Hi All,

Bit of an abridged version of the blog today because I’m off to Harrogate and still have some prep (read ironing) to do 🙁 It’s quite amazing how we adapt to temperature isn’t it ? 2 weeks ago I thought 5°C felt so so cold after the balmy Christmas period, now this morning I thought how mild it felt and it’s only 2.5°C. Let’s hope the grass is able to adapt as well.

We had our first white stuff this weekend, just under a couple of inches overnight on Saturday which gave a lovely crump, crump under my boots as I walked across Leicestershire yesterday.

My lovely walk was punctuated by the discovery of a Cast Sheep in a field. Now I’ve never dealt with one before or really knew what the craic was but I felt compelled to help. So I walked over, straddled the sheep and got it back on its feet. I couldn’t believe how big it was and2015_04_26_Sheep4 because it was shivering I thought it logical to try and massage some heat into it. Immediately I was met with a reaction from both ends and it shrank visibly. After 10 minutes of this, it was half the size, right as rain, though I suspect from a distance my actions may have looked a tad suspect…What made me laugh apart from the copious venting (reminded me of my brother after he’s eaten Liquorice!) was the fact that the rest of the flock, to a sheep, watched me intently all the way through. I wonder what they were thinking……

Back to the weather, the rain gauge translated the snow that fell to an actual moisture level of 4.2mm, so that’s roughly a 10:1 Snow:Rain equivalent in my books i.e 42mm of snow = 4.2mm of actual rainfall.

Ok without further ado, onto this week’s weather…..

General Weather Situation

Let me start off by saying I’ve never seen a weather forecast from Meteoblue (or anyone) else change so much, so quickly for the week ahead. One minute it was snow, then rain and mild and now it’s pretty settled thankfully for most places.

Monday looks like being a pretty settled day after we get some moisture over with that’s currently moving across South Munster / Leinster, Central Scotland, the south west of England and Wales. Through the morning this will gradually lighten and dissipate but there’s a chance of some of these wintry showers carrying on right through till dusk over Scotland, particularly at elevation. Similarly some of the moisture over Ireland may linger across South Munster into dusk. East and south of this moisture it looks to be a quiet day as high pressure holds fort (I told you these high pressures have a habit of strengthening :)) So by Monday evening we have a pretty settled, stable and important dry picture over most of the the U.K and Ireland. I say ‘most’ because there’s always some exceptions and in this case it looks like those Scottish wintry showers will slip south overnight into Northern England. In addition we’ll also see rain pushing into the south and west of Ireland overnight. Temperatures for Monday will sit in low single figures with a light wind. I’d expect a good frost, particularly if skies clear across central and southern England later in the night.

Onto Tuesday and really nice to report that aside from some light rain affecting south and west Munster and maybe a bit over North Connacht and Donegal, everywhere else looks to have a dry and settled day after a widespread ground frost. With a bit of luck you may also see the sun from time to time as well. (What more could you ask for ?) Winds will continue to be light and I’d expect similar temperatures to Monday, low to mid-single figures.

For Wednesday we see a continuation of this dry, cold, settled theme with the possible exception of some wintry showers slipping down the east coast of the U.K through the day. The risk of some wintry showers along the east coast is a consequence of an easterly wind that we will have in situ and this will effectively peg back temperatures to the low to mid-single figures. Again I expect another frost for Wednesday night.

Onto Thursday and more of the same really, that is dry, cold and settled with varying amount of sunshine through the day depending on where you are. On a hunch I think the best of the brightness will be in central and eastern regions of the U.K for Thursday because we have that high pressure slipping eastwards towards the continent. It’s doing this because an Atlantic low is heading our way. It’s presence will be announced by the changing of the wind direction from easterly to southerly and a milder feel to the 2nd half of Thursday across western regions.  For Scotland, the north of England, the south and east though it’ll be another cold night on Thursday with a widespread ground frost.

