A developing front over Billings ended up developing a little bit stronger and later than anticipated in Billings. I knew we were in trouble when we got to the road trip on Thursday when the models were putting down more than a light sprinkle like it looked like it would be on Wednesday when we forecast. Friday was particularly dreary, with almost a tenth of an inch of rain and rain that refused to climb out of the mid-50s. The Weather Service had the least bad forecast.
Actuals: Thursday – High 78, Low 48
Friday – .09 inches of rain, High 56, Low 37
This is a very similar trip as one we took a couple weeks ago, from Rapid City to Laredo, in which we spent our time mostly in the high plains on our way to West Texas. It will be a trip of two days and change, covering about three hours of Texas highway on the third day. It’s a 1234 mile drive that we will cover at a speed of 65.7mph, thanks in large part to the empty expanses we will cover. At that rate, we’ll cover 525 miles on the first two days in the car. There is a lot of prairie between Billings and Abilene, so let’s hitch up the wagon.
A warm front appears as though it will be a little bit more well established over Montana than the forecast had called for yesterday, so there looks to be a good chance for rain through until we exit Montana around noon. As we drive through Wyoming and into northern Colorado, expect clearing conditions, with the undulating elevation being the only issues to speak of. The day will end in Dacono, a suburb north of Denver.
We should be good on our second day in the car, but as we approach the border with Oklahoma and then into Texas, there will be a very remote chance for a thunderstorm anywhere from Lamar, Colorado south to Memphis, Texas, our stop for Saturday. I wouldn’t count on storm chasing because the possibility is so remote, but it is worth mentioning. The better chance is that we stay dry all day, and start to get very warm.
Tropical Storm Karl will be slamming into the coast south of the Mexican Border, but his impact will still be noticed all the way up between Memphis (which is west of Childress, if you are looking for it on a map) and Abilene. It will cut off any moisture, some good subduction will be seen across the area, and we will be left with a very pleasant drive to finish things off.
Off once again to Montana, the place where good forecasts go to die.
At 953PM, MT, Billings was reporting clear skies and a temperature of 62. The area was in a relatively dead zone in terms of pressure gradient, though there is an area of low pressure over western Canada that is helping to direct flow from the southeast.
A trough associated with the low over Canada will strengthen and dig south into Montana through the next 24 hours or so. It will be chased out quickly by a sharp ridge, after a brief shot at some light showers tomorrow afternoon. Friday will be dry with clear skies dominating the region.
Tomorrow – Partly to mostly cloudy skies, with a slight chance of late rain. High 74, Low 49
Friday – Early AM rain, then clearing, High 62, Low 45
TWC: Tomorrow – Mainly cloudy (late PM Rain). High 76, Low 54
Friday – Chance of showers. – High 59, low 49
AW: Tomorrow – Some sunshine High 74, Low 49
Friday – Partial sunshine with a shower; cooler High 53, Low 46
NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 78, Low 50
Friday – A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy High 59, Low 48
WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 77, Low 50
Friday – Mostly cloudy with a 20% chance of rain, High 58, Low 48
I can’t tell if it’s going to be standard or non standard on Friday, but most seem to think it will be cloudy despite the high moving in. I expect some busted forecasts one way or another. Clear right now, though.
I had made a comment about forecasting for Billings that inferred that such a forecast would be difficult. Oh, how wrong I was. Well, that is if you ask The Weather Channel, who had 0 problem with executing a nearly flawless forecast. There was a dash of rain on Friday that threw everything off a bit, but otherwise, it was like they had no idea they were forecasting for the High Plains.
Actuals: Thursday – Trace of rain, High 84, Low 54
Friday – .01 inches of precip, High 79, Low 60
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.