Tag Archives: Missoula

Big Sky Bake off

As July fell into February, the mountainous Montana metropolis of Missoula was enjoying some mild air thanks in part to the elevation, but also because it opted to enjoy the Praitie’s cool rather than the Pacific Northwest’s intense heat. As everyone knows, though, warm air rises, and Missoula got much hotter as the foecast period progressed, reaching 95 degrees by Wednesday afternoon. There were no thunderstorms to break the heat, despite the wishes of most residents, but to the benefit of Accuweather, who had the top forecast.
Tuesday – High 85, Low 53
Wednesday – High 95, Low 55

Grade: C

Missoula, Montana to Sherman, Texas

I know we didn’t spend a whole lot of time in Missoula, but now, it’s time to check out and make our way down towards Texas. This is going to be a shorter trip, covering 1729 miles and lasting 3 days, with the third day lasting a bit longer than the first two. Per hour, we will cover 69 miles, which means the first days will be complete after 553 miles. Speed limits are mere suggestions in High Plains.

DAY ONE (Thursday)

We’re driving from Montana through Wyoming, but the weather attention on Thursday will be directed at the Northwest Territories. Low pressure near Yellowknife will hook up with a developing surface trough over the Rockies and begin dragging it eastward. This will open up the monsoon into the Wyoming Rockies, and will exasperate the threat for wildfires in Montana, with hot dry air being drawn north from the Plains. Hopefully, we can steer clear of any infernos, but that’s out of our control. Day One will end in Kaycee, Wyoming, north of Casper.

DAY TWO (Friday)
The trough over the Rockies will shift into the High Plains through the day on Friday. This will help destabilize eastern Colorado, and as we pass through the region, there might be some isolated strong thunderstorms between Denver and the Kansas border. Hot, sunny skies will likely follow as we reach Kansas, but the thunderstorms will follow us to Baxter, Kansas, as we sleep off a long day of travel.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
All of that convection is going to drift northeast with the Rocky Mountain low, which is passing into the Upper Midwest. High pressure with a dry south wind will sweep the prairies, and we should have no problem getting though Kansas and Oklahoma, right on in to Sherman.

Valdosta, Georgia to Missoula, Montana

We’re going to be running  across the country for the rest of the week and right up into the weekend. We’ll be taking a 4 day trip, taking on 2390 miles, though the last day of the drive will be extra long. We’ll be working at a pace of about 68mph, covering 546 miles on the first three travel days, finishing it off on a very long Sunday. The kids are back in school soon, so let’s enjoy the time on the rod while we can.


DAY ONE (Thursday)

I’ve been looking forward to firing up one of these bad boys for a very long time, so here we are. Of course, the first impression of this journey will say “hey, maybe we should turn around and stay in Georgia.” A weakish area of low pressure is going to be translating through the Great Lakes and turning northeast to the Canadian Maritimes. For our purposes, that will mean a plume of moisture draped across the southeast. Bands of rain and thunderstorms will batter Georgia and keep Chattanooga damp for at least the time we are travelling through those regions. Life will improve by the time we hit Monteagle, Tennessee, with clearing, crisper skies continuing through Nashville, with the sun peeking through when we arrive in Cadiz, Kentucky, our destination for night one.

DAY TWO (Friday)
As we head both westward and towards the weekend, life will be greatly improved. High pressure is struggling to backfill behind that wide ranging area of precipitation on the East Coast. A weak boundary moving through the Upper Midwest will try to press into Missouri, but it will be absent the necessary moisture to help fuel showers and storms. We might see some cumulus near Columbia, Missouri, but it’s more likely that we skate through Friday completely dry before arriving in Amazonia, north of Kansas City. Sounds exotic.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
The north-south leg of our journey will mean a need to focus on weather moving west to east, and for the most part, there won’t be any. Expect a dry day, heading north on I-29 towards Sioux Falls, with only a few clouds north of Omaha. A trough will be elongating from the central Rockies towards the northern Canadian Prairies, and by the time we get to Sioux Falls, there will be some rumbles of thunder in southeastern South Dakota.. We should be clear of the really heavy stuff by the time we reach Mitchell, but fog and clouds will fill back in through Kadoka over night. Kadoka, by the way, is where we are stopping on Saturday evening.

Low pressure will begin to spiral up again in the Rockies, recycling moisture into western South Dakota. A dreary start to the day and to our drive will turn right around before we get to Billings. Around Crow Agency, we’ll say, the skies will clear and we’ll leave the rain in the Black Hills and head west through Montana, unencumbered by showers or thunderstorms. Expect wonderful weather by the time we reach Missoula.

Missoula, Montana

Much of the weather has been centered in the High Plains in the last few days, with high pressure parked in the eastern US. In the western US, the story has been the heat. What’s the story between, right in the northern Rockies?

