Four days, practically on the nose. It’s 2114.5 miles between the two cities, and we will be able to cover that ground at a pace of 64.2mph, which sounds low, until you remember the Appalachians. We will average 513.6 miles on the first three days, with a little leftover for Friday. We had better be on our way.
The start to this trip will be pretty fantastic. We will have a wonderful little warm up with southerly flow filtering off the Gulf of Mexico towards the Ohio Valley. We will reach the back edge of the precipitation associated with the warm front by the end of the first day in the car, in Washington Court House, Ohio, but warm, reassuring sunshine is all that is expected beforehand.
On our second day, things will begin to go awry. We are driving into the teeth of a fairly robust little system welling up through the Mississippi Valley. There will be chances for some warm sector showers and thunderstorms from Washington Court House to about Indianapolis, then heavier rains as the storm tries to sort its triple point out. Between Indianapolis and Peoria, we should be prepared for some heavy, potentially severe weather, with the best threat for tornadoes coming in this little window. From Peoria to our day two terminus, Wilton, Iowa, a strong line of storms will move through with the heaviest rains we will see and some straight line winds. It should begin to taper off as we pull into Wilton, but all told, this could be a very rough day.
This pain in the butt system that caused so many problems for us on Wednesday won’t be through on Thursday, either. Expect the system to pull in enough cold air to generate, yes, snow. In fact, we can expect snow to fall the entire route through Iowa, though by the time we begin to turn north near Omaha, it will begin to abate. Of course, the prime tendril for snow is forecast to point towards South Dakota, which, as luck would have it, is exactly where we are going. Even more light snow will follow us north towards Sioux Falls and west towards Mitchell, destination number three on this journey.
A ridge moving south behind out area of low pressure will wedge up against some lee troughing, and this will mean moisture along the Front Range, as it so often does. Between Mitchell and Kadoka, things will have cleared out just fine. From Kadoka, South Dakota northwest to Billings, however, we will be in store for an aimless wintry mix, fed by the warm temperatures and a little bit of mechanical convection with the ridge pushing back against the downslope. It won’t be terrible, but it will be unseasonable. Sorry about all that.