Hi All,

Well, that’s 4 hard frosts in a row, down to -4.5°C here last night, all courtesy of a  winter high pressure system that’s brought clear days and bright sunshine and of course no rain.

Looking at the rainfall stats I’ve had in (thanks everyone), it’s not difficult to see why Rutland Water is 22ft below its normal level and Eyebrook Reservoir about 12ft. The Midlands (and South Kent) were the driest areas in the country during 2011 and the winter has so far failed to deliver significant rain. The reason is the long-term blocking event associated with the position of high pressure systems out in the Atlantic. As you can see from the graphic above it’s pushing cold and moist air down into Europe and leaving us dry. Unless this changes pretty soon, we’re going to be in a tricky situation with respect to water this year.









General Weather Situation

This week will start cold and dry with widespread frost extending into Tuesday, but by Wednesday it’s all change as a low pressure system pushes into the U.K and Ireland from the north-west. The wind will swing round to the south-west as a front of mild, wet air pushes in during Tuesday / Wednesday, with rain reaching Connacht and Scotland on Tuesday late afternoon and moving down overnight Wednesday to affect the rest of the U.K. This will set the scene from mid-week till the end of the week with successive bands of showers pushed down across Ireland and the U.K through Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, on the back of mild air, with temperatures in low double figures and no frost. As we approach the end of the week, the temperatures will begin to drop down again, as the wind changes to a more north-westerly / north direction and the risk of frost increases particularly down the eastern side of the country. Over the weekend, the winds  decrease further, temperatures drop and we’re back to a winter high, though I think this one will have more cloud associated with it.

Weather Outlook

At this stage, next week looks to be cold, dry and dull, with only a light risk of rain and this appears to hold till mid-week or possibly past mid-week, thereafter another low looks to try and shift that stubborn high out of the way and bring rain and higher winds for the end of next week.

 Agronomic Notes

Not much to report this week as we’ve been pretty frozen for the last 4-5 days and with falling soil temperatures, that ‘s growth knocked on the head for awhile. I don’t see it recovering much this week, because despite the milder air, mid-week, it won’t last long enough to move the soil temperature up significantly before it drops again at the weekend.

Later this week we’ll be posting the Google Map showing the rainfall stats for this year from those of you who submitted them, once again, thanks to everyone who contributed, I’ll make it a regular event now I think because it does highlight specific rainfall levels per region and the variability that exists in rainfall itself. For instance, there are two clubs, 25 miles apart whose rainfall is different by 200mm, 8 inches !.

Interestingly, the Irish  regulatory body (PCS) always insists that the climate in Ireland is different to the U.K from a rainfall perspective and therefore different product testing data is required. Well you’ll see from the stats, that this isn’t the case, at least not in 2011, because the East of Ireland is similar to South of England, the South-West of Ireland is similar to the South-West of England and the West of Ireland is similar to Scotland. I appreciate that alot of other parameters are different, but the distinction is made from a rainfall perspective.

All the best and I hope to catch up with some of you next week at Harrogate.

Mark Hunt