All Eyes on Irma: Who's Keeping Tabs

What you need to know to stay in the know
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2017 10:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – Expect Hurricane Irma to dominate the news cycle over the next few days—meaning it may be difficult to sort through the deluge to find the specific, accurate info you need. The New York Times notes that the proliferation of news, especially on social media, can offer "misleading ... individual data points." Instead, it advises, combine these resources for the most well-rounded storm watch:

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  • The National Hurricane Center offers full advisories every six hours and shows the storm's projected center of circulation and the accompanying "cone of uncertainty."
  • While the paper warns about putting too much stock in any one weather forecast model, it says the most trustworthy one tends to be the model from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. "Spaghetti plots," which compile various forecast tracks, can also be helpful.
  • Science geeks will be most intrigued by reconnaissance data culled from Hurricane Hunter aircraft, which hurl instrument packets called dropsondes directly into and around the storm's swirl.
  • Satellite imagery is also a "pretty safe way" to keep tabs on Irma: either the "visible" kind (what one can see with the naked eye from space) or the "infrared" variety, which gauges the temperature of the cloud tops.
Check out the Times for more suggestions, including some informative blogs by popular meteorologists. (Read more Hurricane Irma stories.)

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