Closing out the week we have a heavy rain front courtesy of that Atlantic low pushing into Ireland early doors Friday and then moving slowly eastwards. At this stage of the week (and this may change) it looks to make landfall on the west coast of the U.K around lunchtime and then slowly move across to central areas through Friday afternoon / evening. It may be that some eastern areas don’t receive rainfall to Saturday morning, but we’ll see. Either way it’s coming. It’ll feel a good bit milder under the effect of the low pressure system with temperatures up in the high single figures across the west. It’ll also be a good bit winder on Friday as those southerly winds gather strength.

Looking at the weekend the good news is that this rain front pushes through quickly so by Saturday morning the worst will have cleared the bulk of the U.K, though it’s likely to leave behind a dull, showery day, especially over the north. There will be some sunny intervals about as well and with that southerly airflow persisting it won’t feel too bad. That south wind could well swing round to the west as this low moves through so that could push up temperatures into double figures for Sunday across Ireland and the west of the U.K. Speaking of Ireland you may be in line for some more rain pushing into West Kerry and moving up country through Sunday afternoon.

Weather Outlook

I could almost hear the collective sigh as I wrote the words, wet, mild and windy above so are we returning to a mild, wet outlook or is the 2nd half of January going to check out drier than the 1st ?

At this stage I am cautiously optimistic that next week will see a return to high pressure and this should just hold sway with enough strength to push low pressure systems up and over us. Now there is a battle on for the start of next week with a new Atlantic low off Ireland and a continental high pressure extending over the U.K. At this stage the projections are for the high pressure to win the day, but we will see. If you notice your Meteoblue changing from dry and settled next week, to mild, wet and windy, you’ll know what happened. But let’s stay positive and hope for a continuation of the dry and cold weather.

Agronomic Notes

As explained earlier I’m on a bit of a short timeline this morning so please forgive the abridged nature of this part of the blog (another collective sigh maybe?)

Early Aeration

Ok, here’s a thought for you and it’s one following my previous blogs on hollow coring in January and February if a weather slot develops. It is also one that comes with the caveat of your own particular situation in terms of ground conditions, machinery and resources. Now I think the worst of the end of the week’s rainfall will probably be over Ireland, Wales, the west and north of England / Scotland so that probably takes you guys out of the equation. (sorry)

For the south and east though it may be that Friday nights rainfall only hits single figures and that means that by next week you could be a position to get a coring / aeration slot in. It’s a big ‘IF’ I know and wholly dependent on your own situation but ‘if’ the weather plays ball, ground conditions likewise and you have the resources / machinery available, this week before the rain and next week after it, may just be a slot to take away some organic matter. Now you may already have your aeration dates in the diary and if you do that’s great, but just have a think if you’re in the situation of having some greens / areas that are higher organic matter than others. Maybe this is the opportunity to give them an additional coring ?

If not a coring, how about vertidraining or solid tining ?

Ok, it doesn’t remove organic matter, but it will facilitate gaseous exchange and that’s likely to be pretty necessary at the moment after the long, wet months of November and December. For sure there’s likely to be plenty of anaerobic rootzones as we speak and just venting them and allowing gaseous exchange (Bit like my Cast Sheep) could help to set areas on your golf course / sports pitch back to where they should be from a rootzone oxygen perspective.

I appreciate for a percentage of you this advice is impractical because of ground conditions but let us hope that we see more high pressure systems through to the end of January and February.


Traditional Aeration Slots

Just while we are on the subject of aeration I was playing around with some stats the other day (as you do) and noted that one of the issues with the traditional March, April slots is the fact that we often go cooler and drier (see above) during those months. This is particularly the case with April where we can have cool, dry conditions and consequently poor recovery from any late March / April aeration that’s been undertaken. Sod’s law as well it’s often mild in the day so people are very quick to point the finger as to why things aren’t growing (forgetting the fact that it was probably frosty at night !)

2015 Rainfall Totals

Please keep your 2015 rainfall totals coming in and we’ll look to publish our normal summary map at the end of this month.

Ok Carpe Diem and all that, must dash, the ironing board beckons….

All the best

Mark Hunt