Racine, Wisconsin to Phoenix, Arizona

I think a nice trip down to the desert would suit the winter much better. Instead, it seems like someone in the Midwest wishing summer would arrive is getting too much too fast. The drive will take 3+ days, and cover 1771 miles. The drive will be surprisingly slow, at only a bit more than 65mph, which means the first two days will be through after 524.7 miles traveled. Chicago and some time off interstates will contribute o our delayed transit, but also provide a chance for more scenery.

Racine, Wisconsin

DAY ONE (Thursday)
All right, let’s go! Midwest driving is the best. Wide open spaces, but with enough towns so you can find a gas station, and won’t need to pee on the side of the road in case of emergency. There is a pretty small time cold front moving through the Upper Midwest, and it is more likely to touch off a few thunderstorms in Minnesota and northern Wisconsin tomorrow. There will be enough general instability in southern Wisconsin and Iowa that we will probably see quite a bit of puffy cumulus clouds during our day, but none that will give us any reason to turn on the wipers, We’ll turn south at Des Moines. and reach Lathrop, Missouri, northeast of Kansas City before the day’s end.

DAY TWO (Friday)
A menacing batch of low pressure will develop through the day in the Colorado plains on Friday. Ultimately, it won’t produce a lot of thunderstorm activity but the activity that is generated will almost be entirely supercellular, with large hail and tornadoes the primary concern. These low precipitation, high rotation type of super cells are a chasers dream, so don’t be surprised by traffic in western Kansas as we head for the Panhandles. Of course, that added traffic will also probably indicate very nasty weather near by. The dry line will set up east of Guymon, Oklahoma, and we will make it to Stratford, Texas, in the far northern Panhandle, safe from the threat of a tornado outbreak on Friday night.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
The thing about New Mexico and Arizona is that they are always (save for far eastern New Mexico) on the dry side of dry lines. Sun and heat are going to bear down on the lower lying terrain, while it will be a bit cooler in the higher elevations. Some light rain is possible up in Colorado, but by golly, we’re going to get to Phoenix hot, sunny and sweaty, just they way it’s supposed to be.

Phoenix, Arizona
By Alan StarkFlickr: Downtown Phoenix Skyline Lights, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link