At 1053PM, MT, Missoula was reporting a temperature of 65 degrees with clear skies. Missoula finds itself between two other features, with the trough contributing to the severe weather in rhw High Plains to the south, and a broad upper level trough in Hudson Bay draping a cold front east to west through the central Canadian Prairies.
All things will be moving to the south through the night, meaning the Canadian Cold front is the feature to take note of in Missoula. The heat wave inducing ridge is directed towards western Montana, which will slow the advance of the cold front until after the forecast period is through and notch up temperatures in the interim. Still, expect some increasing clouds which will help allay the heat on Tuesday afternoon.
Tomorrow – Sunny, High 88, Low 57
Tuesday – Increasing clouds, High 91, Low 61

TWC: Tomorrow  –  Sunny skies, High 94, Low 53
Tuesday – Partly cloudy skies in the morning will give way to cloudy skies during the afternoon. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 94, Low 55

AW: Tomorrow – Plenty of sunshine; very warm, High 93, Low 52
Tuesday – Partial sunshine; very warm High 93, Low 55

NWS: Tomorrow – Widespread haze. Sunny,High 92, Low 56
Tuesday – Mostly sunny,  (late storms) – High 94, Low 58

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny haze, High 92, Low 52
Tuesday – Partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon, High 93, Low 54

WN: Tomorrow – Hazy, High 92, Low 56
Tuesday – Partly cloudy with isolated storms, High 94, Low 58

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy in the evening. High 89, Low 56
Tuesday – Mostly cloudy starting in the morning. High 93, Low 60

Satellite is pretty dadgum quiet across the west.


Diurnal Trickery

Most of the forecasts called for a dry start to the week, or perhaps a slight chance of some activity around Missoula for Tuesday. Nothing did transpire, but a larger than expected diurnal on Tuesday threw off a bunch of predictions. WeatherNation took home on the win by nailing Monday’s temps on the nose.

Monday: High 81, Low 50.
Tuesday: High 86, Low 48.
Forecast Grade: B

Missoula, Montana

Taking this show out west tonight. There will be some strong thunderstorms picking up tonight in the eastern part of the state and making for an interesting day tomorrow in the Great Lakes.

At 753PM, MT, Missoula was reporting clear skies and a temperature of 74 degrees. The dew point was in the 30s, and a weak cold front has developed over southern Montana along a low slung summer time jet. Missoula’s mountainous position and the cooler air mass bode well for the next two days.
Laminar flow aloft will lead to some weak lee troughing in Montana, but will leave the western part of the state unperturbed. the tail of the jet will move through the area Tuesday afternoon, allowing for a better chance at free convection, but the moisture will be limited, and the shear will likely only manifest as clouds at the mountaintops.
Tomorrow – Sunny, High 80, Low 51
Tuesday – Mostly cloudy, High 81, low 52

TWC: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 82, Low 49
Tuesday – Partly cloudy, High 83, Low 53

AW: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sunshine High 80, Low 45
Tuesday – Intervals of clouds and sunshine with a thunderstorm in spots in the afternoon High 83, low 48

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 80, Low 49
Tuesday – A slight chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon. Partly sunny, High 82, low 50

WB: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy. High 80, Low 48
Tuesday – Partly cloudy. Slight chance of rain showers in the morning…Then slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation 20 percent High 83, low 50

WN: Tomorrow – Partly Cloudy High 81, low 50
Tuesday – Partly Cloudy with Isolated Showers High 82, low 50

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy until evening. High 82, Low 51
Tuesday – Partly cloudy until evening. Hgh 80, Low 54

Where the showers and high clouds are on this imagery is also where the jet stream is. Not bad for Missoula.

Springlike in Montana

Tempertures in western Montana soared into the 50s through the weekend. Of course, that warm up also came with some rain showers, which wasn’t of grave concern for the residents of Missoula, if they were the type that enjoyed such warm weather. Moer likely, though, many people there were hoping for snow and cold weather for the ski slopes around town. OF course, Missoula is in a valley, and there was some high elevation snow. Maybe all wasn’t lost. If nothing else, there is an icy snowpack that will lead to some very fast slopes. Accuweather and The Weather Channel tied for the top spot.
Actuals: Saturday, .34 inches of rain High 51, Low 37
Sunday – .18 inches of rain, High 53, Low 32

Grade: C-D

New Haven, Connecticut to Missoula, Montana

Let’s see if this westward journey will be as enjoyable as Anthony’s trip was yesterday. We’re going to be taking a 5 day trip that covers 2459.8 miles. That should work out to about 65mph with a daily pace of nearly 520 miles a day. The 5th day will be a bit shorter. This is going to be a little bit more grueling than yesterday’s trip, isn’t it?

DAY ONE (Saturday)
New Haven
The Northeast has been assaulted by snow lately. Connecticut has been particularly hard hit, though it was rougher in the eastern and northern part of the state. There will be a little bit of light precipitation as we start on our way from New Haven, but the good news is, it will be falling as rain. The bad news, of course, is that it may be freezing on contact. Oops. Slick conditions with a little bit of freezing drizzle will continue through Williamsport. After we get to western PA, things will clear out, and the rest of the day will be marvelous. We’ll end the day in Richfield, Ohio, south of Cleveland, which will also be marvelous.

