Hurricane Michael has made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, between Apalachicola and Panama City Beach. It’s a big storm, that’s fast moving, which will limit the flooding, but exasperates the wind and surge in the region. The storm is going to bring trouble well inland, even as far northeast as the Carolinas, but not even as far west as Pensacola or Mobile. At the beginning of the month, we had a forecast for another Gulf Coast state, as we visited Pascagoula in southern Mississippi. There had been a stationary front along the Gulf coast that threatened to bring isolated showers and storms to the region, and most outlets suspected that threat of rain would limit temperatures. I bought into the trends, and Victoria-Weather joined Accuweather atop the leaderboard for the forecast in Pascagoula. Actuals: Monday (10-1) – .01 inches of rain, high 90, Low 72 Tuesday – High 91, Low 73
Let’s get our October started off right, and make our way from Upstate New York to southern Mississippi on a 2 and a half day journey across middle America. The trip will cover 1382 miles at a pace of 69mph. Days 1 and 2 will have a goal of 552miles, with day three shorter and allowing some beach time.
DAY ONE (Monday)
There is an orphaned band of precipitation at the southern flank of high pressure over the Great Lakes, and it will continue to present western New York with the threat for an isolated shower through most of the day. Even so, the ability to draw moisture towards the boundary is going to be compromised by undercutting troughs, and our route is likely to be mostly unoccosted, because the trough causing precipitation in New York will be slightly north of the New York Thruway. Certainly, by the time we pass Dunkirk, we will be out of the woods, and with that area of precipitation organizing around a developing wave around Lake Michigan, the drive through Ohio looks pretty good. We’ll call it a day around Midway, Ohio, which is Midway between Columbus and Cincinnati.
DAY TWO (Tuesday) As the wave in the Great Lakes moves east, it will collect a bit of moisture and dangle a weak line of showers and isolated embedded thunderstorms through the Ohio and Tennessee Valley. It’s going to line up right along our route, and I-65 will be fairly damp through Kentucky and Tennessee. It should be a bit more stable by the time we reach Alabama, however, and the drive through the northern part of the state will be hot, humid but free of rain. We’ll end up in the Pelham area, which is a southern suburb of Birmingham.
DAY THREE (Wednesday) Everything is looking great for the southern US by mid-week. There is nothing on the horizon for southern Alabama, and if we see anything in Pascagoula, it will be a brief shower off the Gulf, but I’m not expecting even that.
Let’s go ahead and get away from the East Coast for a little while, and move towards the Gulf Coast. Not quite the same, even if they are seaside.
At 243PM CT, Pascagoula was reporting a temperature of 91 degrees with fair skies. A stationary boundary that stretched along the Gulf Coast was touching off some isolated thunderstorms in the region, including one cell just north of Biloxi. Thunderstorm activity will likely diminish as the afternoon wears on and instability dissipates. The boundary is appended to Tropical Storm Leslie, who is presently spinning in the north Atlantic, not threatening any land masses. Because there isn’t much momentum delivered to the region by the parent low, the threat for rain will lessen in the next couple of days, despite little change to the synoptic pattern. More sun and fewer clouds might lead to an extra degree or two on the high end. Tomorrow – Mostly sunny with isolated thunderstorms possible, High 92, Low 71 Tuesday – Mostly sunny with isolated thunderstorms in the area, High 91, Low 71
TWC: Tomorrow – Scattered showers and thunderstorms. high 86, Low 76 Tuesday – Partly cloudy early. Scattered thunderstorms developing in the afternoon. High 88, Low 76
AW: Tomorrow – Some sun, then turning cloudy, a shower or thunderstorm; humid, High 88, Low 74 Tuesday – Partial sunshine; warm and humid High 89, Low 74
NWS: Tomorrow – A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1pm. Partly sunny, High 86, Low 77 Tuesday – A chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 1pm. Partly sunny High 87, Low 76
WB: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy. Slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the morning, then chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 87, Low 75 Tuesday – Partly cloudy. Slight chance of showers in the morning then chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon, High 88, Low 74
WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with scattered storms, High 86, Low 77 Tuesday – Partly cloudy with scattered showers, High 87, Low 76
FIO: Tomorrow – Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High 88, Low 75 Tuesday – Partly cloudy overnight. High 88, Low 75
There is a threat for some thunderstorms for the next couple of days, but I feel like the the other outlets are overselling the threat and reflecting that in their temperature forecasts. Here is the radar now, with most of the activity lingering down towards New Orleans.
