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A Winter's Tale

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  1. 3 hours ago, Jo Farrow said:

    Last week we created chart 1, now a week later chart 2 shows the 3 broken records. The UK started February with an overnight min of -15.4c  at Braemar. What a month! 

    I wonder if this is the first month to have a high of over 20C and a minimum below -15C. Also Scotland had a record high minimum of nearly 14C - a range of almost 30C in terms of minimum temperatures!

  2. I can't say I'm expecting a lot from this week. Tomorrow looks similar to last week which brought an inch of snow. Most of the snow showers will be tracking to the south of the central belt so anything more than an inch would be surprise. The frontal snowfall for later in the week has corrected south (as is often the case in south set-ups) though I suspect some south eastern parts of Scotland could see some snow. It seems some places south of the border could be in for an interesting week with at least two oppurtunities for snow. Up here it's a fairly normal cold snap but it's still nice to have some winter weather to talk about after an abysmal first half of the winter. The second half of the winter is already an improvement with a couple of snowfalls though we're yet to see anything spectacular (hopefully tomorrow will exceed expectations and deliver something more exciting). As has been the case since 2013 mid-January onwards tends to see a marked improvement in snow - in the past Christmas would see a change in favour of wintry weather - though paradoxically most of the notable events in the last 10 years have occurred in the first half of the winter. This winter has been the opposite of last year with a frustratingly stagnant set-up. It hasn't been particulary mild and we haven't seen much wind and rain but the first half of the winter only saw one snowfall - even a mild, zonal winter like 13/14 would have seen more wintry interludes - and it was pretty dull overall with little sunshine - a couple of cold days including an ice day on Christmas Eve enough were the only occasions with a seasonal look and feel.

    The SSW so far has been a disappointment and is a reminder of how we shouldn't put all our eggs in that basket. Last year's beast from the east was the most successful cold spell resulting from a SSW in my experience but we'd already enjoyed plenty of snow from a westerly source earlier in the winter. 2013 was the last time we had prolonged periods of cold weather but both spells in January and March were frustrating in terms of snow (in particular the former) with more snow falling in February. The year before that saw most of the cold in Europe with parts of England on the edge whilst Scotland missed out. The snow of the last week and hopefully this week is probably as a result of the SSW but we had plenty of these set-ups last year without a SSW. It doesn't appear any prolonged spell of cold or snow as a result of blocking is on the cards for the next few weeks - perhaps late February and March will be different. I was hoping for an equivalent of the notable prolonged cold spells and Greenland blocking of 2010 during the second half of winter with a January or February reminiscent of the 1980s or 1950s with a chance of the first sub 1C month, coldest second half of the winter and first -15C minimum in Scotland since 2010. Alas this year is a reminder of the pitfalls of getting blocking established and how special 2010 was for cold and snow in modern times. If we end up with 10cm or week of snow cover then I would take that over 2 weeks of wet snow or little snow.



  3. Yesterday turned out as expected in my opinion. When The met office started to mention freezing rain then any accumulated snow would be a bonus. It snowed quite heavily early in the morning leaving a covering on most surfaces. I wasn't able to measure until late last night with up to a cm of frozen slush. Nothing spectacular but at least it's a start. With frontal snowfalls you can be sure of how much snow you'll get - if any at all as there've been a number of occasions when a promising forecast delivers nothing. When you end up on the right side in a marginal set-up then it can be snow galore though frustratingly often the snow disappears as wifely as it arrives - it'd be nice to have a few days of crisp winter sunshine following the snow instead of the mist and murk of the thaw. 

    I'm not sure how much freezing rain fell yesterday - all I can say is that the rain did sound a little like a hail at times. I can't think of too much freezing rain events - I remember some rain which later froze in late November 2012 and Christmas Day 2010 was the most notable example of rain falling with temperstures below freezing at the surface. Thankfully, yesterday appears to have turned out like a proper ice storm though still very treacherous nonetheless.

  4. Tomorrow is shaping up to be interesting in terms of snow potential. Despite a rather quiet atlantic during the autumn - other than a couple of storms in September -  we haven't had many opportunities for snow so far this season. Other than a couple of attempts at an easterly we've struggled to find the breakthrough in the stalemate despite the potential for blocking. It's been fairly average temperature wise with some frosts - The lowest temperature this season so far came in late October with  -5C being the lowest temperature in October since 2002 a few weeks after the joint warmest high - almost matching the swift transition between winter and summer early this year. With cold air not too faraway it only takes a small tweak for a favourable outcome and it seems Saturday could be a prime example of this with the first widespread snow of the season. Last winter really didn't get going for snow until after Christmas with a frontal snow event at the end if the month, before that there had been some snow since late November - the models promised a lot for early December, in the end it was pretty cold for a few days with Parts if a England getting most of the snow. 

