Our trip around the world takes us to the Balkan Peninsula, not far from last week’s destination of Romania. Albania is to the north-northwest of Greece and across the Adriatic from Italy. Of all the countries we have looked at, Albania is the most similar to California. They are at a similar temperature, as the Pacific near California is cool for it’s latitude, while Adriatic is a bit warmer. Much like California, there is a coastal plain with highlands on the interior. The coast is fairly dry, then, with the higher elevation inland leading to rising air and a much wetter interior than what is seen on the coast. Also like California, Albania sees most it’s rain in the winter. Where it is wet, Albania is one of the wettest regions of the continent, but it’s position backing a large peninsula makes it one of the cooler Mediterranean climates out there.
The Hydrometeorological Institute of Albania is bureau affiliated with the World Meteorological Organization, however they do not have a website.

Fresno, California to Allentown, Pennsylvania

We’re looking right down the barrel of a daunting 6 day trip from the San Joaquin Valley to the Lehigh Valley that will cover 2823 miles. That last day will only be a few hours in the car, but the first 5 will cover 529 miles a day and we’ll put 66 miles behind us an hour It’s going to be a pretty extravagant trip, so lets get on the road before we change our mind.


The good news is, our first day of travel will be uneventful. Driving from Fresno to anywhere almost always takes us through the desert, as it will on Wednesday. With an area of low pressure sliding into the northwest, high pressure wasn’t even in effect for the Mojave, so the drive to west of Ash Fork, Arizona, will be pretty boring, frankly.

Our second day of travel will again be fairly dormant, headed from northern Arizona to northern New Mexico, and the city of Montoya. We’ll be able to traverse the extent of the mountains and get into some plains for our drive on Friday. Good for gas mileage, maybe not so good for scenery.

A nice, Spring area of low pressure will be developing over the Northern Rockies by the time we hit Oklahoma on Friday. It will dangle a cold front into the High Plains by Friday afternoon and bear down on the state into the overnight. We won’t notice much change, aside from some warming temperatures and southerly wind during our travels, we won’t notice much change. While we spend the night in Adair, Oklahoma in the northeastern part of the state, we will likely notice the thunderstorms a bit more.

That darn cold front is going to set itself up right along I-44, which won’t e a problem for many people, except those taking I-44. That would be us, of course. Don’t be surprised to see showers and thunderstorms along the way from Adair into Missouri. The strongest storms and heaviest rain on Saturday will likely come between Sullivan and Saint Louis, Missouri. The final 2 1/2 or 3 hours across Illinois will be drier, and we’ll be out of all the rain by the time we reach Vandalia, Illinois. The destination will come a couple hours later in Terre Haute, Indiana.

For the most part, we will remain ahead of the system that will bisect the country on Sunday, evading a few prefrontal showers but likely having to deal with clouds the whole way. Showers will likely be at their most persistent from Terre Haute to Dayton, Ohio with lighter showers possible after that. The conclusion of our final full day will be on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the town of Breezewood.

Finally, Monday we will have less than three hours to contend with the slick roadways of central and eastern Pennsylvania. And make no mistake, they will be wet. The system will finally catch up with us and begin to ascend to the north. The central circulation will be just east of Allentown, which means heavy rain will only get heavier as we head through the Appalachians into Allentown. The Lehigh Valley’s weather will be considerably wetter than that of the San Joaquin.

Unexpected sunshine

Sometimes when you check a verification, the forecast isn’t so good but you feel all right about that. Myrtle Beach is a perfect example. We all anticipated a cool beginning to the week in Myrtle Beach, but a healthy dose of sunshine warmed temperatures up, in some cases almost 10 degrees better than what had been in the forecast. The near 70 degree highs on Monday definitely threw a few people. in the end, the Weather Service had the best forecast, but I would venture to say the weather was even better than the forecasts.
Actuals: Sunday, High 63, Low 47
Monday – High 68, Low 46

Grade: C

Fresno, California

My inaugural post on the new site! With a complete lack of weather to boot! Well, that’s what happens in California sometimes…

At 953AM PDT, the temperature in Fresno, California was 53 degrees under some high cirrus clouds. A ridge is building over the Western US with only some high clouds pushing into CA from a frontal boundary festering offshore. That front will affect just the coastal portions of the Pacific Northwest and maybe the extreme northwest portion of California on Tuesday. Some thicker high clouds might make their way over the Central Valley of CA as the remnant front pushes inland on Wednesday, but dry weather is expected for much of CA south of San Francisco. What does that mean? Mostly sunny skies and warm weather for the Golden State. I’ll be heading out to California myself in a few days to thaw out, so I hope the good weather continues!

Tuesday: Few high clouds. High 75, Low 46.
Wednesday: A few more clouds, continued pleasant. High 72, Low 49.

TWC: Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High 77, Low 48.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High 75, Low 52.

AW: Tuesday: Sunny. High 74, Low 48.
Wednesday: Sunny, a few high clouds. High 74, Low 47.

NWS: Tuesday: Sunny. High 75, Low 49.
Wednesday: Sunny. High 75, Low 52.

WB: Tuesday: Sunny. High 75, Low 46.
Wednesday: Sunny. High 73, Low 47.

