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Hi All,

Firstly, a belated Happy New Year to you all as we tentatively take a soggy step into 2014!
Before I start on this year’s weather, I thought we could have a quick look back at 2013 courtesy of a graph and some images…

2013yeargdd

The GDD data for 2013 picks out the growth conditions perfectly with a flat start to the year, in essence the grass plant grew better in January than it did in February or March. The winter was long and hard, but in reality it didn’t start until mid-January (be warned).

Spring2013

It wasn’t until mid-April that the weather changed for the better, curiously enough in exactly the same week it changed for the worse in 2012! By July we were flying and enjoyed a heady 3 weeks of hot, dry weather, with Ireland hitting record temperatures.

Summer2013

We had rain in August, kept the good temperature and rolled on into September still ticking along nicely. October was exceptionally mild, with nearly the same growth conditions as September, but with a lot more rain at the end of the month. (Although the rainfall figures from The Oxfordshire represent one of the driest records for 2013). The temperatures dropped off a cliff in early November as we went into a sustained period of dry, cold conditions. This finished in early December as we picked up milder, westerly winds, but unfortunately these whistled over some intensely deep lows, so the year finished off very windy and very wet for some.

End2013

What an interesting year, but mercifully a better one for most of us after the hard start, though I know a lot of courses were closed over Christmas (and remain so), particularly in Surrey and Kent, which got clattered.

So it’s best foot forward into the new year and let’s see what it has in store for early January ?

General Weather Situation

An unsettled week on the cards, with frequent rain, but slowly turning cooler as we move through the week.

As you can see from the image right, we have a deep depression sitting out in the Atlantic and that’s set to whistle in some very windy and wet weather today, particularly for ScJan6th14otland and the North-West of England. Elsewhere it’ll be a drier start to the day, but you’ll never be far away from rain, with blustery showers pushing across Ireland and into the west and south of England early on in the morning. After lunch these should clear most of Ireland, except the east coast, but rain showers will still affect the south-west / south coast of England, Wales and the west coast of the U.K, with Scotland getting rain and strong winds to boot. Temperatures will be mild, low double figures for many and the wind from the south-west (where else?)

For Tuesday, that rain continues to affect the afore-mentioned areas, but those showers will push inland in the morning to affect many central areas and The Midlands, before clearing later. Ireland will be mainly affected on the west coast with the heavier rain over Connacht and Donegal. It’ll still be windy, from the south-west and staying mild.

For Wednesday, we have a very heavy band of rain that is threatening the south coast of the U.K, during the early hours in a line east of the Isle of Wight. Elsewhere, rain will continue to affect the west coast of Ireland and Scotland in the morning. Aside from that, it’ll be dry, a little cooler, and still breezy, though the south-west winds will be decreasing in intensity. During the afternoon, another band of heavy rain looks set to push into the south-west of England, moving up to affect the Midlands and east of England later in the afternoon.

Overnight into Thursday, that rain clears England, to leave a dry, nippy start to Thursday as we begin to lose those milder temperatures. A drier day for most on Thursday, but there will be some rain affecting the north-west of England during the morning and this will push down into the north Midlands later on in the day.

As we go into Friday, a new band of rain reaches western Ireland early in the morning and pushes west across Ireland into Scotland falling as wintry showers over higher ground. By the afternoon it’s into Wales and the north-west of England and there it’s projected to stay until well into the night. Elsewhere dry and cool, with temperatures in the mid-high, single figures and the wind remaining from the south-west.

The weekend is looking unsettled at this stage, with a frosty start to Saturday for many and the potential for some wintry showers over the Peak District during the morning. There’s also the risk of a narrow band of rain affecting a line stretching from the south-west of England to the Humber Estuary. Later in the day this rain may move north into South Wales and eastwards, fizzling out as it does so. Elsewhere it’ll be dry and a good deal brighter than of late to boot.  As we move into Sunday, there’s more rain on the way, pushing into the west of Ireland and the U.K and heading eastwards. At this stage the worst affected looks to be Wales and the middle of the U.K. but that may well change.

Weather Outlook

Some of you have been remarking about the intense snow storms that are currently affecting the north-east of America and their propensity to come over here at some point. Is this likely ?

If you look at the two schematics below you can see on the left, the deep polar low that’s affecting the U.S, well it doesn’t actually move much from this position over the next 10 days or so. In fact it dissipates and then re-forms, so I’d be predicting more record snowfall forecasts for the eastern seaboard of the United States during January, but it isn’t coming here any time soon, though we will see colder weather in January (so stop fretting Chris).

Winterstorms0114

Most of you may be pleased to learn that I think we’ll go drier and colder next week, though winds and wintry showers will still affect the North and Scotland, very much a North/South divide is on the cards I think. A weak high pressure is due to form over the south of the U.K. and that’ll bring some drier, cooler conditions into play from mid-week, next week onwards, so most of us should have a chance to dry out 🙂 Interestingly last year we didn’t start getting cold weather until the middle of January, so maybe we’re going that way again?

Agronomic Notes

The ever-efficient Wendy has been hard at work compiling those GDD days for December to finish off the year and they make interesting reading. As usual they’re downloadable here ;

GDDmonthlycomparisonandcumulativeJantoDec2010to2013image

What we can see from the top graph that December finished off mild for the third year in succession with positive growth-degree-days right through the month (see below for a monthly readout) The year finished off with a total growth potential higher than 2012, despite the very slow start we had and this was due to the warm summer and late autumn, in particular.

As the graph shows below, we’ve had some growth on outfield turf through December, particularly on the run up to Christmas and at the end of the month. I’ve seen this on courses around here, with Ryegrass in particular perking up on tees, aprons and fairway areas.

dEC2013gdd

Poa is looking a bit yellow and out of sorts at the moment, typical for the winter and particularly due to the high levels of rainfall we’ve experienced in some areas, which is leading to hypoxia (lack of oxygen) on greens, manifesting itself as yellowing of the older leaf.

Rainfall – Let’s have those stats please

It’s that time of year again and we’ve already started receiving total rainfall stats for 2013, the first ones came in on New Year’s Day! (Cheers Matt, Graeme). The south of the U.K. really received a clattering in terms of rainfall at the end of December, beginning of January and that’s really pushed up the yearly totals for Surrey and Kent in particular, compared to the Midlands and the East of the country.

So far my wettest area is Cornwall (1136mm) and the driest Lincolnshire (518mm). If you could either email to weather@headlandamenity.com or simply reply to this blog with the total tagged on, that would be great. We aim to have a finished version for display at Harrogate, so if it’s possible to send them over in the next week or so, that would be great. Thanks in anticipation.

All the best,

Mark Hunt