There's a lot of talk surrounding impending cold weather, and whilst many of us are cold and snow lovers, there is also a deep concern for our energy bills.
We've been spoiled with unseasonably mild weather recently, but it looks like change is finally on the horizon. It certainly looks to be turning colder, but at least it will be drier than it has been.
High pressure is expected to begin building across Europe through this week, producing a blocking pattern to our north, which will allow cold easterly winds to set in and flow towards the UK and Ireland.
High pressure to the north and east drawing cold easterly winds to the UK and Ireland.
The high pressure is then expected to become more centred towards Greenland and Iceland by the end of this week, bringing a risk, albeit small at this stage, of more wintry conditions after.
In terms of wintriness, the end of this week currently looks to see no more than a few sleet and snow showers littering the east coast, potentially during the weekend.
However next week could see something more prominent, so keep your eyes peeled for our forecast updates, and also on the WeatherRadar.
Winter may be a quiet time for our gardens, but it is a great opportunity when it comes to forward planning and clearing space ready for the next season.
As the weather turns and you feel more inclined to stay indoors, there's no reason to neglect your outdoor space. In fact, there are certainly a few key task for your to-do list through winter.
As plants begin to wilt with the drop in temperature, take the time to tend to your borders. Cutting back perennials and levelling ground will help the local insect population, and you can spread a layer of compost or bark to protect the ground to offer the creepy-crawlies some living space.
It may be cold out there, but taking time to trim and shape perennials will help when the weather warms next year.
Safety calls for a good clean too. Clear the autumnal leaves from walkways to ensure there are no slips just before Christmas. Leaves are known for their hazardous slippery nature, not just for us, but also for trains!
When thinking about preparing the garden for winter, it’s easy to forget furniture. Keep wooden furniture under wraps and consider carrying out maintenance now to prepare them for the change in weather.
One positive of the slower period is the chance it gives us to carry out maintenance on our tools. When in full flow many gardening tools can deteriorate as they are used daily, treat them to a good scrub and clear. You can use sandpaper to remove rust and sharpen then for the new year.
28 November 2022
Acclimatising to winter
Training to withstand the cold
If you can't handle the cold temperatures that are soon to arrive with winter, you might want to try training your tolerances ahead of the season.
It may sound counterintuitive but cold helps against constant cold. If the cold receptors on the skin are exposed to low temperatures more often, the body can withstand more cold in the long run.
This threshold can be trained. One easy way to do this is to roll up your trouser legs over your ankles in the fresh air. The exposed parts of your body will help you get used to the change between cold and warm.
A relaxing cup of hot chocolate is best suited to winter weather as a warming treat and a source of hydration.
It also helps if you don't reach straight for a jumper at the first chill. Dress in as little as is comfortable to maintain your body temperature rather than adding more layers than necessary.
Other easy ways to build tolerance is to switch to cold showers, by slowly lowering the temperature daily, or to gradually reduce the thermostat at home which can also save on energy.
Not only can these measures help build your resistance to chillier temperatures but some could even have health benefits.
A cold morning shower might be a shock to the system initially, but it can help you withstand colder temperatures this coming season.
Cold showers can help strengthen the body's defences. The cold stimulus increases the number of leukocytes in the blood, which protects us from infections.
The cold water also promotes blood circulation and the release of endorphins which lifts our moods while also stabilising our circulatory system.
Meteorological winter begins this Wednesday, prepare for the day whatever the weather by checking the WeatherRadar before leaving the door!
As promised, we couldn't let these bonus images go amiss. After all, these shots will definitely brighten up your day!
Elaine High managed to capture the cold front clearing perfectly on Thursday November 24th, in the fourth image above. Cold fronts are often visible as sharp dividing lines between cloud and clear sky in their clearance.
A squall line also developed across western parts of the country as it swept through - you can read more about that here.
27 November 2022
Naturally rolled snow 'hay bales'
Nope, this image above was not a result of the farmer's hard work, but rather the wind's!
Snow rollers have been recently spotted in southern Ontario, following heavy falls of snow here where over 100cm accumulated.
These cylindrical snowballs form when freshly fallen snow is blown by strong winds down a hill. They are quite rare to spot however, given the specific set of conditions needed to form.
Recent and sufficient snow depth that is light enough to roll, but moist enough to stick together
Temperatures just a few degrees above freezing, around 3-5C so some small surface melting can allow the snow to stick
Moderate to strong winds to roll the snow, ideally with a wind speed of around 30mph
They have been known to occur in our neck of the woods before too, and as we head towards winter it's certainly something we will keep our eye out for! Have you ever seen this rare winter phenomenon?