Hi All,

A short blog this week because I have to be down south at lunchtime for a meeting so I’ve got up extra early to get this done. The main talk of today  is the low pressure system over Holland bringing a ‘months worth of rain in a day’ to some parts of the east and south-east of England.

You can see it’s orientation on this graphic from Meteoblue shown below ;

Image courtesy of Meteoblue

Currently its tracking as shown below and has already given 15-18mm by 7 a.m. this morning to some parts of East Anglia, Essex, Kent and Sussex, with the rainfall rate falling at 3-6mm per hour. It’s really slow-moving because of the trough pattern in the jet stream so that means it’ll rack up some hefty rainfall totals through the day (hence the ‘month of rain in a day’ quotation floating around the media)

Image courtesy of Netweather Extra

Another less disruptive but by no means any more welcome feature of this low pressure is the temperature. With sleet and snow forming higher up in atmosphere within this system, the rain and air temperature will be unusually cool so currently I’m sitting here at 4.5°C and I wouldn’t expect it to get much above 6°C all day. Factor in the strength of the wind and it’ll feel more like 1-2°C with the windchill. All in all not a nice day for people on the receiving end.

Image courtesy of Meteoblue

Interestingly if you flatten the world out, you can see our European trough event is one of 3 currently going on in the path of the sub-polar jet stream with the eastern seaboard of the U.S also on the receiving end and Alaska (where I’ll be shipping out to again this year for my dose of true wilderness) also getting a cold, wet start to their spring.

General Weather Situation

Now last week I was forecasting that this low temperature trough was here to stay this week but the weather gods have smiled on us (for once) and better weather is around the corner.

Owing to the time constraints I’m under today, this week’s weather will be in abridged, summary form ;

At this point I’m tempted to write “Starting off crap but getting much better by the end of the week”, oh dear, I just did 🙂

So this week we have that high rainfall event for the east and south-east of England kicking off a cold, dull and pretty windy Monday for everyone. As mentioned earlier, that low pressure is slow-moving so I don’t expect it to exit East Anglia till later tonight making it a very soggy day on the beach at Holkham I’d say, definitely not a bucket and spade jobbie. North and west of this rainfall, Monday looks dry, windy, cold and dull with better temperatures into the low double figures for Scotland, Ireland, Wales. Winds will be northerly for the south of England and north-westerly further west and north.

As that rain departs eastwards overnight, a new frontal system is into the west of Ireland in time for the morning dash in Kerry and Connacht. This rain will move slowly eastwards across Ireland on Tuesday and make landfall across the west of Scotland and north-west England on Tuesday afternoon. It’ll then move across eastwards for the rest of the day affecting Wales and The South West from early evening onwards clearing Ireland as it does so. Temperature-wise, a bit of a role reversal with England and Wales picking up low teen temperatures and Ireland and Scotland will be cooler under that rain and cloud cover at 10°C. Winds will be a welcome westerly 🙂

Wednesday sees that rain affecting most of the U.K, heavier across the southern half of the country mind. Ireland looks to have a mix of sunshine and showers, whereas Scotland starts dry and then sees rain, sleet and even snow (at elevation) move in later in the morning. By lunchtime that rain should have cleared southern England and Wales leaving showers and sunny conditions behind it. Ireland likewise, with showers still affecting western and northern areas. Similar temperatures to Tuesday, cool over Scotland, just scraping double figures, milder across the west and south, especially once that rain has moved through with low to mid-teens on the cards. Winds will vary from south to north-westerly.

Thursday looks a better day for most, certainly for England and Wales anyway. They’ll be showers from the off across the north-western coast of Scotland and these will move inland during the morning, pushing into central parts later in the afternoon. Ireland starts dry but cloud cover will thicken progressively through the morning with rain projected to arrive in Connacht during the early afternoon pushing showers across most of the country later in the day. England and Wales look to have a dry day, clouding over from the west for the 2nd half of the day but by and large nothing to complain about. With sunshine breaking through the cloud cover and a light westerly wind, temperatures will rise towards the upper teens down south, so good drying weather for you guys affected by Monday’s events. Scotland will see a wet end to the day with heavy rain for the north and west I’m afraid and cooler temperatures.

Friday sees the week finish with thicker cloud and rain for Ireland and Scotland, clearing from the south and east through the day. No such issues further south across England and Wales with another good drying day on the cards with the sun breaking through in the afternoon to give a sunny and warm end to the week, with temperatures in the mid to high teens again I reckon. Low teens for Scotland and Ireland and away from that rain it shouldn’t be too bad a day here. Winds will be light to moderate and welcome westerlies.