Today we embark on a 4-day, 1,790 mile trek from the Gulf Coast to the heart of Utah. Perhaps it’s move-in day for one of your kids at BYU? Let’s see if the weather will cooperate for such an event!
We head out of Shreveport westward along the coast, with perhaps some patchy fog to deal with. This should burn off by mid-morning. A ridge of high pressure is found over the area in a north-south fashion, keeping most of the afternoon showers/thunderstorms west of Baton Rouge. Even then, there won’t be much we have to dodge as we pull into Shreveport, LA in the mid-afternoon hours.
It’s going to be a long westward trip through TX today. Luckily, high pressure continues to keep most of the route dry as a system begins to develop throughout the Rockies. There could be some increasing clouds once we get past Dallas, but another dry day looks to be in the books as we pull into Amarillo for the night.
Low pressure continues to develop over the Central Rockies and eventually pushes out into the Northern/Central Plains by the end of the day. The start of the day should be fine as we leave Amarillo and head off for New Mexico. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected to dot the landscape as we negotiate our way through the mountains. We eventually finish the day in Farmington, NM, not far from the Four Corners marker.
Almost there! It’ll be more mountains as we push through far southwestern CO and then southeast UT. High pressure reasserts itself over the region, and should be a fairly nice day as we make our way to Provo just in time for the weekend!
I don’t even know what happened. I just completely forgot to put forecast highs and lows in there for Wednesday in Pascagoula. It’s like I did the first part of the forecast and said “well, that’s it, I’m taking the rest of the year off.” Oops! It’s too bad, too, because at that point, Victoria-Weather had the 2nd best forecast to Weatherbug. Weatherbug’s temperature forecasts for Wednesday were disastrous, though, so they weren’t able to maintain the top forecast standings (ultimately getting last place, somehow, of forecasters that actually finished forecasting), with the National Weather Service and WeatherNation grabbing the top spot for the last forecast issued in 2014.
Actuals: Tuesday – High 57, Low 39
Wednesday – Rain reported, not measured, High 72, Low 54
Apologies for not getting to this forecast last night, regular readers, but we are so late in the year that we aren’t tallying forecast totals for 2014 any longer, so the timing isn’t as imperative. Still, Pascagoula deserves a forecast, and I’m here to give it to them.
At 852AM, CT, Pascagoula was reporting mostly cloudy skies with a temperature of 41 degrees. Low clouds over the Gulf Coast have shifted south towards southeastern Louisiana, or have not lifted, as is the case in the Florida Panhandle. At this point, the issue is high pressure causing a low level inversion in southern Mississippi, rather than coastal effects or an impending system.
That said, a sharp trough in the Desert Southwest will slide east-northeast into the southern Plains, arriving there by late Friday night. As it approaches, southerly flow off the Gulf will return with morning fog and day long ceilings tomorrow. Thunderstorms may be possible by Friday morning as the warm front itself emerges and comes ashore, with vigorous onshore flow keeping conditions dreary through the remainder of the day Friday.
Tomorrow – Foggy early, with clouds and a chance of rain late, High 59, Low 38
Friday – Showers and thunderstorms early, with cloudy skies through the remainder of the day.
TWC: Tomorrow – Mostly Cloudy, High 62, Low 41
Friday – Thunderstorms, High 65, Low 52
AW: Tomorrow – Thickening clouds High 61, low 40
Friday – Rain and a thunderstorm High 66, Low 50
NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny (rain in the evening) High 59, Low 41
Friday – Showers likely. Cloudy High 65, Low 53
WB: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy (late rain). High 58, Low 38
Friday – Cloudy with rain showers likely. High 65, Low 48
WN: Tomorrow – Partly Cloudy with Light Showers Likely High 59, Low 41
Friday – Mostly Cloudy with Light Showers Likely High 66, Low 52
It appears as though we will be in for a damp beginning to the year in southern Mississippi. If there are fireworks or anything like that tonight, though, things look good in Pascagoula. Here is the satellite, showing off generally low topped clouds along the Gulf and more significant weather well to the west.
The big snowmaker along the east coast originated in the eastern Gulf, but it moved quickly away from Pascagoula. It also did a pretty good job of effectively driving cold air south into southern Mississippi as it departed. The result? Clear skies and lows that were ultimately up to 12 degrees cooler than expected. Highs played nice, but everyone missed out on the freeze they saw on Wednesday, and the near freeze on Thursday. Well, nearly everyone. Accuweather dominated this forecast, with only 10 degrees of error, while everyone else missed by at least 18.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 62, Low 30
Thursday – High 60, Low 33
There is going to be a fairly significant east coast snow storm, just in time for the busiest travel day of the year. We’ll discuss it further in the morning, but for now, let’s go to the Gulf Coast and relax for a bit.
