Hi All,

For us here in The Midlands, the milder air and rain arrived as projected, but not before dumping more snow on Friday night initially. The thaw set in on Saturday proper and this was followed by rain, so a double whammy. My rain gauge measured 24mm combined snow and rain, not sure if this is accurate, but the flooding around here has to be seen to be believed..At present I believe we’re sitting on the edge of a peak and trough situation, so one week we’re going to go mild and likely wet, the next cooler / colder and dry and the weather is going to alternate between the two, rapidly. The three features of the weather this week are the strong winds, frequent rain and a milder airstream, particularly from Tuesday onwards, but there may be a drier spell on the horizon.

General Weather Situation

Monday is set to start off dry, with a frost here (not expected!) and for the most part of the day, it’ll be sunny. Over Ireland cloud cover will build from the west early doors and this heralds the arrival of rain mid-morning into the west coast of Munster / Connacht, pushing eastwards across Ireland through the day. This rain will reach the south-west / Wales and west coast of the U.K, mid-afternoon and will push eastwards through into the evening to affect all areas, weakening as it does in intensity. Tuesday is a bit of a re-run weather pattern-wise, but this time the rain is coming into the south-west of England early doors and pushing diagonally (\) into Ireland and the rest of the U.K. That rain may be potentially heavy for the south-west and Wales during the day. (not what you need I know). Winds will be strong and from the south-west / west and temperatures will be on the mild side in the south, but chillier in the wind in the north.

For Wednesday, that rain will hang on in the south of England, Wales, the north and Scotland, but it’ll be a brighter day and with mild temperatures and a strong wind, a drying one as well thankfully. For Ireland, it should be reasonably dry, with a chance of showers along the west coast, otherwise fine and dandy. They’ll be blustery showers for most areas of the U.K  through the day, but these will peter out in the afternoon. For Thursday, another rain front is into Ireland early doors and pushing eastwards into the U.K, with rain for western areas from early morning. This rain quickly pushes across the U.K through the morning to leave blustery showers behind and any further rain confined to the west coast. As we go into Friday, that rain is confined to Scotland and the north of England and will turn to wintry showers as temperatures drop away from their mid-week maximum, so feeling chillier everywhere. Ireland sees some rain in north-west Connacht and the chance of blustery showers pretty much anywhere, but it should end the day clear and bright, but noticeably cooler. For the weekend, there’s a concern over a heavy rain band that’s currently projected to just skim along the south coast of England, one to watch as this could easily move northwards and dump heavy rain in the south of England. The wind will do an about face and swing round to the east and north through the day, so feeling cold, but bright. By Sunday, a high pressure system is projected to push in and butt up against a continental low pressure system, so this will turn the winds northwards later on Sunday, though for most it should be a nice day. The presence of that low is key and it may give a risk of wintry showers along the east coast of the U.K particularly. (Depending on how much moisture is in the low)

Weather Outlook

Next week is a hard call because we have a classic – west high vs. an east low and depending on who wins, the weather will either be drier, cooler and settled after the early part of the week or it’ll stay cold, but with a risk of snow showers. My bet is that the high will win the day by mid-week, so drier, colder and settled from mid-week, next week is my call, but like I say, it’s a tricky one 🙂

 Agronomic Notes

Well I hope your turf area comes out of the snow looking healthy because I’ve already had some reports of Fusarium / Snow Mold developing under the snow and with such a quick transition from cold to mild, this looks like being quite aggressive in places. It is particularly likely to be an issue on the outer area of existing scars for reasons covered in my blog posted on the 11th January and / or on areas that went into the snow looking suspect. Spray days are going to be tricky this week because of the strong wind and frequent rain showers with maybe Friday being the best day (not ideal I know), but this depends on where you’re located, so for a more local forecast, click onto your Headland Weathercheck location. (assuming you have one set up with us, if not, get in touch)

If it follows the pattern of other snow events, the higher height of cut turf can be more affected by snow mold than the lower height of cut of turf, specifically because the turf becomes matted under the weight of the snow and a microclimate forms betwen the matted turf and the soil surface. The plus side is that these areas are often not in direct play (though tees can be an issue) so a bit of overseeding once the weather turns and they’re away again.

With the high soil moisture levels present and more rain coming in, anaerobicity and hypoxia (lack of oxygen) is a potential issue for many, so my advice would be to stay off areas as much as practically feasible till things dry out and then get some holes punched in to input oxygen.

Next week’s blog is looking a bit shakey as I’m over in San Diego doing some classes Monday and Tuesday and visiting the GIS Show, so I should be back to normal w/c 11th February. (as normal as I am that is..)

All the best.

Mark Hunt