    Hopefully tomorrow will at least produce the first snow of the season though there is the potential for more. It's one of those marginal set-ups which will either bring a brief  period of mostly wet snow before turning back to rain, or a more prolonged and significant event with decent accumulations. I'm hoping for the latter but expecting the former - a little bit of height can make all the difference. Last year had the first measurable December snow event since 2012 - the last time snow lay on the ground in the first half of December. It would be a great start to winter if tomorrow delivers though if it doesn't we've got plenty of time ahead for further opportunities - significant snowfalls are more likely in spring than before Christmas. The models have some interest going forward with tentative signs of something seasonal around Christmas and the background signals look pretty promising into the new year. 2018 will be difficult to top after an almost perfect and eventful flow of the weather during the first 7 months progressing dramatically from a seasonal, long, snowy winter to a long warm, dry summer. The transition was almost continental like with only four months between the epic beast from the east in late February to record heat in late June with only a few weeks of normal Spring weather inbetween. Last winter was brilliant in terms of the number and frequency of decent snow events climaxing in late Feb/early Mar - easily the best winter since the 2010. The one thing last year didn't have and 09/10 and 10/11 did have was a prolonged period of notable winter weather - the last notable cold spell of length was March 2013 - it would be great if we could have a 2010' like spell in January - besides 2010 we're overdue a notable January (and February) for cold and snow.

  5. The weather during the last week has been quite varied for the time of year. Saturday was a nice sunny but chilly autumn day, followed by a miserable few days of rain and flooding. Yesterday was a fantastic summery day at 21C was the joint warmest October day in the last 45 years at Glasgow airport with the latest 20C since 2005 and the joint warmest day since 27th July. Quite remarkable and likely the last we'll see of the warm weather until Spring. Still mild but but very dull and wet earlier which cleared later this evening - more rain to the way in the next few days.

  6. A nice sunny afternoon after the wind and rain of recent days. Over the last couple of months we've steadily transitioned from the warm summer into autumn and now it feels like we are about to start autumn proper with shorter days, falling leaves and cooler, wetter and windier conditions. I'm not expecting anything to match the captivating first 7 months with the momentum - which saw various interesting and notable events in a remarkable smooth and swift transition from snowy winter to warm summer - slowing down. The transition from summer to winter isn't renowned for being sharp and dramatic and autumn doesn't tend to have the same variations in temperature during the spring. Autumn is often unsettled with plenty of rain and occasional storms and fairly mild, with some frosty nights and warm days. Hopefully there'll be more of today's sunshine in the coming weeks aswell as traditional autumnal weather and some final warmth as we look forward to the first signs of winter with snow already falling on the tops of the mountains.

  7. A very nice afternoon with sunshine and mostly clear  blue skies after a heavy shower. A run of nearly 50 days with highs of 18C+ came to an end this week and last few weeks have seen more normal summer weather with less heat and more clouds and periods of rain though like today there have been plenty of decent spells of sunshine though not as spectacular as the run of days with unbroken sunshine earlier in the summer. We've had a couple of days with autumnal wet windy and chilly conditions which we are used to experiencing throughout the year except this year has been the other way round with a few blips inbetween periods of sunny and quite fine and dry weather. I'm not expecting too much in the way of heat during the final weeks of summer. Temperatures in the mid-high 20s are more likely in May than late August/September. We're overdue a memorable August with a spell of proper summer weather instead of generally humid and overcast/damp conditions. At times August is more like early autumn than late summer while September can be more summery with quiet periods of fine weather. The days getting shorter and the nights darker are the first signs that autumn is just around the corner. The chances of seeing noctilucent clouds fades though we can hopefully look forward to displays of the northern lights and this weekend's meteors if skies remain clear. 

  8. An absolutely fabulous day of summer weather. Not quite the high 20s/low 30s and cloudless skies of late June, but an improvement of recent days and weeks , which despite the prolonged warm/dry spell early in the month, we've had more cloud cover with some much needed rain and lower temperatures though still no lower than the high teens. The temperature is around 22C with and slight breeze and bright sunshine and largely clear blue skies with some slight cirrus and a scattering of cumulus clouds - ideal summer conditions though it's beginning to feel normal after the persistent warm and dry conditions since May and the record heat of last month. The lack of humidity accompanying the warmth has been noticeable and makes for a pleasant change. After a dry spell/drought up to 20 days, the rainfall we've had has made a difference to the grass. As much as this year has been a revelation without the Atlantic influence and intermittent spells of dry and fine weather, the impacts on wildlife, reservoirs and agriculture are a reminder of the merits of our temperate/oceanic climate and how deviations from climatology can have significant consequences. The outlook is generally warm in the foreseeable - with a more unsettled and cooler interlude at the end of the month - and possibly some hot weather in early August as the exceptional year of weather and summer of 2018 continues.

