Friday, 31 December 2010

Crown Prince survives

No change on Thursday as the dull damp weather continues. As the milder spell continued I thought I’d take the opportunity to check out our stored winter squashes in the greenhouse. There was a spell of 10 consecutive nights were the temperature fell below 0°C in the greenhouse with temperatures below minus 4°C for 4 consecutive nights.

Back in autumn I’d some straw left over from protecting the banana plants so I put this over the Crown Prince squashes in the greenhouse. I left it in small bales as it's easier to take down to the plot for composting or strawberry plant protection in spring.

It’s now easy to see that some of the squashes have been frozen whilst some look to have escaped. Perhaps a little more care on my part in spreading the straw around the squashes would have given them just that little bit more protection from the cold.

I'll be more careful next year in protecting my stored winter vegetables.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Frosted potatoes

We’ve had our allotment plots for more than 20 years and for most of that period our crop of potatoes has been stored in supermarket boxes in our garage. This has always proved satisfactory until this year. The freezing cold nights and days has frosted some of our potatoes. Not all have been frosted and as they start to thaw out it’s possible to identify those that have frozen as the potato is now soft and spongy. Some have survived and are still firm but I think a sort out of all our stored potatoes is required.

Mrs GL’s cyclamen don’t look very good either. I’m still hoping that they’ll make a full recovery!
From 03 Weather 2010
Meanwhile Wednesday continued the dull miserable weather. The temperature remained above zero today and with similar weather forecast to the end of the month it’s just a question of how far down the ranking of coldest Decembers we fall. With 2 days to go this December remains the 6th coldest since 1722.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A chink of light

The milder weather continued on Tuesday resulting in a miserable dull, misty, and rainy sort of a day. We are now past the shortest number of daylight hours so perhaps that means gradually increasing warmth in any sunshine from now on.

The milder weather has reduced the grip of the ice on the pond. Hopefully our fish will have survived too. Our tree fern isn’t looking too good. I remember seeing some tree ferns at Hidcote Manor Gardens when we visited during September which appeared to have suffered in winter and had only produced one or two fronds on what were large specimen tree ferns.
From 03 Weather 2010

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Thaw sets in

Monday saw the start of a thaw. Following another overnight frost the temperature was soon onto positive territory allowing a slow thaw. The average daily temperature was positive for the first time in 10 days. The milder weather means Ossett won’t be colder than that 1890 record but I’m pretty sure we’ll make it into the table of 10 coldest winters since 1772.

The pond ice was at it most extensive early Monday morning before the thaw started.
From 03 Weather 2010
I’m not sure how the shape is formed but the water now runs through an ice tunnel.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Coldest Winters

Boxing Day was milder although the daily average was below zero again. There is talk of this being the coldest winter since 1890. I’m sure in some areas of the country this will be the case. I’ve listed below the coldest ten Decembers based on CET data. Our Ossett average up to the 26th December is -0.31°C placing this December 2nd in the listing. With milder weather forecast I expect the average to increase so perhaps it might finish up the 6th coldest December since 1772 and the coldest since 1890. Only time and the weather will tell.
Table of coldest December’s dating back to 1772

This December is going to be a real test of hardiness for our banana plant currently beneath a deep layer of straw.
From 03 Weather 2010

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas Day and almost a thaw!

Christmas Day got off to a cold start minus 4.5°C but that was pretty mild compared to some spots in the Midlands. Strange how such a cold temperature doesn’t seem so bad after recent much colder nights. There was a little bit of sunshine and the temperature crept up to 2.6°C rather mild for the moment. The last 2 days have seen the rain gauge record 0.2mm of precipitation which must have been snow thawing in the rain gauge.

The slightly milder temperatures have not made any impression on the ice covering our pond. The ice appears thicker and almost covers the entire pond.
From 03 Weather 2010

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Will it be a record breaker?

Friday was another day with a below zero daily average temperature. We are still just about on course to experience the coldest December since 1890. It’s predicted to be milder over the next few days making it unlikely to be colder than 1890.

Our pond ice formation is continuing to flourish and grow in the freezing conditions. There is little wonder that our boiler outlet pipe continues to ice up!
From 03 Weather 2010
I think I should have provided our gunnera with some winter protection but it’s a bit too late now!
From 03 Weather 2010

Friday, 24 December 2010

A week below

Thursday’s daily average temperature was below zero again making a week of below zero daily average temperatures. It turned cold mid December last year but this year has been even colder. There is now only a small area of pond ice free and a gap has formed between the water surface and ice.
From 03 Weather 2010

Our new central heating was thawed out today and was up and running again until the early hours of Friday morning when it failed again. How have we managed to design a range of central heating boilers that don’t work when it’s cold outside just when you need them the most!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Just positive

Wednesday was pretty mild compared to recent days. The temperature managed to get into positive territory for the first time in 5 days but it wasn’t enough to set in a thaw. The ice around the pond continues to expand. Mrs GL took this video with her new camera.

