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Salamander Update - What Happened Last Night?

Trying To Predicting Salamander Migrations is Tricky Business, But Fun!

George Carlin said it best "Weather forecast for tonight: Dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning."

Salamander migrations are highly dependent on a combination of weather factors including the timing and amount of rainfall, air and ground temperature and humidity. The perfect combination to trigger a migration is rainfall before dark, temperatures at least in the mid-40's and high humidity. We try to garner information about these factors from numerous weather service outlets along with just looking out the window in what was proved yesterday as a sometimes feeble and humbling attempt at predicting nature. If only it was as simple as the wonderful quote by George Carlin. 

Yesterday was also a perfect lesson about how complex weather forecasting is. All day, all of the major weather outlets were predicting rainfall in central New Jersey by late afternoon and temperatures in the mid-40's at dark. For anyone that visited the road last night before 9, it was quite evident that the forecast did not pan out. Other than a few sprinkles, the road was dry and it was noticeably colder than predicted with temperatures hovering right around 39 or 40. It's interesting that the radar images all showed rainfall over central NJ, but it wasn't reaching the ground. There is a cool meteorological term for this phenomenon called "virga." Rainfall did begin in earnest later at night and there was a report from the road at about 9:45 of a single male crossing. So last night does not seem to have been a big migration to the vernal pools.

It does not look like the weather tonight will be appropriate either with drying occuring by mid-day and only a slim chance of a shower. We are keeping an eye on it, but suspect at this point that we will not be closing the road. There may be a better chance tomorrow if showers develop in the afternoon but even that is only a chance at this time. So keep checking in to the Patch and the Friends website for updates. It's only a matter of time...

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

MaryLynn Khatab February 27, 2013 at 04:26 PM
This is so very cool to see, thanks for sharing!

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