Hi All,

As we rapidly bear down on Christmas, the key topic in question is obviously weather-related, will it be a white one and most importantly for our industry I guess, will it be a playable one, as many clubs have busy Christmas and New Year calendars, both on and off the course. In truth, I’m about 5-7 days away from being able to give a definitive answer on that one.

Got a call on Friday (thanks Ray) asking me about the “Beast from the East”, that the popular papers say is on the way to us, sadly I’m only capable of reading Motorcycle News and New Scientist on a weekly basis, so missed that one, but I’ll do my best to enlighten you. Suffice to say, I can’t see any weather from the east being a problem, from the north and west maybe though 🙁

General Weather Situation

Before I start I have to say that the weather at the end of the week is going to be extremely difficult to call, some models say mild with rain, some say cold with snow, so keep your eyes on your Weathercheck information, updated daily.

For Monday, we have a quiet start to the week, and unfortunately a ground frost for many, as temperatures dipped last night as skies cleared. I’m hoping this will rapidly thaw, but of course, it depends upon the severity at your location. This may be aided by a general increase in cloud cover in the morning. (I can see it building already here) Winds will be moderate to light and from the north / north-west. No rain or snow is showing on the forecast module for Monday. Skies are set to clear through the afternoon evening for Monday and this may give a light / hard frost depending on wether that cloud reforms again overnight into Tuesday. Again Tuesday looks to be a pleasant, cold day, with bright intervals and dry for many. A rain front from the west is due to reach Kerry and Connacht in the evening on Tuesday and this will slowly push eastwards across Ireland overnight, so a wet start and indeed a wet day for most of Ireland on Wednesday. And here the uncertainty begins, because it’s as that rain moves eastwards into the west coast of England, Wales and Scotland later on Wednesday, that it meets the cold air overland and this gives a risk of sleet / snow for many areas on Thursday. For the rest of the U.K, Wednesday looks set to stay dry, if a little dull, as cloud cover begins to build and the wind swings round to the south-west. Overnight into Thursday, that rain band pushes eastwards into Scotland, the North of England, Wales and the south-west, but its main emphasis is on the former two areas and that’s where the main risk of snow is on Thursday. The Midlands and south-east / south should miss the brunt of this. Thursday evening sees more rain, potentially heavy at that, push into Kerry and the south-west of England / Wales, thereafter moving north and east into Scotland and the rest of the U.K for Friday. This is where the models start to disagree, one says this moisture will arrive as rain on milder, south-westerlies, the other that it will arrive as sleet/ potentially snow as it hits a colder air mass on Friday. This is key really because it sets the tone for Christmas week, if that mild air pushes in, we’re likely to have a cool, wet week, if the cold air wins the day, it’ll be colder with frost and perhaps some snow. On balance, I’m going to go with milder, wetter air scenario for the end of the week, but of course I’ll keep you posted if anything changes. Through Friday we’ll have rain, potentially heavy in areas and later in the afternoon, that rain clears away to leave a showery, milder picture going into Saturday. Winds will be strong and from the south-west / west. The low pressure that pushed in milder and wetter weather for the end of the week is set to dominate the weekend, so a mild, wet, windy weekend is on the cards at present.

 Weather Outlook

At this stage and taking on board everything I’ve said about uncertainty :), I think the start of next week will be unsettled, with some showers around and definitely a little cooler in outlook, with an increasing risk of overnight frost again and those winds, though lighter than the weekend, will assume an easterly / north-easterly perspective.  For mid-week, next week, we’ll be delicately poised between cold and mild weather fronts, with cold air holding the fort. Odds on for a White Christmas ?, on balance I think Paddy Power will have my money for the 2nd year in a row :(, so no…..

 Agronomic Notes

A short one here because there’s not been much to see of late…A little Fusarium still doing the rounds after quite an aggressive spell in mid-November (last mild weather) and also I saw on Friday, some Yellow Tuft, on a wet area of a green. This shows as small, raised yellow shoots / leaves, in 10p / 1 Euro (aren’t I so balanced 🙂 size spots, typically forming on wetter areas of greens, and is caused by the Water Mold – Downy Mildew fungus, Sclerophthora macrospora.  I’m sure Kate will put me right on that if the classification has changed :). It’s not easy to control, doesn’t tend to take grass cover, but looks a tad unsightly, a bit like Etiolated Growth in that respect and actually the raised growth / tuft habit is purportedly due to a similar mechanism, i.e release of growth-stimulating hormones from the causal organism. As areas dry out, so the activity declines, so no great shakes.

Spray windows as intimated in my mini-update on Friday are very limited at present, you’ll either be waiting for frost to thaw or later in the week, the advent of wind and most likely rain, some of it heavy, will also make life tricky. Over in the west, you may be slightly better off, as that’s where the milder air is supposed to originate from, but of course at this time of year, mild = windy and wet as well. The start of next week may potentially work, but it depends how cold we’re going and how wet we were for the weekend.

All the best.

Mark Hunt