Hi All,

Not surprisingly the topic on all people’s minds is the torrential rainfall of the last week or so, with some people receiving over 5 inches of rainfall over the last week. Here we’ve had around 3 1/2″ in the last 5 days, which has caused flooding like I’ve never seen before. The picture on the right is the River Welland, normally a quiet stream meandering through the town but, last Wednesday it broke its banks and put 100 cars under water up to their doors. I walked past that car park on Saturday and there were cars parked in there again. By Sunday morning it was under water again!

Thankfully (maybe) our weather is on the change now, with the last of the heavy rain pushing up country today leaving showers in its wake. Still stuck in our trough pattern and, as I’ve been suggesting for awhile could happen, we’re now set to drag in very cold air from the east with winter set to really kick off this week. At present I can’t see the other side of it, so it looks like a prolonged cold spell is on the cards.

General Weather Situation

Currently the heavy rain front that has caused so many issues is heading north, with the north-east of England likely to get a clattering as it does. There is still some rain around for the south-east, east of England and the Midlands, but amounts will be alot lighter than of late. Ireland will also see a weak band of rain pushing eastwards across the country today, but again, no great shakes when it comes to amounts thankfully. Temperatures will start their gradual slide from today and by Tuesday that process is helped by a change in the wind direction from south-west / west to northerly. By mid-week I think we’ll see the start of concerted frost days (depending on cloud cover that is). For Tuesday, that rain will still be sitting in a line from the Isle of Wight to Newcastle, but all the time it’ll be dissipating. Ireland looks to have a dry day, with some sunshine would you believe and this may even make an appearance late in the afternoon down the south-west corner of the U.K. By Wednesday the wind is set northerly, the temperatures have dropped and we’re in for a dull, cold start, with the sun breaking through in the afternoon. If you stay clear, I expect frost on Wednesday night. For Thursday we have a rain front pushing into Munster and Connacht early doors and then moving eastwards through the day. As this rain reaches the west of Scotland, I expect it to turn to snow, even at low levels. It will reach the south-west of England and Wales overnight, falling as rain, into Friday morning, but again amounts will be light compared to anything we’ve had to endure of late. The rest of the country looks to stay dry, but cold and dull with hazy sunshine possible later in the day. The weekend looks a bit tricky to forecast because we have some moisture pushing down in that bitter north wind and this will turn to sleet and snow, even over low ground in England. At present its likely to affect the east side of the U.K through the early hours of Saturday morning. The rest of Saturday looks like being bright, but bitterly cold with temperatures struggling to get above freezing for most of the day and a widespread frost that night. Sunday looks similar with the winds moving round to the west, but cold, with some risk of sleet / snow showers during the day.

Weather Outlook

For next week, the outlook looks to remain cold, with a likelihood of temperatures dropping even more as colder air funnels in from the north-east and fills the trough. A low pressure system is set to sit right over the U.K and my concern here is that in the past when this has happened, it can scoop up moist air from The North Sea and this then turns to snow as it makes landfall. It’s a difficult one to call as being 10 days away, I can’t determine the amount of moisture associated with the low pressure system. Either way it’s set to be cold / very cold, with repeated night frosts and feeling generally bitter 🙁

Agronomic Notes – Hypoxia Stress Warning

The big concern for me this week, with saturated rootzones going into frost, is loss of grass cover due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen). This one is a tricky phenomenon, but basically the rootzone sits saturated, with little oxygen available to the grass plant. Indeed, this has been the case for most of the last week, so it is already running on low from this perspective. An additional stress is applied (in this case cold-temperature stress) and the plant simply checks out, yellows off and dies. We saw this over the winter of 2010 / 2011, particularly in Ireland and I’m concerned we’ll see it again this week. The stress can even be related to a product application, one which normally would cause no issue, but often if the plant is stimulated to grow by a fertiliser application, it will cause it to respire more and with oxygen levels depleted, this growth cannot be supported and the plant weakens and dies. The scenario is further compounded by high surface organic matter levels and of course rootzones which are unable to move moisture through effectively.

Poa annua var. reptans (Perennial poa) is the plant species most affected by this phenomenon and therefore my advice for this week, if you’re in the scenario of having saturated greens and bearing in mind that even reaching them with a tractor-mounted sprayer would be an achievement for most, I’d leave well alone in terms of making liquid applications. The weather will be non-conducive to uptake in a days time anyway and is set to continue that way for the immediate future, so just let them sit there and dry out before contemplating reaching for anything other than a vertidrain.

Gotta dash, all the best and wrap up well 🙂

Mark Hunt