Outside of the white snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains, there isn’t much to see over the Western US. Looks like bikini weather for some lucky Spring Breakers!

The power of the sun

If you read the Columbus verification carefully, you’ll note that I mentioned that Friday’s high was 66. This took a dynamic system in the Gulf to import a boatload of warm air under a thick layer of clouds. Since the winds changed and they have remained cloudy, the Columbus area hasn’t reached 60 since. Much further to the northwest in Minneapolis (we cover Minneapolis like the Weather Channel covers Atlanta) the city that had been immersed in clouds broke out for most of the day. It was 65 in Minneapolis.
It’s not difficult meteorological theory to say that the sun makes things warmer, but through most of the winter at our latitude in northern Minnesota a clear sky wasn’t a guarantee of warmer air. Now with a better sun angle, no more snow pack and a lack of a bitter northerly wind, a sunny day can mean a spike in temperatures. I apologize to those in Columbus (and those in St. Louis who didn’t even see 50 on Sunday) for being cool and cloudy, but your plight helped illustrate a sure sign that Spring is on it’s way. And Spring IS on it’s way.

Midday thunder

I have been anticipating a rough forecast for somewhere for a while with the upper level low covering the eastern third of the country. There was too much room for a peek of sun to send temperatures skyrocketing, or the threat for constant rain to tamp temperatures down. For Columbus, it was a line of thunderstorms moving in on Friday before the heating of the day really got ramped up. All told, things weren’t as bad as they could have been, especially since V-W netted the victory.
Actuals: Friday – .59 inches of rain in thunderstorms, High 66, Low 50
Saturday .04 inches of rain, High 54, Low 43

Grade: C

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Are you excited for a trip the coast? After the past few days, they will be excited about this forecast in Myrtle Beach too.

At 845PM, ET, Myrtle Beach was reporting a temperature of 57 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. An upper level low continues to churn over the mid Atlantic with a substantial “dry” slot getting siphoned north into the Carolinas. Scattered showers, such as those seen around the Piedmont are still going to be a threat with energy swept east with the spinning low to the north. The current clearing trend, however, is a good sign.
The low will take it’s time moving. In 48 hours, it is projected to move maybe 300 miles. All this means little change overall for the east coast, however in Myrtle Beach, expect a dramatic change in fortunes. The lift to the north and east will further establish the dry slot over the Carolinas (again, a dry slot fed by the Gulf of Mexico isn’t all that dry) and trap much of the wrap around moisture behind the Appalachians. Expect clearing conditions and maybe a peek of sun over the next couple of days.
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, High 58, Low 43
Monday – Clearer still and a little warmer, High 61, Low 44

TWC: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny skies. high 60, Low 44
Monday – Partly cloudy. High 63, Low 42

AW: Tomorrow – Sun and some clouds High 60, Low 44
Monday – Breezy with sun and some clouds High 59, Low 43

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny high 61, Low 43
Monday – Mostly sunny High 63, Low 43

WB: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy in the morning…then becoming mostly cloudy. High 61, Low 44
Monday – Partly cloudy. High 59, Low 48

First time using parentheses in a forecast, I think. Here is a cool satellite from the Wilmington office, showing a few showers in the area.

The week ahead: 3/14/10-3/20/10

Let’s hope this week goes a little better than the last time we put out a schedule, eh? We’ll be quite the world travelers…. well, national travelers with three trips on the docket.

Monday – Fresno, California
Tuesday – Road Trip, Fresno to Allentown, Pennsylvania
Wednesday – Road Trip, Allentown to Montgomery, Alabama
Thursday – Richmond, Virginia
Saturday – Newport News, Virginia, Road Trip Jonesboro, Arkansas to Newport News

Some overdue congratulations

For those that don’t know, most of the site design decisions here at Victoria Weather have been suggested and implemented by our friend Donya, who has a much better eye for for pretty much everything than we do, not to mention a greater understanding for HTML design. Part of the exasperating problem with this past month’s hacking and rebuilding problem is that Donya has been unavailable. You see, on the day that the site went down, Donya was at the hospital, giving birth to her first child. Her baby son had some trouble early on, but his prospects now are good and they should all be able to go home by the end of next week. So from Anthony and I, we wanted to congratulate Donya and her husband Beau on their new addition, and hope for the best for all three. After the past week, I certainly can’t wait until Donya is back to 100%!

A little more organized

The worry with the forecast in Memphis was that things wouldn’t be quite as organized as one might hope when it came to the forecast. As it turned out, a solid line of thunderstorms set up over Arkansas (where tornadoes were seen around Little Rock) during the day Wednesday before it marched east and crashed into the greater Memphis area. And by “just after midnight” I mean they arrived at 12:03AM. There was no assorted shower activity ahead of the boundary as we all expected, and when it came through, it was much stronger than we had all though. 57mph winds and hail were all seen before 1AM, and then it all petered out before the sun rose. That’s the last time we underestimate an upper level low. Accuweather broke out of their doldrums and had the top forecast.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 75, Low 59
Thursday – 1.10 inches of rain with hail in thunderstorms, High 72, Low 53

Grade: B

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