  9. I've thoroughly enjoyed this World Cup so far. I was quite apathetic before the group stages with an uninspiring set of group fixtures in a bloated tournament without any stand-out teams of real quality in a country with dodgy human rights record and foreign policy led by corrupt politicians. And of course no Scotland, again. 

    Instead the group stage turned out to be fantastic with largely intriguing matches including a few classics as well as some brilliant goals - and Russia turning out to be good hosts. VAR although not perfect is a welcome and necessary addition to the sport and has added some drama. The World Cup was always going to be more open without Italy and the Netherlands, but it seems in recent years that the quality of international football is more diluted than club football. Unlike club football where the biggest teams can spend the most cash to get the best quality, in international football you have to work with what you've got. It means that some of the top nations like Argentina are uneven in quality, while some of lesser nations have some star players and other decent players too. There's much less between the traditional powerhouses and the rest - France drawing with Luxembourg in qualifying proves that there are no easy games in international football. The decline of Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Argentina and the rise of smaller less fancied nations like Iceland means you can't take anything for granted and makes for a much more open and competitive tournament. This could make for a poorer tournament with no team with any aura or real quality grabbing the completion by the scrub of the neck but it makes things more exciting. While club football, especially the Champions League, may have more quality throughout teams it's much more predictable has become quite elitist. 

    With such an open tournament who knows who'll win. Probably the strongest teams like Brazil, Spain, France will prevail. It seems to me that we could see a similar knock out stage to Euro 2016. Teams who've not won the World Cup in a long time, like England andUruguay, perhaps never won like Croatia and Portugal and maybe a completely unfancied team ,like Greece in Euro 2004, could win the World Cup. It's very strange to not see Germany reach the last 16 - it seems after years building a good team they peaked in 2014 and lost experienced players like Lahm, Schwienstiger, Klose and have become stale. In my opinion the tournament is better without a tame German side.

    Looking at the Last 16, we have one very tough side of the draw and another much more open - like Euro 2016.

    France v Argentina should be an interesting much and very 50-50. France have a very promising and talented squad who I thought might win the World Cup. It seems the manager isn't able to get the best out of the players. They lack cohesion and mental strength and have been unconvincing like they were in Euro 2016 and in qualifying. 

    Argentina are a mess of a team. They are heavily reliant on Messi and are a very unbalanced side with a strong attack and weak defence. More alarmingly they not a team and play like a bunch of strangers. They were lucky to get out of the group but perhaps they could gain the momentum that got them to the final four years ago and perhaps Messi might have his finest moment for Argentina. I'm going for France, but given how erratic Argentina are how unconvincing the way this French team plays, I won't be surprised if Argentina go through.

    Portugal v Uruguay another even and intriguing match. Like Argentina, Portugal heavily rely on Ronaldo, perhaps even more so than 2 years ago. They're an enigmatic team which makes them tricky to beat. They're capable of scoring goals and have a fairly compact defence. Uruguay are not too dissimilar. They've got a strong defence and have not conceded a goal and are a goal threat with top strikers aswell as being strong at set pieces. I fancy Uruguay to progress.

    I'm not a fan of this Brazil side but they are the team to defeat. They're strong across the pitch and have been quite impressive - I think this could be their year. Mexico won't be easy as they are a very tenacious team with with experience but they tend to go no further than the last 16. Brazil to win.

    Belgium appear to be much more convincing than in previous tournaments and have a very strong team with world class players like De Bruyne and Hazard playing at the top of their game. There'll be questions about whether they have the nous to go far but they certainly have the talent -.perhaps if they finished second they'd have a better chance of reaching the semis. Japan are tenacious and shouldn't be underestimated but I expect Belgium to win.

    On the other side of the draw Spain are the most experienced and strongest team. At times they've been impressive though they are perhaps not as formidable as the 2008-12 team. They've still got players from that golden era and some talented younger players aswell. Like France in 2006, Italy at Euro 2012, sometimes a successful team who lost their mojo can come back with a final flourish but whether Spain can go all the way remains to be seen. Russia have exceeded expectations and have embraced the pressure of host nation though I don't think they'll go any further than this.

    Denmark have improved since failing to qualify for Euro 2016. They are a solid team that relies on the excellent Eriksen. Croatia are real dark horses in this World Cup. They've been impressive, winning 3 out of 3 and have a very talented and experienced squad. They should reach the last 8 at least.

