concerns. The Weather Channel had the best forecast (again) thanks to their temperature forecast.

Actuals: Sunday – High 96, Low 76
Monday – .25inches of rain, High 92, Low 76

Grade: A

The Weather Channel is invading

Shortly after Anthony posted the forecast for Atlanta (apologies for the delay.. some server issues beset us last night), I took this screen capture with a very impressive, very blue side bar ad.

Thanks Google, I’m sure most readers of this site are unaware of The Weather Channel. That said, with the way they have been forecasting this year, the whole site could pretty much be described as an ad for TWC.

A diamond in the rough

When forecasting for Wausau, there was one clear superior force in an otherwise mediocre forecast, and that was The Weather Channel, who nailed the top forecast thanks in large part to one thing: Sunday’s high. Things never warmed up yesterday in northern Wisconsin, as widespread clouds and drizzle dominated the region in the wake of some early morning thunderstorms. Everyone across the Midwest was anticipating temperatures that lingered more in the low to mid 80 range when they couldn’t even climb past 78. Well done, TWC.
Saturday: .02 inches of rain, High 85, Low 64
Sunday: .18 inches of rain, High 78, Low 65

Grade: A

Absent showers

The cold front moved a tad slower through the Northeast than expected, with the scattered showers and thunderstorms managing to miss the New London area. Temperatures inched upwards slightly on Saturday and remained dry. TWC and WB tied for the win with their warmer and dry Saturday forecast.

Friday: High 85, Low 69.
Saturday: High 88, Low 73.

Forecast grade: B

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