Tag Archives: Billings

Billings, Montana to Bismarck, North Dakota

Today we’re taking another one-day trip between neighboring states. Today, however, is a much further north trip as we head from Montana to North Dakota! Let’s see how this Northern Plains trip will go!

High pressure is settling in over the Northern Plains after a cold front worked its way through the Dakotas and into the Upper Midwest. The route between Billings and Bismarck tomorrow is expected to be dry and filled with sunshine, a most enjoyable day to see the wide open plains!

Billings, Montana to Little Rock, Arkansas

Today we kick off a 3-day road trip from Billings to Little Rock. We’re going to be visiting a lot of the Great Plains during this trip, will Mother Nature make it an easy southward jaunt? Let’s find out!


High pressure is found extending from the Northern High Plains southward all the way into the Southern Plains. This is gonna keep skies clear from our departure out of Billings down I-90 into northeast WY, then continue south on I-25 past Casper and Cheyenne before finishing the day in Ft. Collins, CO.


Today we leave the scenic foothills of the Rockies and head Eastward on I-70 out of Denver into Kansas. Continued high pressure over the Central Plains will keep skies clear for another day, making for easy driving when we finish the night in Salina, KS.


High pressure shifts off to the east as an area of low pressure attempts to get established over the Central Plains. It’ll be a dry start to the day, although clouds move into southern KS and Oklahoma overnight as southerly flow returns to the region. Clouds will break up some as we head past Tulsa towards Ft. Smith. Some late evening showers could pop up over southern Missouri/far northern Arkansas, but should remain off to the north of our route as we pull into Little Rock for the evening!

Hot start

September got off to a very warm beginning in Billings, Montana. While there weren’t any triple digits as some had expected, it was in the 90s on both the 1st and 2nd of the month. Temperatures overnight ended up being a little more tolerable than I think anyone really expected, particularly on the morning of the second, when it was only 59. That’s sleepable! The Weather Service navigated a difficult forecast, and won the day.
Actuals: Wednesday the 1st, High 94, Low 67
Thursday – Trace of rain in thunderstorms, High 94, Low 59

Grade: B

Billings, Montana to Hartford, Connecticut

This Billings-terminused trip will be a hair longer than the one from a few days ago that adventured from Mobile to Montana’s largest city. In this case, our pace will be a rather swift 68.9mph, which will allow us to traverse the 2135 miles to Hartford  in just shy of 4 full days. The first three days will have a goal of 551 miles, with a little bit less meat on the bone for Tuesday. This trip will wind through the Northern Plains and Great Lakes into New England. But will we be dodging showers and storms the entire way?

DAY ONE (Saturday)
This is going to sound fairly strange, but our drive through Montanan and North Dakota is going to be in pretty good shape, and that’s because of Tropical Storm Hermine, which will be moving up the East Coast as we head eastward. The tropical feature will be pulling in all the Gulf moisture that would otherwise be available for a developing feature in the Black Hills region. There will still be a bit of development late in the day over the western Dakotas, but it won’t be nearly as rainy as it could have been, if it weren’t for Hermine. I think we can make it all the way to the unironically named Peak, North Dakota outside of Valley City unscathed, and subsequently call it a night.

DAY TWO (Sunday)
As Hermine organizes off of the Delmarva, our High Plains feature will also continue to churn. Finally able to tap into a bit of moisture, showers and storms will become increasingly likely in the Dakotas on Sunday, but it should remain mostly unaffected in Minnesota, and 100% free and clear in Wisconsin. We’ll make it to Madison before we retire for the evening.

DAY THREE (Monday)
The only problem we will really have in the Great Lakes is finding cash for the tolls in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The weather will be excellent! No problems there, as Hermine continues to lead to stability in nearby environs. We will make it to the Ohio/Pennsylvania border before calling it a day.

DAY FOUR (Tuesday)
Hermine isn’t going anywhere on Monday or Tuesday, which is bad for coastal concerns in Long Island and New Jersey, but great for forecasters! We will know, for example, that we will be able to expect increased wind and maybe a spiral band of showers and storms (complete with isolated tornadoes!) from Newburgh, New York to Hartford.

