I hope you all managed to survive the deluge on Friday and Saturday (in some parts of the country). There were certainly some disappointed people (Angus, Lee…) out there with the accuracy of our forecasting and where and how much rain would fall. The truth is that forecasting rainfall is a dynamic process and how a rain front moves and consequently how much rain it produces changes by the hour and sometimes the minute. On Thursday night, the rainfall path was north of London up to Birmingham, but by Friday morning, (4 a.m …I don’t sleep) another front curled northwards and extended the region affected. The Beeb / Met Office predicted 40-50mm of rain, we got 26mm, any one out there get close to the Beeb’s prediction ?. The reason we got so much is of course the lack lustre jet-stream and the fact that the low pressure continually circulates over the same area, rather than moving off. (see graphic) Bear this in mind though, when and if it changes from this trough to a peak, it’ll be hot (if we’re still in the summer) and they’ll be precious little rain. I planned to fish the Trent on Saturday, but when it pushed up past 3.8 metres over normal summer level I decided to give it a miss 🙁 The only laugh of the weekend was receiving a delivery of leeches (bait for Catfish) that my neighbour took in for me when I was out, she was visibly shaking as she handed me the box 🙂
If you think this is all a bit depressing, then don’t pick up New Scientist-July 6th edition and read the feature article which effectively states that the Northern Polar Jet Stream (the one that influences our weather) is now likely to be fixed in a permanent pattern of peaks and troughs and our weather will be determined as such from henceforth, so bottom line we’re going have to adapt and get used to dealing with extremes.
If you imagine looking down from above on the North Pole, (see above) you can see the meandering path of the jet-stream (red dotted line) and that some regions of the world are sitting under a peak and getting a heatwave (USA), others are sitting under a trough and getting a wet, cooler summer. (Canada, UK). You can also see that another consequence of this pattern is that warm air extends further northwards than before and cool air extends further southwards, hence the climate of extremes that we now see emerging. Remembering also that as air heats up it can hold a lot more moisture and you can see why summer deluges are becoming more common. It made me smile to see pictures of President Putin flying over the floods in Russia and promising an enquiry, I think he knows the truth really, as do all our politicians, but as usual they’ll do nothing, because that’s what they do…
General Weather Forecast
Onto more mundane things and back to this week’s weather. If you’ve read the above, it won’t surprise you that we’re in for more of the same cool, unsettled weather for the next 7-10 days, with a slightly cooler feel to the weather than of late. Monday starts off dull, but dry, except for the north-east of England, Scotland and the Borders where it’s already raining. They’ll also be light rain over Connacht and Leinster, though more to the north of these regions. Later (mid-afternoon onwards) a band of showers is likely to affect the south of England and Midlands. Tuesday sees a band of heavier rain push down from the north-east affecting all areas of the U.K through the day and into the evening, amounts may be potentially heavy in places. Ireland looks like staying dry for pretty much all of the day after a damp start. It’ll feel cooler with the arrival of this northerly rainfall. Wednesday sees a band of heavy rain showers push into Wales first thing and move across all areas through the day. Ireland starts off dry, but then joins the wet club a little later 🙁 . This rain clears away into the night. Thursday and Friday could see more heavy rain pushing in from the west as the low continues to circulate over us. The main rain front is projected to reach the south-west on Thursday a.m and push northwards and eastwards to affect all areas of the U.K and Ireland south of Newcastle, Scotland stays dry it seems at this stage. For the weekend, it doesn’t look great with a more northerly wind direction, so cool with frequent rain.
Next week looks like starting off unsettled, but I can see some warmer air moving in from mid-week so hopefully we’ll pick up a bit of summer. It’ll still be unsettled mind, so still sunshine and showers, but at least it’ll feel warm in the former.
Not a lot of opportunity for spraying this week it seems unless you’re in Scotland and Ireland, and even then you’ll have to pick your day carefully. When I say spraying I mean pesticides, fertilisers, biostimulants, wetting agents, not just the former.
Plenty of disease around, the usual suspects of course, but I’ll add etiolated growth to that list as I saw my first lot last week, no surprise really when you think it’s normally associated with autumnal weather.
Outfield growth continues to be an issue for many, as does trying to get it cut and under control. I’m afraid the weather this week isn’t going to help on this front, though the cooler feel will slow growth to an extent. I have never, ever, seen so much grass and weed growth, quite amazing really. I was mountain biking off road the other evening and some of the nettles reached above my shoulders…ouch…
Buggies are a problem for many and keeping their damage to a minimum, when they are allowed. This one is a bit like a frost policy in terms of managing golfer’s expectations, communication is key, but even with the best policy in place, this spell of extended, wet weather is trying the patience of the best course manager / superintendent – clubhouse relationship.
Greens just seem to be ticking on as soil temperatures are decent, but a consequence of continual cutting on soft surfaces is in fact a reduced cutting height as the mower sinks into the turf surface more than usual. Rolling helps on this front, but not of course if the rootzone surface is already saturated. Trying to keep an aeration program is also very hard, I know, with many clubs reporting that they’re a long way behind with their topdressing and solid tining / verticutting plans.
So it’s heads down, get through another not great week and let’s hope that next week is at least a bit warmer, as it well seems it might be 🙂