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Hi All,

After a pleasant weekend with some milder temperatures, this brief respite from winter will only last till mid-week before we get another winter snap and one that looks pretty chilly from where I’m sitting. We have a cold, low pressure heading our way and it’ll will bring a change in wind direction and the increased likelihood of snow, particularly for Scotland and the north of England, but later in the week, this could spread southwards.

So how is the week shaping up ?

Monday is looking to kick off a bit on the dull side, with a band of rain stretching from the south-west of England to The Humber. This slowly sinks south through the morning, dissipating as it does so. Another band of rain is sitting over the north west of Scotland and this behaves in a similar fashion, fizzling out through the morning. Ireland looks to have a nice, bright start to the week, with cloud cover slowly building through the day. As the rain clears, there’s a good chance of sunshine breaking through and if it does, temperatures may just hit double figures. Winds will be light to moderate and from the west / north-west.

Into Tuesday and we have another reasonable day, if a bit on the dull side, with the best chance of sunshine along the east coast of the U.K. Further north we have a light band of rain still lingering over north-west Scotland, but nothing dramatic. The same for Ireland, a dull day on the whole, with some light drizzle pushing in from the west later in the day. A little cooler than Monday with those winds still in the north-west. By dusk we have some more heavier rain into the west coast of Ireland and Scotland and this will slowly push east overnight into Wednesday.

Overnight this rain intensifies and begins to push south, so Wednesday looks like being the change day this week, especially for Scotland where the outlook is pretty wet I’m afraid. By the morning rush hour that rain is also into Ireland and pushing south down the west coast, into the north of England and Wales as well. By lunchtime the rain should have reached most of the U.K, lightening in intensity as it does so and in between the rain we may also see some sunny spells across The Midlands and further east. The big change will be the temperatures after this rain has moved through, substantially lower and accompanied by a brisk, westerly wind.  So mild initially, but cooler later for Ireland, Wales, the west and the south of England, whereas Scotland will be cool all day. That rain continues to affect Scotland and Ireland, but away from these areas, it should be a clear and cold night with the risk of ground frost.

By Thursday that rain is still around, sitting over Ireland, the south west of Scotland and the western coastline of the U.K, right down through Wales and into the south west of England. The showers will also move inland into northern England and The Midlands during the morning. Some of the moisture may fall as snow over Scotland and the higher ground of the north of England and Ireland. Further south and east, it’ll be a bright, chilly day with plenty of winter sunshine as that rain becomes isolated to the west coast of the U.K and Ireland. You’ll notice the difference in the temperatures though, low single figures with a pretty bitter windchill, so not great by any means. As those showers drift eastwards during Thursday evening there’s a good chance they’ll turn to snow, especially over higher ground.

Closing out the last week of January (yippee), we still have bands of moisture around and if anything it’ll be feeling chillier as the wind takes on a northern bent, so there’s a high risk of snow showers for Friday, tricky to say exactly where sitting here on a Monday morning, but I think Ireland, the west coast of the U.K and Wales are in the firing line, but they will push eastwards across The Midlands and southern England through Friday. Some areas may miss them altogether and here it’ll be a bright, but bitter cold day with temperatures lucky to hit 3°C maximum and with the windchill it’ll feel a lot colder than that 🙂

The weekend looks mixed with that rain, sleet and snow still affecting the western coastline of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Occasionally these will move inland to give blustery wintry showers in what now is a strong, northerly wind. That low is sitting right over the Outer Hebrides so we have an increasing chance of snowfall, some significant over Scotland in particular. Away from western coasts it’ll be a good bit sunnier, but still bitter in that northerly wind. Saturday looks a mix of sunshine for the south and east and snow showers, some heavy locally in the north and west, later moving south and inland. Sunday is the same, maybe less in the way of snow showers and these look to be confined to north and western areas on the whole. As we know rainfall and hence snowfall are moving targets so keep an eye on your Weathercheck weather portal for a more up to date forecast. Ireland at this stage looks to be similar, sunshine and the odd blustery, winter shower over the tops, more so in the north-west, Donegal, North Sligo way.

There is also a big chunk of snow that at this moment is projected to push down The North Sea and into Denmark, Scandinavia early next week and this is worth keeping an eye on forecast-wise.

