Ne’er cast a clout till May be out

Figure 1

Another touch of frost in places overnight, with air temperatures down to -1.8°C across the southeast of England this morning (fig 2). There has been a more general and sharp ground frost across most of the southern and eastern England too (fig 1), which won’t have please a lot of gardeners.

Figure 2

In fact the cold air at the moment is quite widespread across much of northern Europe and eastern Russia (fig 3), nothing exceptional, but because it comes after another relatively mild Winter and Spring so far, it’s come as a bit of a shock to some. And remember – ne’er cast a clout till May be out.

Figure 3

‘Tis neither good for man nor beast

Figure 1

According to the latest forecast charts (fig 3) it looks like we are in for a spell of cold easterly winds right through this coming weekend along the south coast and especially in the southwest. In fact it might not be till the middle of next week before that nagging easterly starts to veer round to the south. Today feels more like January than the middle of March in our part of Devon, and it reminds me of the old rhyme:

When the wind is in the east,
‘Tis neither good for man nor beast;
When the wind is in the north,
The skillful fisher goes not forth;
When the wind is in the south,
It blows the bait in the fishes’ mouth;
When the wind is in the west,
Then ’tis at the very best.

 

Figure 2

Hopefully the frontal cloud that’s spinning around the low might start to thin and break by Saturday and at least then we might get some sun, although the easterly will still be blowing. Further north things look more quiet under the influence of an anticyclone that’s firmly anchored over northern England, so there it will be more a case of sharp overnight frosts, followed by sunny days.

Figure 3