Some key messages related to Great Lakes (and east coast) birders, pulled directly from NOAA -
There is an increased disagreement between the GFS, UKMET, Canadian, and NAVGEM models versus the ECMWF since the last advisory. The ECMWF has continued its forecast of showing a northeastward motion after 72 hours, taking Joaquin just west of Bermuda and out to sea. The other models have all shifted their forecasts to the left and now call for landfall in the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic states
Why this matters: the ECMWF (Euro) is typically the BEST model, but it is the only one that is NOT calling for a landfall in the USA (of the big boys). It has Joaquin going out to sea near Bermuda. That is a HUGE DIFFERENCE compared to a storm hitting the USA.The Euro is the model that nailed Hurricane Sandy - predicting the landfall well in advance of the others. Who do you trust?! They just don't know...
the intensity forecast calls for Joaquin to peak as a major hurricane in 48-72 hours, and it is possible it could be stronger than currently forecast.
Why this matters: powerful storms = better birds. Also important to note that it is quite large (in surface coverage) already. Nowhere near Sandy in size, but this isn't the same storm!
A significant adjustment to the forecast has been made this afternoon, and this shows an increased threat to the mid-Atlantic states and the Carolinas. However, confidence in the details of the forecast after 72 hours remains low, since we have one normally excellent model that keeps Joaquin far away from the United States east coast. The range of possible outcomes is still large, and includes the possibility of a major hurricane landfall in the Carolinas.
Why this matters: We need to wait and see some consensus between the big boys (models) before we start getting excited and the blog switches over to Hurricane Mode. Sometimes the best weather events (for birding) are on a knife edge - could be fantastic, or freakin terrible - and this storm is one of those situations.
Every effort is being made to provide the forecast models with as much data as possible. The NOAA G-IV jet has begun a series of missions in the storm environment, and the National Weather Service is launching extra balloon soundings.
Why this matters: People like to bash weather forecasters. The effort going into this hurricane is immense. They want to know more than anyone (including us birders) so people can prepare in advance for a major event. Hopefully we'll know sooner rather than later, thanks to this new information being gathered.
5:15pm Wednesday. Getting that "scary" look...
BE SURE - to check back with the blog for all your birdy weather news.
OH - and I'll also be posting things on twitter. Why twitter? I dunno... But I will... Tweets appear on the right hand bar...