Weather Outlook

The outlook for next week is remaining cold with those bitter north winds still in place for the start of the week. As we approach mid-week we have an Atlantic high slowly asserting itself, so a little milder, winds from the north-west and predominantly dry, save for a band of moisture pushing through on Tuesday p.m. (which may turn to snow as it hits cold air across the east of the U.K) Not a bad week then, frosty at night, but bright, clear days and dry on the whole. I’ll take that for the start of February.

Agronomic Notes

Rainfall Stats

Looking at what we have got so far it makes for interesting reading though I have to say we don’t have any 2014 rainfall stats from Scotland and a good few elsewhere that haven’t submitted their 2014 rainfall totals, so if anyone is still sitting on their information, please send it on to weather@headlandamenity.com

Weatherstats2014

The pdf copy is available here for downloading, this is fixed now and won’t be updated, but the interactive version will be updated and is linked to here

Above is a screenshot of how it looks and Paul has even given each location a country flag so we’re nice and politically correct 🙂 Some of the locations have the last 4 years readings so you can also see how it has changed.

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At a glance it looks like the east side of the U.K has again benefited from a drier year in comparison to the north, west and south regions. Maybe it’s no coincidence that the Romans built the Great North Road to link London and York up the east side, (A1) rather than the central or western part of England ? Ireland looks to be wetter in general 2014 vs. 2013 with the east getting much more of the rainfall.

The west and south-west in particular got clattered again courtesy of a strong westerly jet stream for the first quarter of 2014 and then continental rainfall pushing up from the Bay of Biscay over the summer. As usual the jet stream dictated our weather for the summer and in May and August we sat in a trough pattern that brought cooler temperatures and frequent rain to many. September was the opposite, a strong peak in the jet stream pushed the bulk of the rainfall up and over the U.K and Ireland, so we had our driest September ever in some locations.

You can clearly see the pattern of rainfall and the link with the strength and pattern of the jet stream in the graphic below ;

Rainfall2014summary

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Early aeration

I know I keep harping on about it and now we have a cold blast coming it may well negate your ability to do some early aeration, be it verti-draining or hollow coring, but you never know. If we do get a stable high pressure system parked over us that gives us some settled weather with low rainfall, take the opportunity to slip in some aeration, particularly if you are fighting increasing organic matter levels and struggling to get the slots in an already-crowded fixture list.

Once the cold blast has passed and that Atlantic low pressure system has moved in, next week may be such an opportunity. A number of people came to see me at Harrogate and said they’d already done a hollow coring in January and it worked great, minimal disruption and no issues with golfers as most of them are happy just to get out and play at this time of year. I reckon for guys in the south of England, January 2015 will shape up as one of the mildest January’s for a good while and if rainfall allowed them to aerate, they would have had some grass growth and recovery to boot because of the mild temperatures. I appreciate this isn’t the same for everyone, you know your facility better than I do, I’m just saying look for the window and don’t always work to the calendar.

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Changes to Headland Weathercheck forecasting modules

Weathercheck

Those of you who have their location set up on Headland Weathercheck and duly receive your own weather forecast (shown above) will notice a change from the end of this month. We are replacing the Meteogram Agro module with a new MeteoTurf module to try and provide a link between a weather forecast and turf-related parameters such as GDD, Growth Potential and Evapotranspiration (E.T).

MeteoTurf will take your 7 day weather forecast and automatically convert it into ;

Predicted Daily GDD (base temperature 6°C)

Predicted Daily Growth Potential (Optimum temperature 18°C)

Predicted Daily Evapotranspiration (E.T) with threshold levels to show predicted plant stress

Here’s a snapshot of how it will look ;

MeteoTurf

The idea is that we can start to work proactively, rather than reactively, when it comes to making turf management-related decisions. For instance if we can see a spike in the GDD / G.P for the coming week, we know that we will have good uptake conditions for a fertiliser or a fungicide application.

In the middle of the summer, if the G.P dips and we see high E.T, we can predict that the plant is likely to experience stress and manage this accordingly.

Now you can argue that it’s only a predicted scenario, but that’s what we have to work with in terms of a weather forecast in the first place and we know they’re getting better in terms of accuracy.

So from the end of January you’ll see the new feature on your Headland Weathercheck forecast, please let me know how you get on with it during the year.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thanks Karl and his team at Meteoblue for their assistance in turning this from a concept to reality in doubly quick time, cheers to Paul as well on our side.

If your location isn’t currently set up on Headland Weathercheck and you’d like to be, then drop us a line to the usual address ; weather@headlandamenity.com

All the best and wrap up well from Thursday, you’re going to need to !!!

Mark Hunt