    Switzerland v Sweden is a fascinating game. Neither team has a World Class player but collectively they are both very effective if unspectacular. Switzerland have only lost 1 in 20 while Sweden seemed to have improved as a team without Zlatan - knocking out Netherlands, Italy, Germany, beating France. In this quarter of the draw, they are the most recent nation to reach the semis in 1994. Very even game, Switzerland might edge it but don't underestimate the Swedes.

    England v Colombia is a fascinating game. England last won a knock-out game in 2006 against South American opposition. Colombia thanks to Rodriguez in 2014 defeated Uruguay to reach the last 8 - he makes the team tick and his injury would be a massive boost for England. Colombia are one of the better teams in this side of the draw with some excellent players led by an experienced coach. They've been up and down in the group stage with a defeat in the first game, an excellent performance against Poland and continued the momentum by beating the unlucky Senegal. 

    England have been pretty impressive, with a very strong spell against Tunisia and scoring a late goal- which has been a habit recently unlike previous years. Demolition of Panama was impressive and showed strength at set pieces and have a formidable forward in Kane. This team remind me a but of Germany in 2010 with a very young team impressing. Other than Kane there aren't a lot of outstanding players, but they have decent players like Henderson, Ali, Sterling and other talented  and reliable players. Not England's best World Cup squad on paper NE there's a lack of experienced and creative players aswell as questions about defence and goalkeeper - Panama could have scored more than 1 goal. Nevertheless after the debacle of 2014, 2016 and the sacking of Allardyce England seem a lot more settled and confident. Southgate appears to be both bold and pragmatic and being a former player probably helps in terms of managing squad and the pressures of a tournament. England seem prepared, with no delusions, playing to their strengths and minimising weaknesses, playing with cohesion and a good team spirit. In qualifying England at times were unimpressive and needed late goals but they seemed to have moved up a gear in this World Cup. England seem to have more luck for once, being in an easy group, playing the final group game, facing a team from another easy group in the last 16, and the quarter-final draw has really opened up without Germany or Brazil.

    It's been 22 years since England last reached a Semi - it should be shaming that Wales are the only British side since then to reach a semi-final. 26 years since England came fourth in 1990 World Cup. England have the best chance in a long time to go far - with the way they've played and the potential route to the semis being favourable. Colombia will be tougher than Switzerland or Sweden. Like Belgium then Cameroon in 1990, If England beat Colombia then there's no reason to suggest why England can't reach the last 4. Euro 2016 was similar with Portugal beating one of the better teams, Croatia, in the last 16 in the easier side of the draw which included Hungary, Northern Ireland, Wales, Poland while the other side had Germany, France, Spain, Italy, England. I think resting players against Belgium was a good idea - not often you have that luxury and after a long club season it's good tongue better players a rest. Another factor which has helped England is the quality of coaching in the Premier League. The Scotland team recently has benefited a lot from Celtic players improving under Rodgers, likewise I think England players have benefited under Guardiola, Klopp, Mourinho, Pochettino. When Spain won in 2010, Mourinho and Guardiola were managing in La Liga and when Germany won in 2014, Guardiola and Klopp were managing in the Bundesliga. England certainly have an outstanding chance and there's a sense in Scotland that our neighbours might be World Champions. Most Scots won't begrudge England doing well just as many had respect for what the 1996 side achieved despite the rivalry. It should also be remembered that the last time England reached the semis in 1990, Rangers had more players than any other club in the squad, including the captain, and obviously Gascoigne was at Rangers in 1996. Though since Scotland has fallen away as a footballing nation in recent decades with the national team failing to qualify for 20 years, we tend to just enjoy watching  the tournament and back underdogs teams or teams who entertain or merit winning a tournament - which certainly hasn't been England in recent years - and despite what some might say south of the border, many don't feel obliged to join in the giddy, exuberant, jingoistic, delusional hysteria of following a bunch of overpaid, overrated athletes slog through the tournament haunted by the ghost of 1966, playing uninspiring football until being knocked out on penalties. There isn't any real malice except for a minority when Scots or even the Wales team two years ago don't shed a tear when England do well or badly. If England go far, or even win the World Cup, the media coverage and adulation doesn't bear thinking about though this time with obvious, stand-out team in the competition and with a more likeable England team and manager playing some decent football then I don't think English success will bother us as much despite medias best attempts. After being used to seeing England do poorly in the last 10 years, it'd be quite a unique and refreshing experience to see England do well for a change.



  10. 15 minutes ago, Ross B said:

    Glasgow Airport is already at 27c 😮 I'm heading to London today and will need to brave the tube unfortunately! 


    Hopefully still hot in Glasgow tomorrow when I'm back, although unlikely to be as hot as today!

    Usually 27C would be the warmest high of a normal year in Glasgow. 27C being recorded before noon with at least another 3-6 hours before the warmest part of the day suggests we're in for something special. Now 28C and still 6C higher than this time yesterday.

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