Mobile, Alabama to Billings, Montana

It’s hard to tell exactly how long one of these diagonal treks will take, but I can tell you that this particular adventure will last about 3 1/2 days. With all the various turns we have to make, it seems like we should have a slower pace, but we will still manage an average speed of 66.1mph. The first three days of our excursion will be through after 529 miles of travel, with a little bit of change for a half day on Sunday.

DAY ONE (Thursday)
It looks like we are clearing out from the Gulf Coast at exactly the right time! Tropical Storm Hermine is going to continue organize, and may actually become the first landfalling American hurricane in over a decade. There will be some spiral bands backing their way into Mobile tomorrow afternoon, but those are coming well after we leave tomorrow morning. The focused flow into the feature will in turn keep showers and storms out of the region we intend to drive through. The nearest to any precipitation we will get is as we pass by Jonesboro, as there will be a few showers and embedded storms filtering into central Arkansas, but we will make it all the way to the Missouri border and the town of Mammoth Springs before we cease our travels for the day.

DAY TWO (Friday)
High pressure! We’re going to be free and easy driving from Mammoth Springs on through Kansas City and Omaha. KC can be a bit of a haggle with traffic, but the Omaha area is a lot more agreeable. We will make it to Little Sioux, which is about half an hour north of Council Bluffs on the Iowa side of the Missouri.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
An area of low pressure moving into the northern Canadian Prairies is being fostered by a strong upper level trough. The jet is crossing the northern Rockies, and will lead to an active lee trough, sliding into the Dakotas. Late in the afternoon and evening, there may be some thunderstorms that pop up through central part of the state. Most of th activity will come late in the day, though, and I like our chances of reaching Belle Fourche, north of Rapid City, before the thunderstorms become a navigational issue.

DAY FOUR (Sunday)
That lee trough will shift further to the east and begin to organize into a legitimate area of low pressure, centered over Goodland, Kansas. Showers and storms will wrap around this circulation, with stratiform showers and storms becoming a fact of life for our little section of highway between Belle Fourche and Billings. Clearing will come soon thereafter.

Billings, Montana

I say it all the time, but Billings and the high Plains are the toughest part of the country to forecast for. Let’s try our luck today, shall we?

At 1153PM, MT, Billings was reporting a temperature of 73 degrees with clear skies. Eastern Montana was clear for the night, and under the influence of a fairly table upper level pattern.
Despite the ridging across the northern High Plains, there is a bit of a jet maximum over the northern Rockies, inducing some lee troughing across the region. As it has the last couple of days, this feature is expected to generate more isolated afternoon showers and storms, though most of the activity will hug the mountains. The greatest threat for Billings is that the storms will touch off wildfires that impact Billings’ air quality. A deeper trough providing the southwesterly jet streak will begin to shift east through the period. As there will be an increase in upper level vorticity, there will be an additional increase in surface cyclogenesis by Thursday. As a result, don’t be surprised to see storms get nearer to Billings, though the threat for any actual precipitation in the area will remain low, as the surface will be quite dry.  That southwesterly flow will ensure it gets quite warm during the afternoon.
Tomorrow – Partly cloudy – High 97, Low 64
Thursday – Mostly cloudy, with a dry thunderstorm possible, High 95, Low 66

TWC: Tomorrow – Sunshine along with some cloudy intervals. High 100, Low 64
Thursday – Mostly cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible High 96, Low 66

AW: Tomorrow – Hot with the temperature approaching the record of 101 set in 1955 with clouds and sun High 98, Low 63
Thursday – Hot with partial sunshine; a thunderstorm in spots in the afternoon High 94, Low 63

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny and hot, High 94, Low 62
Thursday – A slight chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon. Mostly sunny and hot High 94, Low 63

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 96, Low 65
Thursday – Mostly sunny. Slight chance of showers in the morning, then slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 93, Low 67

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 97, Low 63
Thursday – Partly cloudy with isolated showers. High 95, Low 63

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy throughout the day. High 99, Low 63
Thursday – Drizzle starting in the evening.High 97, Low 64

Hot! It’s interesting to me to see how different the various forecasts are. I am looking closely at the short range temperature forecast, as everything else (like what the NWS used earlier in the evening) is trending too cool.  Here is a pretty relaxed satellite image of Montana.