Paul Hudson has included some photos on his blog of the freezing conditions being experienced across West Yorkshire. (Click on image to view the full article)
From 03 Weather 2010
Fairburn Ings is our local RSPB reserve which we visit regularly. It hasn't escaped the harsh conditions either as this picture from the Telegraph newspaper shows. (Click on image for more photos from the Telegraph)
From 03 Weather 2010

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

New Ice Age inside and outside

Tuesday saw a continuation of the extremely cold weather and not to be outdone a new day time low temperature of minus 3.5 was recorded. Our average daily temperature for the month is now just below 0°C. It was another day with a reasonably amount of sunshine and no snowfall. The ice sheet on the pond continues to grow leaving only a small area ice free now.

From 03 Weather 2010
It also turned out to pretty cold inside as our new central heating boiler stopped working just after lunch time. It’s a couple of days before a man can come and hopefully repair the fault. Our old storage heaters gave us 25 years of excellent service with no breakdowns or call outs throughout their lifetime. Our new gas central heating system has managed just 10 days! It’s probably too cold for it or the wrong sort of cold.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

And even colder!

Monday was sunny but on the down side the coldest day I’ve recorded. I’ve no need to worry about which days have the coldest records anymore as Monday has them all. The lowest temperature I’ve recorded minus 10.3, the lowest daytime temperature minus 2.7 and the coldest average daily temperature minus 7.6.

The temperature graph along side shows these values. I think it might be a while before these values are exceeded.

We seem to be heading for one of the coldest December’s on record. I remember looking at the daily average temperatures for December 1890, at the time, the coldest on record. The coldest daily average for that month was minus 6.8°C and I thought there’s no way we'll get temperatures like that nowadays. How do you get an average daily temperature of minus 6.8°C? I know now!

We managed to get out and about a bit yesterday. This photo was from the M1 looking towards Ossett as the sun started to set. What's that about red sky at night?

From 03 Weather 2010

Monday, 20 December 2010

Getting more extreme

It’s becoming difficult to keep track of the coldest records as they get continually broken each day. In line with this Saturday gave us a new all time low temperature of minus 9.2°C. The temperature never rose above zero all day giving us a new low average daily temperature of minus 5.2°C.

Monday Morning Record Low
Things changed again as Monday morning gave another new record low of minus 10.3°C.

I managed to grab this Weatherundergound screen of the temperatures across West Yorkshire this morning.
From 2010 Weather Charts
(Click on image for full size view)

The heavy overnight frost gave a pretty but very cold scene outside.
From 03 Weather 2010
The garden is in deep freeze mode at the moment. We aren't supposed to get this type of cold winter anymore. I think someone needs to re-think this idea as it's clearly completely wrong!
From 03 Weather 2010

Sunday, 19 December 2010


Certainly from Saturday’s news reports we missed the worst of the snow but we certainly didn’t escape the cold. Saturday’s day time high was minus 2.2°C far colder than any other daytime temperature I’ve recorded. The average daily temperature was minus 3.7°C just 0.1°C from equalling that record.

Mrs GL’s cyclamen are now covered in another thin layer of frozen snow. It’s a harsh testing of their hardiness.
From 03 Weather 2010
The over night temperature Saturday into Sunday fell to minus 9.2°C setting a new low temperature. The previous low was minus 7.8°C set on the 3rd December just a few days ago. Our pond is now starting to freeze over again and forming an ice waterfall where the filtered water returns to the pond. Those forecasters suggesting a severe weather event for the UK seem to be on the money.
From 03 Weather 2010

Saturday, 18 December 2010

The Great Escape – well almost!

Friday was sub zero all day but we did have some sunny spells. We missed the snow, not a flake fell whilst other parts of the country were grinding to a halt due to heavy snow falls. No snowy scenes to photograph but the last of the autumn leaves on the ground were still frozen in the early afternoon.
From 03 Weather 2010
Why the "Great Escape - almost" because by Saturday morning we did have a light covering of snow. “Our hardy” outdoor cyclamen are never going to make it through this winter.
From 03 Weather 2010

Friday, 17 December 2010

The next freeze arrives

It rain sleeted or snowed for most of Thursday but fortunately it didn’t settle. It was mild and windy early morning but by mid morning the temperature started to fall rapidly and the wind eased off. We now will have to wait and see if we get the heavy snow fall forecast for Saturday.

