Friday, 1 May 2009

Weather in UK looking promising

The UK is "odds on for a barbecue summer", with no repeat of the washouts of the last two years, according to Met Office forecasters.

Temperatures are likely to be warmer than average across the UK, topping 30C at times. Rainfall should be "near or below average" for the three months of summer, the forecasters say. However, they warn that heavy downpours cannot be ruled out.

Chief meteorologist at the Met Office, Ewen McCallum, said a repeat of the wet summers of 2007 and 2008 is unlikely. "After two disappointingly wet summers the signs are much more promising this year," he said. "We can expect times when temperatures will be above 30C, something we hardly saw at all last year."

The prospect of a hot summer will cheer those who felt cheated at having endured the "dullest" August on record last year, which soaked up just 105.5 hours of sunshine against an average for the month of 165. It was also the fifth wettest since records began with 139.8mm (5.5in) of rain falling. It had been preceded by the UK's wettest recorded summer in 2007, when thousands of families were forced out of their homes by floods.

For us at Claines Canna this would be great, those two summers with such little light meant that we had to nurse the Cannas, and only a handful gave of their best. We normally start collecting the first seed in late July, but last year it was mid-September before we had any seed available, other than our hand crosses in one of the polytunnels.

Right now, we are starting to think about when we will plant the collection outside. Currently it is all growing away merrily in the soil in our polytunnels and will be safe from late frosts, but it is almost certain that we will get more frost, as I can't remember ever having a May without frost. Last year we did not dare to start planting out until the beginning of June, but if the current weather trends continue then we may look at starting in mid-May.

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