Friday, 19 September 2008

Two weeks to go

Another prediction for you – it will be mostly dry on Shetland this October. How do I know that? Easy – I’ve just spent a ridiculous amount of money on a new coat!

As usual at this time of year most birders get obsessed with the weather. I have a whole Firefox folder full of bookmarked weather sites, and I know that I will look at every one of them several times a day from now until I walk out of the front door to leave in two weeks’ time. A couple of sites do a 14 day forecast, and predictably they totally disagree at the moment as to what it’s going to be doing over the next two weeks. Netweather.tv is showing it being almost constantly between north-east and south-east; Metcheck, on the other hand, reckons it will be mostly westerly or southerly, then going northerly at the beginning of October and westerly again by the 3rd!

I don’t know why they bother doing the 14 day forecast to be honest – it is completely impossible to predict the weather that far ahead. For instance, for the 3rd of October, Metcheck is currently saying it will be 18mph westerly on Shetland, whilst netweather says 5mph easterly. I know which one I’d rather believe...

5 comments:

Mark said...

That's it then I'm going with the net weather forecast. Time to pack extra underpants for that Sibe Accentor moment.

Andy Mackay said...

I'm taking nothing but underpants. And my new coat of course, just in case it does rain after all.

Andy Mackay said...

I'm afraid I've come to the conclusion that netweather is probably the least reliable forecast. At the moment (12.20 on Saturday 20th) according to them it should be 9mph easterly on Shetland. Metcheck says 22mph southerly, and the BBC 29mph SSW.

Dave Wheeler's Northern Isles Weather Forecast (http://www.northisles-weather.co.uk/) has live links from his monitoring equipment on Fair Isle, where it is currently 20mph southerly, which makes Metcheck almost spot-on, and netweather way out. If they can't even tell what it's doing now, it doesn't really inspire much confidence in their forecasting ability!

Unfortunately Dave Wheeler's forecast for the next ten days is not great - mostly between south and west till the end of the month... though at least that means all the rare birds won't have already turned up by the time we get there!

John Hague said...

It also may well bring in some birds from North America unless they too arrive on nice south-easterlies?

Andy Mackay said...

Waders and ducks perhaps, but I wouldn't bet on any Nearctic landbirds - they're extremely rare in Shetland in the autumn! I've seen lots of 'promising looking lows' in previous years that have produced absolutely nothing, and only ever seen one Yank passerine on Shetland - the White-throated Sparrow at Voe in 1996.