Riders on the storm

I absolutely love that Doors song, which probably explains why this blog post title has been recycled four times since 2007. Anyway, if you were in the Northeast or mid-Atlantic last night then you probably heard (and/or felt) the latest cold front roar across the region as it headed east into the Atlantic Ocean. With it went some locally-heavy rainfall, and behind it built in some gusty winds out of the NNW… carrying feathered cargo. Here’s the radar from sunset last night through 5:00am this morning.

Frames are every 1/2 hour. Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

Base Reflectivity image from Fort Dix Base Velocity image from Fort Dix Base Reflectivity image from Dover AFB Base Velocity image from Dover AFB Base Reflectivity image from Upton NY Base Velocity image from Upton NY Composite Base Reflectivity image from the Northeastern USA

What a classic fall migration event! If you check out the regional composite you can see the frontal boundary pushing off the east coast into late last night while the radars behind the front quickly transition from precipitation to migration as conditions improve. Migration was heavy throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey while New York exhibited a less significant flight. Looking at the radial velocity images you can really see the effect of strong NW winds in the upper atmosphere as birds were concentrated along the coast and funneled down the southern NJ peninsula. At the surface winds have been more northerly and even northeasterly, which should disperse some of these migrants as they land this morning. Still, these conditions favor coastal migrant traps such as Sandy Hook to the north and Cape May to the south.

Expect winds to persist out of the north today eventually turning northeast by this evening. This should produce a decent raptor flight throughout the day with the best conditions along the coast occurring in the morning and inland locations getting better later in the day. Unfortunately increased cloud cover during the day will diminish thermal lift and could impact inland hawkwatches before the wind potential can be realize. It’ll be a wait-and-see game today. Either way, today will be a great day to visit Cape May, and with the Autumn Weekend kicking into high gear there will be plenty of great eyes in the field to help spot the birds. I hope to see you out there!

Good Birding


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