Hi All,

I did say I’d update this week to check on the potential progress of milder weather.

As I look out of the window I can see the north-easterlies are still blowing hard and like a lot of you yesterday, we had a dusting of snow in the morning. This will be a short blog because I’m laid up with tonsillitis, so not 100% 🙁  On the subject of easterlies, young James Watson sent me this cracking picture of Hoar Frost on Dartmoor, absolutely brilliant.

So is the weather pattern still changing ?

Yep, it is changing, definitely, the jet stream is shifting up and aligning itself in a position that we’d expect for this time of year. It’s uncanny because it’s almost exactly a year to the day when it did precisely the opposite and moved from it’s normal position and dropped down into The Med. Is it changing for good ?, I don’t know and nor does anyone else IMHO.

The change should take place mid-week, next week, with the wind direction swopping to a westerly, so that means milder air, less risk of night frost and most likely rainfall as well, with Tuesday / Wednesday looking to bring some rain, though it shouldn’t be too heavy. For me, we need the rain, not because we have a soil moisture deficit, (see below) but because these winds of late have dried areas out and dessicated the grass plant, so the quickest way to reverse this is with milder rain. It’s also the quickest way to raise the soil temperature as well.

So for the weekend we have a quieter picture as we finally lose those crappy winds, so temperatures will rise a good bit and it’ll feel pleasant in the sun, especially on Saturday. Sunday looks to have more cloud cover, but again I think temperatures will be a little higher than of late in a quieter wind. Monday / Tuesday are the change days as the wind should move round to the east, then south and finally by Tuesday, the south-west. This will push some bands of rain into Ireland early doors Tuesday, as usual Kerry gets it first :(, then it’ll move diagonally (\) into the south-west of England / Wales by mid-morning and then push up country reaching most parts by evening. This first band will be reasonably light, sunshine and showers like….like April used to be 🙂 I expect temperatures by mid-week to reach double figures and with the change in wind direction, we’ll lose night frosts, so soil temperatures and growth will commence. On Wednesday we have a second band of rain moving in, this will be heavier and cover most of the country during the day, again pushed on by a strong, south-westerly wind. By the end of the week, temperatures should rise even further to mid-teens, yes that’s mid-teens, accompanied by a strong westerly wind and no doubt some showers. A key point to remember here is that with a westerly airflow, rain moves through quickly, rather than deluging and also we have more drying potential in the wind, so all in all, it should be much better for all of us.

As promised earlier, we have a 1st quarter summary of soil temperature vs. 2012, rainfall vs. E.T and degree day calculations. Thanks for the data (Sean) and Wendy for compiling it, this is her job now every quarter, so if you don’t get it, you know where to go knocking :). The info is available in pdf form for download  here ; Weathercomparison1stquarter2013

It’ll be interesting this spring seeing how everything responds, because we’re coming from so far back, with the coldest March since 1947 announced yesterday. So how will it affect disease cycles, nematode life cycles, Poa annua seeding, etc ?

For me the latter will be particularly interesting to note. Normally at this time of year, Poa annua is just about to start seeding on greens in Ireland, but it’s a good way back from that at the moment, my guess is it’ll catch up fast, but I think we’ll be 2-3 weeks behind in Ireland and maybe 10-14 days behind in the U.K, (Mid-May then), time will tell.

Ok that’s it for now, have a good weekend.

Mark Hunt