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  • Writer's pictureMark Hunt

January 9th, 2023

Hi All,

Well already we are heading towards the middle of January and no sign yet of a 'Beast from the East' as it is known but there could be a sign of some drier weather on the horizon offering temporary respite from the wind and rain. Yesterday I walked around Rutland Water's peninsular and the levels have come up so much since the start of the year that we are now knocking on the door of normal winter levels. Although the wet start to the year brings with it challenges, we absolutely do need this rain, especially across the middle and east of the country.

A short blog this week because I am off down to North Devon installing quite a complicated Davis system. I installed one down in Suffolk last week, one of the driest parts of England and it hasn't stopped raining there since !! :)

General Weather Situation - w/c 09-01-23

Well, it is a really simple forecast this week and if you don't want any more rain then maybe you should go and make a cup of coffee instead of reading this, because the theme of theis week is windy, wet and mild. As predicted last week we have a steady stream of Atlantic low pressure systems pushed along by an equally energetic jet stream rattling across the U.K & Ireland this week.

Monday starts with the remnants of the weekend's low pressure system trailing across the U.K & Ireland so a day of showers pushed through by a cooler north westerly wind which will keep temperatures down to their January normal of 7-8°C. This will set the scene for the next low pressure that is due to arrive overnight into Ireland accompanied by a wind change to strong south westerlies. So a gap day on Monday, for some starting cool and dry with variable cloud cover but it's just the calm before the storm.

By Tuesday morning, the next low pressure system will be across Ireland and into the south west and west of England and hence forth will make rapid progress across the U.K. The shift in wind direction to the south west will push the temperatures up to 11-12°C across Ireland, England and Wales, with Scotland sitting lower in high single figures. Tuesday's low pressure will come in two waves, so they'll be a drier interlude between them but it'll be a wet one for all areas one way or another.

By Wednesday, that low pressure has already departed off into Scandinavia but it won't be dry for long as the next one will make landfall across the west of Ireland early on Wednesday morning and that'll push across the U.K during the second half of the day. So a dry start maybe but it won't last for long. The wind will remain very strong and it'll be more westerly so a little chillier than Tuesday with 7-10°C across the U.K & Ireland.

More rain for all areas on Thursday, maybe starting dry across eastern areas before it arrives but it's coming all the same. Milder again as the wind slips round to the south west pushing temperatures into double figures for Thursday and a little less windy initially but that only lasts till the evening when the wind strength increases and another low pressure pushes in. The one closing out the week looks to be centred more across the north of Ireland and Scotland and it may bring some very heavy rain and localised flooding as the ground is already saturated. With the low pressure more northerly on Friday, this could mean it turns out to be the driest day of the week for some areas but it does look like more general rain will affect the southern half of Ireland and England later in the day. Very windy again, gale force around western coasts and a little chillier with the change back to westerly.

Saturday continues the wet and windy theme with an intense low pressure passing over the U.K & Ireland bring strong winds and heavy rain for most of the day. Some of this will last overnight into Sunday but we will then see a shift towards a more northerly wind on Sunday and this will push down showers, some of them wintry across Scotland and the north of England. So feeling a good deal chillier in that wind on Sunday, with single figure temperatures.

Weather Outlook - w/c 16-01-23

So looking ahead, what do we have in store, more mild, wet and windy or something colder ?

Well the change in wind direction at the weekend is brought about by the leading edge of a high pressure system as you can see from the animated GIF above and it is this high pressure system that will bring a north westerly aspect to the wind from the start of next week so that means cooler and a bit drier hopefully. Not straight away though as next Monday will still some rain moving across the U.K & Ireland pushing down into southern areas later in the day.

From Tuesday onwards we look to go a bit drier but with low pressure off to the north and east, this high will scoop down rain across Scotland and the east coast of the U.K through the week, so not totally dry, but drier than we have been of late. The north and west of Scotland will pick up this wetter weather and I think here we will see wintry showers through the week over elevation. So cold, with scattered showers, some of them wintry through the week and windier than you'd expect for high pressure. The reason for this is that the low pressure over the continent isn't budging so we are sat between the two and that is funnelling the winds through the middle. By the time we get to the end of next week, the wind tilts to the north and we will see more in the way of wintry showers pushed down across the U.K. Ireland will be sitting closer to the centre of the high pressure system through all of this so I think drier for you in general.

The stage is set then for either a continuation of the cooler theme or maybe we will see that cold air over the continent push in ?

Agronomic Notes

It's a granular fertiliser time of year....

Well this run of wet, windy and mild weather is pretty typical I would say for January and that's why I always like to have a granular feed on for the first part of the year. Just a 'ticker' type of product that is resistant to leaching and provides a small amount of consistent nutrient from hereon to the end of February, early March. It brings colour, growth and recovery without the requirement for a sprayer. When you look at the run of the weather we have had since the week before Christmas, there's been very few spray days when it wasn't either blowing a gale and / or raining heavily. Even if you do get a spray on, how effective is it really during these conditions ?

Wet and windy brings with it low disease pressure and OK, you may have some scars from pre-Christmas but let's face it, it is better to try and grow them out than throwing money at it pesticide-wise. With large Microdochium scars, the fungal population is so high around the edge of the scar that you won't hold this back with a modern day fungicide. Save your money, time and effort and focus on growing it out instead.

2022 Rainfall - U.K & Irish Locations

So I thought I'd take a quick look at some rainfall records from around the U.K & Ireland to get a real feel for 2022 in this short blog.

So first up here is the U.K stats from around the U.K.

For the sake of comparison, I have included a data set from 1976 which was the summer drought that 2022 was frequently compared with. You can see that there are a number of locations where we have finished up 2022 with lower annual rainfall than 1976, courtesy of a drier autumn / winter (although it might not feel like that currently :))

It is also clear that the middle of the country tends to miss the rainfall and so The Midlands extending out to East Anglia is the driest part of the U.K, with Scotland and The South West amongst the wettest. Now I 100% appreciate this is just a quick snapshot across some locations and doesn't include any locations for Wales, the east of Scotland, etc but I will add this data later in the month when mercifully I should have more time, so bear with me.

Food for thought maybe when it comes to abstraction licences, irrigation planning and the like. Thanks to everyone for sending me their data, as always, it is appreciated.

Irish Locations - 2022 rainfall stats

It isn't really a surprise to see much higher rainfall totals on the whole for Ireland compared to the U.K because most (but not all) of our rain comes via The Atlantic, so it's logical that it reaches Ireland first !

There is significant variation west to east and south to east as we have seen in previous data sets so when you compare Claremorris in the lovely Co. Mayo @ 1147.4 mm with Dublin @ 770 mm, you are looking at another 377 mm odd of rainfall, that's a cool (or very wet) 15 inches difference in old money. The same for Cork vs. Dublin, it is another 15" for the former vs. the latter. I have highlighted August rainfall totals just to remind us all that although the annual rainfall totals are high, Ireland did experience a significant drought during August, though this is probably long forgotten. We can also see that as for the U.K, eastern coastal locations are the last place that the rain reaches after it has fallen across most of Ireland and so these areas (Bray, etc) have the lowest rainfall and similar to U.K locations.

OK, that's it for me this week, I have to pack, get my kit together and head south in what will be my longest journey in an E.V (hopefully that is !)

All the best.

Mark Hunt

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