That, my friends, is a lot of W’s. We are going to trek through the Great Lakes right in the middle of winter. Does this mean Lake effect snow? Maybe! There is only one way o find out, I suppose. Our drive till take one long day, covering 606 miles, bogged down by the Windy City, which will let us move at a nearly glacial pace of 62mph. We’ll get there. Sometime.
It’s not Lake effect snow that will be the problem on our Saturday drive, but rather just standard, regular back side of an area of low pressure snow that will be an issue. It’s not going to be heavy, save, perhaps for the stretch of northern Indiana downwind of Lake Michigan. the snow will be wet, too, and well trafficked roads might not even ice over with the snow. But any snow, especially in a metropolitan area like Chicago, is going to really slow down travel. Snow will still be possible across Ohio, but it will be a misty, flaky brand of snow that won’t accumulate and will be tough to wipe off your windshield without the help of washer fluid. Weirton awaits, whether or not you can get the grime off your windshield.
I think this might be the first road trip of the year, right? It will be a 3 day trip through the heart of the country, covering 1689 miles at a pace of about 65mph. That will mean the first two days will be complete after just short of 520 miles on days 1 and 2, with a 10 hour day coming on Sunday. 2020, here we come!
DAY ONE (Friday)
We are headed for a trip through the southern Rockies at the right time. Atmospheric instability is confined to the central Plains for the most part, with a dose in the northern Rockies, leaving Arizona and New Mexico fairly unperturbed. We’ll check in on Flagstaff and Albuquerque on our eastward journey, stopping west of Santa Rosa, New Mexico to end our day and our work week.
DAY TWO (Saturday) As we continue to the east, we’ll slice through a couple of Panhandles before spending the rest of the day in southern Kansas. I don’t recall ever spending much time in this part of the world on a road trip, and I especially don’t remember cutting through Wichita to get anywhere. Usually, it’s just a bypass on I-35. Not this time! Instead, we will enjoy an increasingly warm day, free of any atmospheric interference before we reach El Dorado, where we will end our day. Along the way, appreciate Greensburg, a city that has had to completely rebuild after a devastating tornado in 2007.
DAY THREE (Sunday) Sure, this day will be the longest, and it will also be the gloomiest, with clouds becoming much more likely thanks to a combination of general troughiness* over the Plains, and the melting snow north of Kansas City leading to clouds and fog along most of the route. On the other hand, at least the car won’t be unbearably hot because of the penetrative sun, and we will get to see Des Moines! And Dubuque! Both are very nice towns. So is Madison, for those unaware.