Dec 12th

Hi All,

As we approach the Christmas week, I’m beginning to get asked how’s the weather looking for that period and the honest answer is that I’m not quite sure yet, though I have a strong suspicion that Paddy Power may take my money for my White Christmas bets this year 🙁

General Weather Situation

Last week’s forecast was reasonably accurate, except the deep low I predicted to influence our weather mid-week, this week is running about a day early. So we have a re-run of 10 days ago when a succession of cold, Arctic low pressure systems push south and as they butt up against the Atlantic high pressure system to the south-west of the U.K, they intensify in strength, particularly with respect to wind. So windy and at times very wet this week, with a bout of heavy rain late Monday / early Tuesday and again at the end of the week.

On to specifics – For Monday we have a quiet start to the week, but things are set to change through the day as cloud and wind builds from the west and rain pushes into Munster by early afternoon and quickly sweeps eastwards across Ireland and then into the west of England, Wales and Scotland by late tea time, covering all of the U.K later with a fair drop. These showers will fall as snow over higher ground in Scotland. The wind strengthens through Tuesday and like last week, although it’s from the traditionally milder westerly direction, it’ll feel pretty raw. Showers will be widely distributed first thing Tuesday, but after lunchtime they’ll be confined to the west of the U.K, Ireland and the west of Scotland. Those winds will be gale force and enough to cause structural damage unfortunately. (You’ll probably see some flying Christmas lights !). Wednesday will follow a similar pattern with strong winds, perhaps a little lighter than Tuesday, and lots of showers across Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the westerly coasts of England. Elsewhere it’ll be dry and bright, but feeling cold, with blustery showers, fewer and farther between as we go eastwards. By Thursday,  the low pressure is moving off, but a new, intensely deep low is projected to build just north of Scotland and this will push heavy rain into Munster and Leinster by the afternoon, again falling as snow on higher ground (so a dusting for the Wicklow mountains is in order :). This front of heavy rain pushes quickly into the South-West of England, Thursday p.m and across England , Wales and Scotland. It’ll fall as snow the further north it progresses, but heavy rain is on the cards further south. By Friday, it’ll feel even colder as the wind moves round to the north / north-west and that’ll really drop the temperatures for the weekend. For later on Friday and Saturday, they’ll be showers across Munster and Connacht, Scotland and the west coast of England, but it’ll be bright and raw elsewhere once the wind changes direction.

Outlook

The outlook for the weekend is largely dry, but feeling very cold with north / north-west winds. They’ll be wintry showers over Ireland, Scotland and the west coast of England, with some accumulation of snow predicted over Wales. Those strong, cold, north winds remain for Sunday, but thereafter a milder, high pressure system is predicted to push over Ireland and the west of the U.K. Winds will move round to the west and it’ll be mild as these winds originate over North Africa would you believe. My forecast reaches its limit then, but I reckon for Christmas, we’ll have westerly winds, cooler and maybe wet over the south of the U.K / Ireland, but I’d only bank on snow for Scotland over high ground at this stage because once again the Atlantic high is keeping the cold air to the north of the U.K.

Agronomic Notes

I’ve had some good feedback on soil temperatures and rainfall of late (thanks Kevan and Davey) and I’d like to get a handle across all of the U.K and Ireland how much rainfall you’ve had year to date. So if you feel up to it, please drop me an email or post to this blog (either click the bubble to the right of the title or the link at the end of the blog) with your stats and if I get time over the Christmas period, I’ll put together a schematic so we can all see the rainfall situation.

The main topic of conversation has to be preventative sprays over the Christmas period, whether they be simple hardeners / irons to present the course well  or dew control and fungicide sprays for disease suppression. At this moment I think we’ll have a good spray window next week, as in w/c 19th December, because aside from today, I reckon this week is out due to the heavy rainfall pulses and above all the strength of the wind.

Personally, I always favour picking the greens / tees up prior to Christmas because weather allowing, the period from Christmas to New Year can be busy on the golf course and it helps to compensate for the extra wear and tear that this play brings.

Although this week looks pretty bad weather-wise, it’s nothing like last year for most of us and I’ll leave you with the thought that we’re only 10 days away from the shortest day of the year. Thereafter we’re heading towards more daylight 🙂

All the best.

Mark Hunt

 

 

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