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Current long range forecast

On The Weather FrontThe "not to be taken too seriously" long range forecast issued 9th March 2017, next update May 2017.“Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it away from themselves.” JM Barrie. Last winter was very kind to us. It did not throw anything at us that we could not cope with in Lynesack and we have certainly had worse in the past. It was quite benign at times, but it was dull. We were stuck with days of cloud but now spring is here and we are making up for it with several days of bright sunshine so far. As I write it is mid March and already I have cut the grass twice this year. I am paying the price of a mild winter. An early spring warm spell has happened often in the past, only to be followed by weeks of unseasonably cold weather. April is a crucial time for farmers and growers and the onset of frost and wintry showers is more damaging to tender plants now. There are no signs of a cold spell at the moment, but even five days ahead can see lots of changes. It would certainly be pleasant if the weather continued to warm up gradually until summer and brought us bumper crops and low heating bills, but stop and remember – this is Lynesack. Our weather moves into spring and summer in stuttering stages. Some years we move two steps forward and three back within a fortnight. It is all to do with our jetstream. If it moves south of us we are in to cold polar air and if it is to our north we have milder tropical air. That is reasonably straightforward, but when the jetstream waves across us we have a mixture of both. That is when the forecast becomes a challenge. The reducing amount and influence of arctic sea ice on our climate in Lynesack is moving forecasting into new ground. The jetstream is influenced by the difference in temperatures of the two air masses to our north and south. The northern one is becoming milder, because of global warming being concentrated at the North Pole, and this should weaken the jet. When this happens it becomes less active as do the Atlantic storms, rather like during the past winter. However, in a few years’ time we could well be back into colder weather as the earth adjusts. Weather forecasting is not an exact science and there are far too many variables for current technology to handle.We certainly cannot continue with such pleasant conditions for much longer unless our weather is beginning to change out of all recognition. I expect the cold and frost to return in April and early May with some wintry showers as winds veer to northerly. Growth will then suddenly shoot up in mid May as warmer conditions move in from the south west. We are due a settled summer and these often follow mild winters, so fingers crossed. The jet needs to move north for that to happen and the high pressure system across the Azores can then push up towards south-west England and bring us a gentle, warm westerly drift, but remember – “Don’t take thy vest off ‘til May.”Now the not so scientific approach for our coming spring:- “If it thunders on All-Fools Day it brings good crops of corn and hay”.“When the cuckoo comes to the bare thorn, sell your cow and buy your corn;But when she comes to the full bit, sell your corn and buy your sheep” (i.e. A late spring is bad for cattle, an early spring is bad for corn)“You may sheer your sheep when the elder blossoms peep”“When March is like an April, April will be like a March”“A cold April the barn will fill” (cold Aprils generally seem a good sign in folk lore)“When kites and buzzards fly high, expect fine weather”"A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay" "Expect the weather to be fair when crows fly in a pair""When ladybirds swarm, the day will be warm" "When pigs carry sticks the clouds will play tricks, when they lie in the mud there's no fear of a flood"If you don't like Lynesack weather, just wait a minute.My usual ode to the weatherman:- "And in the dying embers these are my main regrets, when I'm right no one remembers, when I'm wrong no one forgets."Keep up to date with my website and the Teesdale Mercury Enjoy our weather – it’s never dull and behind the clouds the sun is shining. Ken Cook, (follow the links for real-time goodies)

COPLEY CLIMATOLOGICAL STATION altitude 253metres(830feet) Met. Office manned observing site.