DAY TWO (Sunday)
An organizing area of low pressure along a mostly stationary boundary in the Great Lakes will begin to churn things up across our route on Sunday. It will be raining lightly as we begin our drive in Richfield. We’ll be driving almost directly through the central low pressure in northern Indiana, which means that we’ll see light rain all the way through Chicago. Sometime around Rockford, some light snow may begin mixing in with the rain, and by the time we hit Madison, it should be all snow. We won’t go much further than Madison, stopping for the day in Portage, Wisconsin.

DAY THREE (Monday)
The area of low pressure that brought us the light rain and snow on Sunday will safely be tucked away in New England, bringing a ton of snow to Boston again, and perhaps a bit of ice to New Haven. Our day will be significantly less stressful. The drive through western Wisconsin and Minnesota will be pretty relaxed. Mostly sunny skies with dry roads will take us through Saint Cloud, at which point we will be reaching a weak warm front producing some light precipitation and a fairly dense overcast. The day will end in Peak, North Dakota, a small town near Valley City, still under the threat for light snow.

DAY FOUR (Tuesday)
It’s going to snow overnight in eastern North Dakota, and there is a pretty decent chance that wet snow will continue through western North Dakota as we make the trip. They close roads in the Plains if the winds are too strong in the midst of snow storms, but that shouldn’t be an issue on Tuesday, so we’ll be left to muddle through the snowy conditions. Things will begin to wrap up shortly after we’ve passed through Glendive. It will be cloudy with chances for lighter snow than we saw in North Dakota (it will remind of what we see in Wisconsin) as we pass through eastern Montana. The day will end, still under the auspice of flurry activity, in Ballantine, which is in suburban Billings.

DAY FIVE (Wednesday)
High pressure and upsloping is going to develop in Montana through midweek. This means we will see chilly but dry conditions throughout the plains in Montana, but by the time we start climbing into the Rockies, temperatures will start to climb.There is a pretty good chance that by the time we reach Missoula it will be back in the 40s.

Missoula, Montana

Into the mountains for tonights forecast. There’s been a bit of a warm up for Montana recently. Will it last?

At 953PM, MT, Missoula was reporting a temperature of 48 degrees with overcast skies. The Pineapple Express has set itself up and is importing a great deal of moisture into the Pacific Northwest. An area of low pressure in southwestern Canada is tapping into this moisture and redistributing it through the northern Rockies. This is leading to the widespread overcast and fairly warm temperatures for Missoula, though the topography of the region is helping prevent rain.
Moist flow will continue to rush into western Montana through day tomorrow. A particularly heavy round of rain will arrive in the area in the early morning tomorrow, and will be laden with enough moisture to lead to rain in Missoula. Tomorrow won’t be a wash by any stretch of the imagination, but there will be a chance for showers through the day. The chance for rain will continue into the early morning Sunday, but a strong surface low developing within the Express will emerge off the northern California coast. It will work to draw flow towards itself, and thereby bring dry air to the city. Ultimately, expect the system to slam back into Missoula on Monday, but for this forecast’s purposes, expect a greatly improved day on Sunday.
Tomorrow – Rain likely, breezy in the evening. High 49, Low 37
Sunday – Light showers in the morning, clearing late, High 44, Low 36

TWC: Tomorrow – Showers, High 45, Low 38
Sunday – AM Showers, High 51, Low 36

AW: Tomorrow – Periods of rain High 45, Low 38
Sunday – Some sun, then turning cloudy (early showers) High 47, Low 32

NWS: Tomorrow – Rain. High 47, Low 39
Sunday – A 30 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, High 49, Low 38

WB: Tomorrow – Rain likely. Chance of rain near 100 percent High 45, Low 40
Sunday – Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of rain. High 45, Low 35

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly Cloudy with Light Rain High 46, Low 39
Sunday – Mostly Cloudy with Scattered Showers High 48, Low 37

FIO: Tomorrow – Light rain until evening. High 46, Low 37
Sunday – Mixed precipitation overnight. High 44, Low 34

Currently, models aren’t doing great with temperatures (too cold) and then, tomorrow, forecasters are doubting what the guidance is suggesting, and forecasting well below model guidance. I am splitting the difference and going closer to what the super computers are suggesting. Here is the satellite imagery, showing the very active picture for the northwest.

What happened to all the snow?

That system in Missoula that everyone thought would give the town a healthy dose of 2-3″ of snow when we looked on Tuesday? Hardly. Missoula only ended up with a tenth of an inch of snow on Wednesday. They actually got more snow yesterday with a newly arriving system that we meteorologist thought had a very slim chance of arriving, or, in my case, didn’t think would get there at all. Temperature forecasts were admirable, however, so the forecast wasn’t a complete disaster. Accuweather had the top forecast.
Actuals: Wednesday – .10 inches of snow, High 33, Low 22
Thursday – .20 inches of snow, High 25, Low 12

Grade: B