Thursday, 16 December 2010


Thursday lunchtime.

Thursday morning started off remarkably mild around 8°C, then plummeted to 2°C as it started to rain, sleet and snow at 09:30.

It’s now snowing but not settling. There are some forecasts suggesting that the UK is going to be on the receiving end of a severe weather event in the next few days. I’m glad our new central heating is now up and running.

Wednesday was the same again following the same pattern as the last few days, reasonably mild through the day and no overnight frost. It’s all about to change though.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

No change

Tuesday was another dull cloudy day. Temperatures around normal for December and just some light drizzle on occasions throughout the day.

Our tree fern is certainly showing signs of the cold weather. The fronds have now turned brown. Unlike our vegetables we won’t know until late spring whether our tree fern has survived or not.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


Monday was cloudy and a little on the cool side but not bad compared to last weeks bitterly cold days. The snow and ice has completely cleared and the bird bath is now ice free, a welcome change for our feathered friends.
From 03 Weather 2010

Monday, 13 December 2010

Average December day

Sunday wasn’t too bad for December with temperatures just about normal for the time of year.

The freezing weather of the last few weeks has resulted in temperatures down to minus 2.6°C in the greenhouse. Our stored squashes “Crown Prince” look to have survived under their covering of straw. These are good added to winter stews and for warming winter soups.

From 03 Weather 2010
So far this winter I'm pleased with the survival of our straw protected vegetables, however the forecast is for more cold weather towards the end of the week giving our protection method another testing. Thursday the 17th is when the next cold spell is due to arrive with bitterly cold northerly winds. It was Thursday 16th December last year when the cold spell began and lasted for the rest of winter or that’s the way I remember it. The forecast this time is that the cold spell may last into the New Year.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

A visit to the plot

Saturday was mild again and with the snow having thawed we made a trip to the plot to harvest some vegetables.
There's plenty of jobs to get on with on the plot and it looks bleak and neglected a far cry from the productive days of summer.

The soil condition around my unprotected parsnips was really good and the parsnips lifted in good condition. The variety I lifted were Gladiator which has given us a good crop since I first grew it several years ago now. It was then on to uncover our carrots. The carrots appeared to be in good condition once the protective straw was forked to one side. Some Early Nantes were still in the ground and looked unaffected by the severe frosts of last week. I suppose the proof will be in the eating!

Initially it looks like the straw has protected the carrots down to temperatures of around minus 8°C. I’ll be honest when we started using straw as protection the prediction in line with global warming was that snow and extremely cold winters would be a thing of the past! It might have been the case then but the last three winters have made a mockery of that forecast. So the straw has done a great job.

Saturday, 11 December 2010


Thursday saw a continuation of the thaw. Just as our new central heating was turned on for the first time the outside temperature soared to 8°C after a week of sub-zero temperatures whilst we were without heating.

The cyclamen have emerged from their blanket of snow. I don’t think things are as bad as they could have been. Yes the flowers are spoilt but the plants themselves look as though they’ve survived the cold and snow. I bet Mrs GL wont be too impressed by their condition though!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Thaw sets in!

Thursday saw a proper thaw start with the temperature remaining a few degrees above freezing for most of the day. It didn’t rain at all so Thursday’s rainfall charts shows just how steadily the thaw took place through the day and into the evening.
From 03 Weather 2010
No web pictures today as the new central heating installation reaches the sensitive computer and web camera locations. Today may well be a no power day soon.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Sunny but freezing cold

No let up on Wednesday as the cold spell continues. The temperature remained below freezing again today except for a touch over 3 hours in the afternoon. Much of the snow that covered the large garden shrubs has fallen off and parts of the garden are turning green again. Our tree fern fronds are turning brown from the bitterly cold weather. Already my mind is turning to whether it’s survived the winter.

From 03 Weather 2010
Our new cyclamen are still hidden under a blanket of frozen snow. I don’t know whether this is their best option but I think it’s mine.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

No let up

Tuesday was another cold sunny day. The pond continues to be mostly frozen over but the filter inlet remains ice free. The ice formation around the inlet gets bigger by the day.
From 03 Weather 2010
Ten of the last 11 days have had an average daily temperature below freezing. For comparison last winter we had 13 days below freezing. Unless the rest of winter is mild we could well beat last year for cold days.

If the week end turns out to be mild (a tropical 5°C is forecast) it will be an opportunity to visit the plot and see if our straw protection over our carrot has worked. If not I might well be digging up yellow mush!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Back to winter with a vengeance

Monday set a new average low temperature of minus 3.8°C. The overnight low was down to minus 7.4°C and the daytime high just sneaking into positive values. Looking at yesterday’s temperature graph most of the day was sub zero.