Billings, Montana to Winchester, Virginia

These trips through the northern US are so much better in the summer than they are in the winter. It will take us 3 1/2 days to get from Billings to Winchester, covering 1893 miles of ground. When the speed limit was no longer federally regulated, it was, for a time, open season in Montana, though that has since changed. Still, expect a pace of 67.6mph, significantly slowed down by the traffic around the Great Lakes. That will put us on a pace of 540.9 miles a day Let’s cruise.

DAY ONE (Wednesday)
Tomorrow will be mostly dry across the country, but a weak wave moving out of the Rockies will start to churn up some showers in the front range in Montana. The activity will be more widespread in the afternoon, but anywhere from Billings to the North Dakota border, there is a chance we see some wet weather. Thunderstorm activity will hold off until after we are out of the state, I believe. The drive through North Dakota will be pretty quiet as well, and very dull. The day will end on the outskirts of Berea, North Dakota.

DAY TWO (Thursday)
A mostly stationary boundary will set up through the Upper Midwest as the low in Montana shifts towards Canada. The boundary will run right along our route, but thanks to a band of showers over the Gulf, remaining from Tropical Storm Collin, moist flow back into the Plains won’t be terribly robust. We should stay dry until about St. Cloud, Minnesota, which will give way to some light rain. That light rain will turn to heavier weather and maybe even a thunderstorm by Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The day will conclude amid a few isolated storms in Lodi, Wisconsin, just north of Madison.

DAY THREE (Friday)
It looks like there will be a bit of a break in the action to get us through Chicago and northern Indiana, but the blob of showers and storms will return as we try to pass through northern Ohio. The storms will be there, even if they aren’t terribly widespread, and it’s worth considering an umbrella if we want to go out on the town in Avery, Ohio, south of Sandusky. South of the rainy storms, temperatures will be in the 90s, so maybe a bit of rain isn’t so bad.

DAY FOUR (Saturday)
As low pressure continues to shift east, shower and thunderstorm activity will become more focused in the Eastern Great Lakes, which will make the final half day of driving a bit stormy. Persistent rain is possible all the way through Pittsburgh, but by then, we will start to shift to the other side of the highest ridgelines in the Appalachians. From Breezewood through the narrow slivers of Maryland and West Virginia, and ultimately to Winchester, it will be dry.

Billings, Montana to Rochester, New York

Hey, gang, it’s time for a road trip! We’ll be on the road for 3 1/2 days, covering 1834 miles. That will put us on a pace of about 63.6mph. I think we can handle this, but we should get going. I’m a little surprised that the pace is so relaxed. Expect to cover only 509 miles a day.

DAY ONE (Saturday)
A deep area of low pressure over the northern Plains is going to really organize tonight and into tomorrow. The low itself will lie over eastern North Dakota and into northern Minnesota and the cold front will be marching through Minnesota. This means we will be post frontal, however similar to the system early this week, moisture will wrap around the low, and there will be a chance for moisture from Billings to the Black Hills, coming as drizzle possibly and clouds certainly. When we start driving through the Plains, the system will have shifted north towards Canada, pulling the rain away from South Dakota. Our day will end in Kymann, about half way across SoDak.

DAY TWO (Sunday)
South of the upper level trough, it will be fairly cool, with mostly cloudy skies. The dry slot will dominate our route, and there could really be some significant clearing late in the day. As the low gets deeper, that cold front will move faster, so we’re going to be even further away from threatening weather at the end of the day than we were at the beginning. The night ends in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

DAY THREE (Monday)
More high pressure! Another easy drive. This time it will be sunny and the day will end in Pembroke, New York. So close! There really isn’t much to add, frankly.