At 353PM, Central Time, Pascagoula was reporting a temperature of 56 degrees with overcast skies. Rain was widespread to the southeast, generally off shore, associated with a stalled boundary that runs from off the coast of New England to Florida. Along the boundary, a surface wave will develop from off shore of South Carolina to east of the Mississippi Delta, and rotation associated with the low will cause it to back into Pascagoula overnight before the Low hooks up with a very strong jet stream and rockets northeast towards New England.
There is no threat of the upper level trough pressing south towards Pascagoula and thereby generating overcast conditions or instilling an immovable cold air pool. Instead, while temperatures will be off a bit compared to normal, the pattern starting before sunrise will be one that trends towards a return towards normal with sunny skies during the day both tomorrow afternoon and on Thanksgiving. Expect a bit of a breeze tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow – Rain shortly after midnight, then clearing and pleasant, High 65, Low 38
Thanksgiving – Sunny, High 64, Low 41
TWC: Tomorrow – Sunny High 62, Low 37
Thursday – Sunny, High 61, Low 43
AW: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny High 63, Low 32
Thursday – Plenty of sunshine High 61, Low 39
NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 62, Low 41
Thursday – Sunny, High 60, Low 46
WB: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 62, Low 38
Thursday – Sunny, High 62, Low 42
WN: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 63, Low 39
Thursday – Sunny, High 61, Low 45
So everyone has everything clearing out, the only difference is that I have rain lingering a bit longer than other outlets. Here is the current radar, showing the action off shore.
We are breaking our streak of single day road trips with this, a longer 2 day excursion covering 927 miles at a pace of 65.5mph. Our first day will be done after about 523.5 mile, leaving a shorter day on Tuesday, though looking at how busy Monday could be, it might be nice to go shorter on Monday. That’s not the way it works though. Let’s pack up the car and leave on the snow tires for one last wintry trip this season.
Expect some light snow in Parkersburg and even heavier activity as we head south through the Mountaineer State. If we weren’t driving through mountains, the precipitation would be changing over to rain as we crossed into Virginia, but that transition likely won’t take hold until we descend into Wytheville. As we double back through the Smokey Mountains, the light rain will end somewhere between Bristol and Knoxville, giving way to a solid stretch of sunnier skies through eastern Tennessee and north Georgia. Our day will be through when we reach the Georgia-Alabama state border. We can call it a night at in Valley Head, Alabama, which is the first exit in that fine state.
The drive on Tuesday will be quite enjoyable. High pressure is expected to build into the southeastern United States, which will cap any moisture from bubbling up from the Gulf of Mexico. The sun will be out, and it will be fairly dry, so it will be good to keep the windows open. Besides, southern Alabama (and I assume Mississippi) are pretty scenic.
All right, a road trip! The trip from western Pennsylvania to southern Mississippi is a 2 day trip in perfect conditions. We will not be travelling in perfect conditions, however, and instead, it looks like a bit of a travel nightmare. The mileage will be 1061 miles, and in those idyllic conditions, that means an average rate of speed of 63.3mph. Our goal for Monday night will be to cover about 500 miles. Let’s hit the road. The icy, horrible road.
Things are going to go sidewise pretty quickly tomorrow as we start out from Johnstown. Snow will begin as we arrive in West Virginia and will become remarkably heavy by the time we reach Clarksburg. We will definitely be slowed through the state of West Virginia, but if we can continue through the state at the pace we estimated earlier, we will be out of the snow in a matter of about 3 hours, as snow will be steadily pulling eastward Fortunately, we will not encounter any of the freezing rain or sleet that will make the system memorable. Really, though, with temperatures below freezing even through Thorngrove, Tennessee, the day one destination, roads will be slick thanks to the fresh precipitation and the ice received overnight in eastern Tennessee. Maybe better luck on Tuesday?
Well, our luck WILL be better as we head out of Thorngrove, which is north of Knoxville. Temperatures will be warmer so the roads will be passable, and there won’t be any fresh precipitation falling. Not until about Birmingham, anyways. There will be some Gulf moisture working north, and we could see some low clouds and some spots of drizzle from Birmingham south to Mobile. By the time we get there, heavier rain will be arriving ashore, and the stretch from Mobile to Pascagoula will probably be a bit wetter than we would like. We will be dodging rain drops when we descend upon Pascagoula.