The greenhouse glass had plenty of frost patterns on the glass. I’m hoping these aren’t formed on the house windows overnight whilst the heating is turned off and our replacement central heating is installed.
From 03 Weather 2010
I can remember when this used to happen to inside windows when we didn't have double glazing and central heating. Once the ice melted the rest of the day was spent soaking up the water from condensation forming on the windows. Ah those were the days.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Winter takes a bit of a break!

Sunday saw the daytime temperature above freezing again and the slow thaw continued. No rain again so the recorded rainfall was melting snow. By evening time we were starting to pay the price for a clear sunny day as the temperature was already below zero. By late evening we were down below minus 3°C and set for another bitterly cold night.

The snow is at that miserable stage now of solid ice rather than soft snow. There are no more scenic photos to take, the snow just needs to thaw and go. It seems a bit unlikely at the moment. The last week or so has been exceptionally cold.
From 03 Weather 2010

Mrs GL’s cyclamen haven’t emerged from the snow just yet. I think it might be better if they remained under the snow and out of sight. I’m not expecting a display of beautiful flowers when the snow receeds!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

A bit of a thaw!

Saturday saw the start of the thaw. Not that it became mild but with a maximum temperature during the day of around 3°C a slow thaw started. The day itself was dull and cloudy but dry. This is where keeping accurate weather records gets a little tricky as the 4.1mm of rain recorded today was melting snow which fell on the 1st December. I don’t even know if all the snow has thawed from the rain gauge and I’m not going to get my steps out of the garage to find out.

Worryingly the forecast for next week is a return to some extremely cold nights again, so the fact we will be without heating is not something I’m relishing.

Despite the thaw our bird bath still keeps freezing over even with copious amounts of hot water added throughout the day. The birds seem to manage to gobble up all the seed left out for them a couple of times each day. Peanuts left out on the bird table are especially popular saving the hassle of winkling them out the peanut feeder. This sparrow was still to sort out the easy way.
From 03 Weather 2010

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Records tumble in Yorkshire

Friday certainly turned out to be a record breaker. The minimum temperature of -7.8°C was the lowest I’ve recorded. The temperature remained below zero for most of the day. Strangely it managed to achieve just above freezing by 22:00 hrs. This gave an average temperature for the day of -3.1°C beating the -2.7°C of the 7th January this year.

Across Yorkshire much lower temperatures were recorded as highlighted in Paul Hudson's blog. Topcliffe recorded a temperature of minus 19°C making our night seem quite mild!

Click on the image to view Paul's blog.

The snow and freezing conditions have certainly produced some stunning scenery. This shot was taken looking towards Emley Moor TV mast.
From 03 Weather 2010

Friday, 3 December 2010

Another new record low!

Friday morning and a new record low temperature down to -7.8°C. My latest temperature graph  actually indicates a couple of hours on Thursday when the temperature crept just above zero! It's mid morning and the temperature is still well below freezing!

It remained extremely cold again on Thursday with just a few more flakes of snow. Our pond now has quite a covering of snow and ice.
From 03 Weather 2010
Where the filtered water runs back into the pond it keeps an area ice free. Any self respecting fish will be down at the bottom of the pond away from the ice in an attempt to survive these extreme conditions.
From 03 Weather 2010

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Wednesday's snow

A little piece of video taken during the snowfall. Our tropical tree fern and palm don't look very tropical at the moment!

Mr GL might be in trouble.

I’ve noticed lots of comments amongst the bloggists on Mrs GL's blog praising the delights of cyclamens. Well I too like cyclamen and last week you may remember this photo of them in our stone tub on Mrs GL’s blog.

A couple of days later after some very cold nights and a little dusting of snow these looked a little bit frozen. It was suggested (by Mrs GL) they were moved under cover to give them some protecting. I thought we probably wouldn’t get much more snow! It was still late autumn, so the chances of it being really cold and snowy were pretty small. All this went against the weather forecast. By now the cyclamen looked like this.

Just a couple more hints which I carefully ignored suggesting it might have been better to give them some protection. These are hardy cyclamen after all, they should be able to put up with this sort of weather. Things didn’t improve.

More overnight snow fell and I now wished I put them under cover. By now the plants were covered in snow, their condition unknown!

Along came Wednesday and it snowed most of the day. It was heavy in the morning, more showery in the afternoon. The temperature didn’t get above zero and well the cyclamen now look like this!

Protected from any more severe frosts which are predited for later this week by a thick blanket of snow. Let's hope the flowers survive intact or I may get earache!