DAY FOUR (Tuesday)
The law will begin to unravel, meaning more clouds will eject over the Lakes. Still, with the brief drive on Tuesday morning, there is virtually no chance we need to worry about an organized shower before we arrive at our destination.


Billings, Montana to Champaign, Illinois

Today’s road trip takes us from Billings, MT to Champaign, IL, so we should get a pretty good tour of the North-Central US during this journey! It will take us 3 days to cover the 1,278 miles between the two.



It’s a pretty chilly start to the day as strong high pressure shifting down from Canada will have us below zero as we head east on I-90 then eventually onto 212 that’ll take us on a bit of a more scenic route through southeast Montana before we rejoin I-90 in southwest SD. It should be a pretty nice day for most of the trip as the high pressure quickly shifts from the Dakotas to Wisconsin by the end of the day. We might see a few more clouds as weak low pressure builds over central Montana by the end of the day, but we won’t see any precip from it. We’ll continue east to Chamberlain, SD, our stop for this day.


An increase of clouds is expected to start our day as a weak boundary is lingering off to the north as day breaks. This weak boundary will be in our area as we continue along I-90 past Sioux Falls and eventually into Albert Lea, MN, but outside of some mostly cloudy skies, we should be pretty day along this leg as well. Skies will clear out a bit more as we turn southward into Iowa in the late afternoon, and finish our quiet day in Cedar Rapids.


High pressure has built back into the area overnight, leaving us with a clear, but chilly, start to the day. Today is a shorter drive though, heading past the Quad Cities and Peoria before eventually arriving in Champaign. Quiet weather day today, perfect for those last few hours on the road!


Billings, Montana

Today we’re off to Billings, where usually we’re worried about snow more than we are about thunderstorms. But this is summer, so it’s all about storms, snow be damned! That WOULD be depressing to talk about snow, with Summer officially starting in 3 days. Anyways, let’s see what’s going on out there!

At 953pm MDT, the temperature at Billings, MT was 54 degrees with light rain falling. While the main surface low in the region is found near the CO/NE border, an inverted trough is found up over the Western Dakotas and into Eastern MT. Also, rather strong upper low has parked itself behind this system over the Northern Rockies, bringing temperatures down rather shockingly over the northwestern US. Heck, they’re talking about snow in higher elevations of MT/ID/UT! Luckily temperatures aren’t THAT low in the Billings area, but it certainly won’t feel like summer. This system will be very slow to move towards the east on Wednesday and Thursday, with the upper low traversing Montana towards Saskatchewan by late Thursday night. Scattered rain showers will persist over the region for most of Wednesday and Thursday due to the slow-moving nature of this storm system, with some embedded thunderstorms in the heaviest rain showers. Activity should clear out some for the weekend, but sadly the rest of the workweet looks rather gloomy.

Wednesday: Widespread morning showers, more scattered in afternoon, perhaps an isolated thunderstorm as well. High 65, Low 49.
Thursday: Scattered showers, and isolated thunderstorm once again. High 71, Low 49.

TWC: Wednesday: Scattered thunderstorms. High 66, Low 48.
Thursday: Isolated thunderstorms. High 73, Low 50.

AW: Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, showers around. High 66, Low 49.
Thursday: Some sun, a scattered thunderstorm, breezy. High 74, Low 48.

NWS: Wednesday: chance of showers, perhaps an afternoon thunderstorm. High 66, Low 48.
Thursday: Scattered showers and thunderstorms. High 74, Low 49.

WB: Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, chances of rain and an isolated thunderstorm in afternoon. High 64, Low 48.
Thursday: Continued chances of showers and thunderstorms. High 71, Low 48.

WN: Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with scattered showers. High 66, Low 48.
Thursday: Partly cloudy with scattered showers. High 73, Low 48.

Here we see the very obvious swirl of the low pressure system wound up over the Northern Rockies, with intense thunderstorms firing off over the western Dakotas. This system will continue spinning around the region over the next couple of days.