With this weekend being a U.K Bank Holiday I reckon things could be fine and dandy across Saturday and Sunday with high pressure building and plenty of warm sunshine and temperatures pushing up into the high teens and low twenties by Sunday. Maybe a bit of extra cloud cover on Monday with some showers for eastern areas of the U.K and maybe western areas of Ireland and Scotland but otherwise a cracking forecast to leave you with 🙂

Weather Outlook

Next week looks to continue the fine weekend with high pressure sitting across the east of the U.K. So fine and settled I think, still with the chance of showers across the south-east and south-west / west during the first part of the week but a south-easterly airstream should vector up some warm air from the continent. From mid-week, an Atlantic low pressure system will make its presence felt across Ireland and the west of the U.K with thicker cloud and showers from mid-week onwards. Just how far east that low pressure moves later on next week, time will tell, but I’d reckon on unsettled for Ireland and the west and staying largely dry with warm weather for central and eastern regions. Scotland should see some welcome warm and dry weather as well.

Agronomic Notes

Ok as explained earlier, a bit of a short blog this week so here goes…

GDD – Year to date

I know we will be doing a more in detail look at April on next Tuesday’s blog, but these stats are taken from my Netatmo weather station here in Market Harborough and offer a good view on what we’ve been through…

So you can see the fit’s and starts of growth (inclined areas of graph) through March and then the really steep during April incline representing that very warm period mid-month. As predicted a few blogs ago when I chatted about Poa annua seeding, that mid-April warm spell has taken us right up to perennial Poa annua biotype seedhead initiation territory and then the cold spell since has slammed the anchors on good and proper.

You can see the growth profile better when you look at daily growth potential for April below ;

So you can see that growth really dropped off last week with no clipping yield at all projected from daily G.P. Now all that is set to change with the improving forecast this week…

As you can see growth is picking up through the week, slowly at first but by the weekend we will be motoring a tad…

Perennial Poa annua biotype – Seedhead Flush

So if you haven’t seen the start of the seedhead flush already, you will if your total GDD is up towards the 180 mark over the Bank Holiday weekend. So the end of this week would be a great time to drop in some cultural Poa seedhead work, you know grooming, brushing, Poa busters, maybe a nick down in cutting height and a light topdressing to keep an even surface, you know that type of thing…

Amazingly we can see great consistency in terms of when we hit 180GDD, Poa annua seedhead flush initiation AND had an SSW-event. I’d say it’s pretty much set that the first week of May is as near as damn it seedhead initiation when we get a cold spring due to a SSW event. Cracking data that if I do say so myself.

Growth Flush

It also means we will see a strong initiation of growth during the 2nd half of this week and over the weekend, so outfield areas, tee banks, bunker banks and the like may benefit from a PGR application (with some iron as Poa will be more prone to discolouration if it’s heading towards seeding) to nip that flush in the bud and make sure you don’t come back after the Bank Holiday to clippings round your ankles. The growth will I think be largely welcome in pushing that last bit of recovery from winter into the dim and distant past and repairing any damage from Leatherjackets, quite an issue this last month or so in some areas.

End of week = better spraying conditions and better uptake

Looking at spray days, it’ll vary with area of course but I’d be targeting Thursday onwards because the warmer air temperature will give you much better uptake than if you apply earlier in the week. (though that’s unlikely with Wednesday’s general rain and the strength of the wind as well)

The same applies for any liquid nutrition / foliars you are thinking of applying and of course selective herbicide.

Disease Activity

No blog would be fit and able if I didn’t mention disease I’m afraid.

There’s been a lot of it about of late because of the high rainfall, high humidity and almost deadpan day and night temperatures. That lack of growth over the last 5 days (shown above) has meant that grass has been unable to grow away from a pathogen and so we have seen localised flare ups of Microdochium in particular. With warming temperatures and humidity dropping towards the end of the week I would expect the balance to tip in favour of grass growth and away from pathogen growth with respect to Microdochium nivale.

We will see more in the way of Fairy Ring activity I think, particularly Superficial with a moist rootzone and plenty of temperature but I don’t rank this as a cause for concern in terms of maintaining surfaces.

Ok short and sweet this week, but ‘tempus fugit’, the M40 and M25 beckon… (groan)

All the best..

Mark Hunt