Lost in a fog

Forecasts for Decatur were generally not too bad, save for one nasty verifying period: Wednesday morning. Even if they didn’t explicitly say they were expecting fog in their forecast (erm, I guess that was only me) it was still in the back of our minds. Decatur did see visibilities drop to a quarter of a mile in the morning, and despite that, temperatures continued to drop, all the way to 26. The 3 coolest morning lows all collected the three top forecasts, with The Weather Channel and Forecast.io earning victory. The temperature tracking surrounding the occluded front on Thursday surprisingly didn’t play into the victory totals at all.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 51, low 26
Thursday – .24 inches of rain, High 58, low 40

Grade: B-C

Reno, Nevada to Decatur, Illinois

A trip through the Rockies and Plains as a vigorous system moves through the region… I see no reason to worry! Our three day trip will feature an extended third day, and 1,861 total miles covered. We’ll navigate the terrain of the Rockies in our shorter two days, which will conclude after 551miles of travel, all at an average pace of about 69mph. Nice.

DAY ONE (Thursday)

Reno, Nevada

There is a string of features extending from the northern Praries of Canada to the High Plains to the southwestern US. Epic rains are falling around Phoenix and in the southern Rockies, with snow falling at the highest peaks. By the time we get going tomorrow, the system will have weakened, with precipitation becoming limited to the upper elevations along our route. We may not see any precipitation on the roads, but there will be some nearby, in the Ruby Range in northeast Nevada, and by Park City, Utah. We’ll stop in Coalville, not too far beyond Park City.

DAY TWO (Friday)
As high pressure filters back into the High Plains, moisture will be scoured out of the low lying terrain. We might see some mid level or high clouds as we trek through Wyoming, north of the snow falling in the peaks of Colorado. Wyoming has a lot of beautiful parts, but none of them are along I-80, so hustle through and get to the western part of Nebraska, where we will stop in Brule for the night.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
The very same system that we saw on Thursday will be sweeping through the Lower Mississippi Valley, shuttling to the northeast. An inverted trough at the north end of the low will be pointed into Illinois, into some chilly air. Nebraska and Iowa should be sunny and dry, but the threat and intensity of snow will increase the closer we get to Decatur.

Decatur, Illinois

Decatur, Illinois

I feel like the heart of Illinois is a good place to really see what synoptic scale weather patterns can do

AT 854PM, CT, Decatur was reporting a temperature of 36 degrees. Above freezing temperatures after fresh rain and snow have led to low clouds and fog beginning to develop in the region thanks to clear skies and calm winds. After what should be a foggy morning tomorrow, emerging low pressure in the High Plains will drive warm air northward throughout the day tomorrow.
Decatur is far enough south that the emerging low will bring a threat for rain or even an isolated rumble of thunder as the feature slides north towards the Upper Midwest and sends an active cold front into Illinois by sunrise. The system is going to be fast moving and will be through by the early afternoon, leaving a chilly but clear evening by Thursday.
Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 50, Low 32
Thursday – Rain early, at times heavy, High 54, Low 41

TWC: Tomorrow – Areas of patchy fog early. Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 51, Low 29
Thursday – Showers in the morning then continued cloudy and windy in the afternoon. High 59, Low 44

AW: Tomorrow – Sunny to partly cloudy and milder High 52, Low 32
Thursday – Breezy and mild in the morning; otherwise, cloudy with showers, mainly early in the day High 60, Low 45

NWS: Tomorrow – Widespread fog, mainly before 8am. Otherwise, partly sunny, High 53, Low 33
Thursday – Rain, mainly before noon High 61, Low 43

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, Widespread fog in the morning, High 49, Low 31
Thursday – Rain in the morning, then a chance of rain in the afternoon, High 57, Low 41

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 53, Low 33
Thursday – Partly cloudy with light rain, High 61, Low 46

FIO: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High 49, Low 28
Thursday – Light rain and windy in the morning. High 61, Low 41

It’s going to be a pretty virulent system that moves through the country this week, but if there is any good news, it’s that it is moving through now, rather than later in the season, when more snow would fall, or in the spring, when severe storms are likely. Here, we can just see fog developing.