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Blog posts tagged with 'weather station'

I don't care what the weatherman says

Us Brits love the weather. We use it as a form of ritual, the acceptable small talk at dinner parties when the food is a tad unpalatable. In my opinion, this year has been an interesting one, never quite warming up before descending into the current gloom once again. As we are now fully into the late Autumn conveyor belt of storms and rain, can I be bold and offer you a small glimpse of my memories in the art of bad weather forecasting?

Once, whilst living in deepest darkest Norfolk, I returned home from planting 3,000 trees to a warm fire, a hearty meal and the television weather report. As I sat there, getting the life back into my toes (this was the days before I had bought Town and Country boot warmers), the meteorologist announced the evening would be fine and fair. As I had spent the entire day toiling in heavy rain I was somewhat surprised by the news. To be honest she looked abashed by the statement and as I lived not twenty miles from the studio I can confirm the weather was anything but fine and fair. One cannot blame the poor girl of course, she was just doing what the computer told her - you see the modern super computer cannot lie.  The moral here is I suppose, ignoring your own experience and instead relying on what others insist is true prediction, leads you on a merry farce. As a result of that one incident (I like to think my complaint was key), the BBC has created a new website, just so that we, the humble invisibles can report our own findings. So, with that in mind would you like to be part of history? You can be. Go to 'BBC Weather Watchers' - http://www.bbc.co.uk/weatherwatchers. An interactive website of some merit  it relies not only on a computer, but  on crowd-sourced information, making the weather reports that much more accurate. Wonderful. Now you and I can take photos, write reports and generally cause merry havoc at the BBC without leaving the fire-side armchair. What is more if you really want to get truly involved, then Town and Country has the ultimate collection of weather watching equipment. All you have to do is go to the products page on this very website. Click on the 'Clocks and Weather Stations' link and you can be your very own Francis Beaufort. Buy your Royal Meteorological Society Weather Watchers Logbook  from Amazon, perhaps download a radar app to your phone and hey presto, you'll really be making a huge difference to the recording of what is a national addiction. By the way, for the BBC record, it rained the next day too.

Be weather wise!
 
If we are lucky, we have warmth in the day, but the nights can still be cold. As our ancestors recognised, it is a month that can easily turn back into winter. If I look at the past few weeks, the day temps have been up in the high teens, but the nights have been down almost to zero on some occasions. If you recognise that this is quite a large margin of difference, then you will realise just how remarkable plants are. Then you have the rain, hail and frosts to contend with too.
 
All this proves that the soil is still not very warm - hence the old custom of putting your bare elbow or perhaps your bare bottom on the soil, to see if it is ready for some of the more delicate plants. Some plants like Cymbidium orchids need a few cold days to help them flower, but a frost is definitely a no-no.
 
I am quite often frustrated by the weather news on the TV or internet as it is massively generalized to cover several hundred square miles - although I must admit they have got better in recent years. Once, in the middle of the last decade, whilst living in Norfolk, the weather girl reported it was going to be a lovely dry night, yet outside my window some 20 miles from her studio, the rain was hammering down. Did I see a hint of embarrassment on the poor girls face? In those days, my obsessive temperament noted they had only got it accurate on 15 days in the entire year. Which is better than a soothsayer I suppose.
 
But of course for you at home, there are ways of telling if the air and soil is warm enough and what the weather may bring for yourself. Buy a weather station. With a glance you can tell if the air has been chilled to uncomfortable levels overnight whilst you were tucked up in bed with Gardeners World. You can also have an inkling of what the weather is threatening to do with a barometer as your guide. If you are like me and become lost in the green world, a clock will help you realise supper was 2 hrs ago and perhaps the kids need feeding at some point.
 

 

In truth the UK has a fantastic array of weather and micro-climates from the abhorrently wet, to the surprisingly dry. Do yourself and your plants a favour and get a bit scientific.