To soar eagles need thermals, which result from heat of the sun reflecting off the earth's surface.
This just didn't happen in the region last week and this week does not look much better.
El Niño has affected the weather patterns in the West tremendously and have caused one storm system after
another in the Pacific Northwest. Once again, it looks as though it will
be a wet week in Washington, and on the few days where there will not be precipitation, clouds should prevail over
the area, making it very difficult for any thermals to form.
The map for Thursday looks ominous--it could indeed be stormy! It doesn't bode well for the eagles this
week....will you be surprised if they've moved when you check the data next Monday?
If you were an eagle, would you want to go out and use a lot of energy to travel---especially in the rain? Answer
that question, and then make your guess as to how the eagles in the west will move.
Review of Last Week's Weather
As expected, multiple storm systems moved through the state of Washington throughout the week. When
the eagles were spared any precipitation, the skies were cloudy either from the storm that just left, or the storm
that was about to come in. One would have to say that the weather did not give
the eagles much of a chance to move.
New information from buoys taking water temperature samples is in. It appears El Niño will be staying around
for much of the migratory season.
That means that the waters of the Pacific off the coast of Peru and northward are warmer than normal. This in means
lots of evaporation over the ocean, and thunderstorms! Thunderstorms affect the jet stream. Northern California
and the Pacific Northwest could be in for a rough stormy late winter.
The week ahead does not look favorable for the eagles to trek North. There is a good chance that another
storm just like last week's is coming. It is scheduled to get to the Northeast very late Tuesday , and carry over
into Wednesday. The map for Tuesday morning (see above) shows the main circulation (or LOW) spinning over the Kentucky/Tennessee
border. This time the temperatures should be colder in the Northeast to start. So the
places where our eagles are will probably receive a mixed bag of precipitation including rain, sleet, and snow.
This will carry into Wednesday
Look where the sunshine will be in the East on Wednesday. It looks like Florida is the place to be! Like the
storm last week, this storm will leave high winds with us for a while after it passes. That should take us right
Can you guess if and how the eagles are going to move when the new data comes in? You can see if you are right
Review of Last Week's Weather
The nor'easter predicted for last week hit the entire state of New York hard. The storm hit with a fury
leaving heavy rain in its wake. The wind spun counterclockwise around the circulation (LOW pressure center). The
worst of the storm struck on Thursday leaving the skies mostly cloudy until
late Friday. From Friday into Saturday, high winds were still plaguing our area. If you guessed that the entire
Northeast would experience a biting Northerly wind, then you are correct. With cloudy skies and winds coming out
of the North, do you think that the eagles might have had a real
opportunity to move much, or even at all?
The direction of the wind can play an important role in the movement of bald eagles. Soaring eagles like a tailwind.
So the least favorable wind
direction for a flight north would be form the North. Eagles like heat radiating from the surface of the earth
so as to glide like an old Wright Brothers' plane.
Sunday was a beautiful day. The sun was shining brightly, but a cold front had just moved through the area. This
shifted the winds again. Now the
winds were coming out of the Northwest. This might make for a bit easier travel Northward.
We know that a cold front moved through. This means that cold air slipped underneath the warmer air ahead of it--because
cold air is heavier than warm air. But besides the shifting wind direction, what else happened? Were the temperatures
affected? If so, how?
The temperatures dropped as a result of the cold front, and that is not favorable weather for eagles to move Northward.
Do you think the eagles moved this week in the East?