January 23rd

Hi All,

Apologies to all who did not receive notification yesterday (Monday 23rd) about this post due to some minor technical issues with our new mail server. These have been corrected now so we shouldn’t have this problem again 🙂 Anyway, on with the blog…

Typing this from my hotel room at Harrogate prior to the educational conference tomorrow and the show, Tue, Wed, Thur. As I normally do, I was reading through last week’s blog to see how accurate the forecast was and for sure I was a long way off at the weekend with the strength of the wind.  I was out mountain biking on Saturday and boy was it hard work cycling against it, I was in the granny gears  a lot of the time 🙂 On the plus side, isn’t it noticeable how the evenings are beginning to draw out already?

Thanks to Paul in I.T. for collating the data and putting it together and all of you who submitted data to our first rainfall survey, you’ll find the interactive version here and a download-able version here (You’ll need Adobe Reader to view the downloadable version, follow this link if you haven’t already got it).

General Weather Situation

Well those high winds have come about as a consequence of a low pressure system sliding diagonally down the side of our resident high out to the west of us over the Atlantic. I looked back at some weather charts last week and we’ve had the same basic weather pattern now for close on 4 months. That is to say an Atlantic high sitting just off the west coast of Ireland and stubbornly holding off incoming low pressure systems. A consequence of this is that our wind direction has been westerly / north-westerly nearly all the time with only a few days of south-easterly and no easterlies at all to speak of. (no bad thing there)

Onto this week; the weather is going to continue the unsettled, mild and windy theme as another low pressure system pushes down and brings rain and strong north-westerly / westerly winds through till the end of the week, when it looks like the high will re-assert itself and we’ll lose the wind, but also the temperature, with overnight frosts again putting in an appearance for the weekend. Temperatures will be double figures Tuesday and Wednesday, but as that low pushes through, colder air will follow behind, so I expect Thursday and Friday will be increasingly cooler. The main rain events for the week begin with blustery showers, wintry over higher ground in the north, for Monday with rain pushing into Munster during the morning and heading south-east across Ireland into Wales and the South-West of England, but amounts should be light. Over Scotland I expect those showers to fall as snow. Tuesday looks like being a wet day for most areas, with rain pushing into Ireland overnight Monday and onto the whole of the U.K, reaching The Midlands by morning rush hour and persisting through most of the day. More rain is forecast for Wednesday, initially over Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the West of England, but again it’ll push inland during the day. Thursday look similar,but with lighter amounts of rain and the colder temperatures, that rain will turn to sleet and snow in Scotland and the north of England. I expect it to fell pretty raw in the wind as it begins to move round to the north-west for Friday. At this stage Friday looks drier, but with the drop in temperatures and ground frost more likely, any moisture that is about may fall as snow in the west and North Wales in particular.

Outlook

I expect the wind to drop by the weekend, but it’ll feel cold with a high likelihood of frost for both days. The week commencing the 30th January looks like starting off with high pressure in charge, so dry on the whole with an increasingly colder feel to things as that high pressure brings cold air off the continent on an easterly wind. It’s often said that the first two weeks of February are the coldest weeks of the year and certainly it’ll be interesting to see if that’s the case in 2012.

Agronomic Notes

Golf courses are on the whole looking in good order for mid-January IMHO with a little bit of new growth on outfield areas since we came out of those frosts last week. I was at a local course of Friday and greens in the shade were still frozen 2″ down, even though it was raining and the air temperature was 9°C. So although we haven’t had many frosts, those of last week / weekend were pretty penetrating! Disease activity appears low with a small amount of Fusarium about, but no horror stories and I think we’re set fair going into February, the last month of winter 🙂

Of course the mild weather, has brought rain to a lot of areas and that means quite a bit of Bibionid activity, with lots of pecking from Corvids (Crow family) noticeable. The concern for me remains the lack of appreciable rainfall for us here in The Midlands and thoughts will soon turn to how supplies are placed for the coming Spring / Summer. Remember last year, we actually had negative E.T. as early as February, that is to say more moisture was evaporating from the ground than was received from rainfall, difficult to believe I know.

Moss has kicked off big time since Christmas with a lot of new moss growth noticeable on outfield areas, kicked into life by the mild temperatures and wet weather. It’ll soon be time for a high iron treatment for these areas and in my view, the earlier the better as long as the moss has wetted up properly. I’d suggest starting from as early as mid-February if conditions allow you to get out and about on the course and apply.

All the best..

Mark Hunt

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