Hi All,

General Weather Situation

Well, that was April and in a sentence, it was dry and warm, with the emphasis on the dry part. Last weekends promised showers fell victim to that strengthening easterly wind, which pushed them along the South Coast, instead of allowing them to move up country, frustrating when on Thursday morning we’re in line for a projected 15mm + on Friday / Saturday and by Thursday lunchtime, it’s gone. Like I said, the weather has been pretty mixed up of late, with no definable jet stream, so it’s changing on a daily basis and that makes forecasting difficult, particularly for an amateur like me :(.

The real feature of the weather over the past week has been that super-strong easterly wind and the brightness of the sun, yesterday was the first day I actually saw a cloud for the past 4 days! I’ve attached some stats of March / April and a summary of the year so far rainfall-wise, which shows that we’re currently running at a rainfall deficit of 4 inches, in other words, 8.5 inches of rain has evaporated from the soil and the plant since January 1st, 2011 and this has been replaced with just over 4.5 inches of rainfall.(See attached technical article on E.T if you’re interested)

Alot of lakes and reservoirs need a top up if we’re to get through the summer without restrictions on water usage, one of my local reservoirs is currently 5ft lower than normal for this time of year.

Regional Specifics and Outlook

That easterly wind will slowly lessen in intensity during today and with the decreasing wind strength, temperatures will drop quickly once the sun goes down.
There’s the risk of a ground frost tomorrow from Scotland down to around the M4, but Ireland should escape this. The winds will swing round to the south from Wed / Thur and they’ll strengthen in intensity as a nearby Atlantic low begins to influence our weather. Currently this system is sitting out in the Atlantic and it’s the one I referred to last week as providing the potential for rainfall at the end of this week / weekend. It all hinges on the jet stream because if this strengthens as predicted at the weekend, it will push this low across the U.K and we’ll all receive rain, if it doesn’t, we won’t.

The cold nights of the early part of this week will gradually fade as night and day temperatures pick up from Thursday onwards and by the end of the week, first part of the weekend, we’ll be truly warm again with temperatures hitting 20°C in England and a few degrees below that in Scotland and Ireland.

Rainfall-wise, Ireland will be the first to receive rain (if everything stays on track), with a front moving into Kerry and Clare on Wednesday morning and pushing across the country during the day, showers will continue from then on, with rain moving into the South-West and Wales / North England and Scotland through Thursday p.m.
For the South-East / Midlands / East of the U.K, if we’re going to get significant rain it will be from Saturday afternoon / evening onwards and continuing through Sunday, though some thundery showers may zip across before that. Like I said, it all hinges on the jet stream pulse at the end of the week shifting that low our way, so fingers crossed.

Agronomics

Growth has slowed down on greens again with the colder nights and drying winds and as suggested last week, coverage of irrigation systems has been an issue because easterly winds have a habit of staying strong through the night and this has been the case. With the short weeks, time for hand-watering and syringing has not been available, so the wise will have cranked up their irrigation systems on greens to keep stress at bay.

Poa is seeding well, but the Poa reptans is just not growing at the moment and won’t do until the rain arrives, so let’s hope it does and we can all get back into a greens growth period. I’d expect a strong growth flush from outfield areas if we do get rain, with Monday morning being particularly notable and I’m amazed at how well they still look despite the lack of rain.

Nutrition-wise, I’d be looking at the Thursday as the ideal time to pick up colour on greens surfaces, once the night temperature pick up, though it’ll be breezy if the low pressure arrives, so tricky really from a spray window perspective.

Ok that’s it, all the best.
Mark Hunt