Hi All,

Last week’s blog predicted a cool, wet and windy forecast for this week and for sure that’s how it looks as I survey the week ahead. That said, it was definitely a case of west / east temperature divide this morning, as I had 2.5°C at Brum airport and landing in Dublin it was 14°C !  Keeping my wildlife theme for the start of my blog….we all get unwanted visitors in the garden, you know, next door neighbours cat, squirrels on your fat balls (ahem), pigeons and the like, but my mate capped it all with the photo he took this morning from his back window….I should add he lives in Breckenridge, Colorado, USA…like they say, “Everything’s bigger in the States”…

Hoots Mon, there’s a Moose loose about this hoose……


So low pressure is the order of the day and quite an active weather system for sure, with initially strong, mild, south-westerly winds pushing heavy rain fronts across the U.K and Ireland. A pretty wet week all in all, but for next week, it’ll be quieter, but cooler / colder, with the switch to a more easterly wind flow and a taste of winter….so let’s put some detail in the weather.

General Weather Situation

Seeing out Monday, we have some heavy showers pushed along on a blustery, mild, south-westerly wind and if anything these showers will coalesce into a more concentrated rain front as we head into Tuesday with rain reaching south-west Munster and the south-west of England early doors and then pushing north-eastwards across Ireland and the U.K. For the bulk of Tuesday that rain will be concentrated in a diagonal line drawn from Dorset to The Wash, with the heaviest rain in the west and north of the country.

After the flooding of today for some parts of Scotland, I’m afraid there’s more on the way Tuesday afternoon. Ireland will have heavy rain early doors Tuesday and then after this front has passed through, the remaining showers will mainly be confined to the west and north. This rain will slowly push eastwards during the day, so the east and south-east may stay dry till later on Tuesday evening, but then the rain will sit over this part of the country till the morning rush hour. For Wednesday, we’ll see more rain showers pushing across Ireland, but the U.K should have a drier day on the whole, though the wind will still be strong and tending to the south more as the week goes on. Early doors Thursday, a new rain front pushes in to Ireland and this could well bring heavy rain across the country during the morning. As this rain pushes east, it moves into Scotland for the morning rush hour and then slowly to the west coast of the U.K early afternoon, During the early evening / early morning period, the rain pushes east, so another dousing is on the cards I’m afraid for the start of Friday. During the morning rush hour, this rain will clear eastwards to leave showers, but there’s a chance that another swirl of this front may track along the south coast through the afternoon / evening. The winds will remain strong, blustery and from the south-west.

Saturday sees that rain remaining stubbornly sitting over the south-east, Midlands and The Wash through the morning, but Ireland could be dry for most of the day. Sunday could be the driest day for most areas, but don’t count your blessings too quickly, because that low pressure system is stuck at the bottom of the trough and so it pauses, gathers strength and resumes it’s path back across Ireland and the U.K for the start of next week 🙁

 Weather Outlook

For the start of next week, we look to continue with unsettled conditions, with the low pressure slowly sinking southwards across the U.K. As my Dad taught me “Back to the wind, low on the left”, that’ll mean the wind direction will change as it does so, firstly to south and then to the east, dragging cooler / cold air in by Tuesday, next week. They’ll also be moisture in that air, so along with a drop in temperatures and an increasing risk of night frosts, we may also see the advent of some wintry showers, especially along the east coast of the U.K. By mid-week, the wind will be turning to a north-easterly direction and if anything it’ll feel colder as the wind drops and frosts become very likely. So for the end of next week it looks cold and dry with a high certainty of frosts, but a lot depends upon cloud cover.

Agronomic Notes

A bit ‘same old, same old’ this week really, as we have a mild spell and plenty of moisture, so that means an increase in disease pressure and precious little opportunity to do anything about it because of the amount of rain and the strength of the wind.

The rain that’s already fallen has pushed the soil temperature up 5°C in the space of 12 hours, from 6°C this morning (after a particularly hard frost on Sunday morning) to over 11°C as I type this (late Monday) and that’ll be the driver for a growth flush this week before things calm down again at / after the weekend. The negative side of this is obviously extra growth when cutting / maintenance is difficult, the plus side is some recovery from thin areas / early disease scarring.

Last week, I did a talk as part of a BIGGA Regional Seminar, held at Thorpeness, Suffolk and chatting to the course manager, Ian Willett, I think I’m right in saying their rainfall total was up to 675mm year-to-date and approximately 5″ (125mm) up on prior year. It sure is going to be interesting to get all the yearly totals in early January and put them on Google Maps, like last year.

Part of my talk focused on my pet subject of the meandering jet stream and the increased likelihood on this phenomenon producing weather extremes, depending on whether we end up sitting under a warm peak (like last autumn through to April 2012) or a cool trough, as we have been since April 15th this year to date (28 weeks and counting). Looking back we’ve already had a winter trough (Dec 2010 – Feb 2011), a winter peak (Sept 2011 – April 2012) and a summer trough (April 2012 – Nov 2012), but one pattern we haven’t had yet is a summer peak.

For me it’s only a matter of time before weather patterns conspire to bring this pattern of summer weather one year and because of the jet stream, if it does, we’re likely to have week after week of 30°C +, with temperatures hitting higher than that for south-east England. This will be akin to living in the transition zone in The States and Poa for one is going to struggle if this does occur. It’s a slightly chilling fact that our planet is warming at twice the rate predicted by ‘climate experts’ less than 5 years ago and so these extremes will be the norm. Weather and weather extremes will it seems present the biggest challenge to our industry and many others going forward.

I mentioned this publication last week, but there’s a great article in the current USGA Green Section Record , by Patrick Goss on ‘Easing the pain of Core Aeration, it’s obviously geared up around the U.S industry, but has some useful tips nonetheless, if you’re want to go to the pdf file, click here

Time for kip…

Mark Hunt