Lifestyle

Will the 2013/14 Irish winter be another long, cold one?

November 20, 2013
Snowy Road Winter 2013

Our snowy lane on the 19th November 2013

Can we expect a white Christmas in Ireland?

With the unexpected sign of snow hitting our hill-top this week, I immediately turned to the weather forecast to see what might be in store over the coming days and months.

First of all, because the Callan community gardeners mentioned him on Monday, my first Google search was for New Zealand weather guru Ken Ring. I found a short Radio Kerry podcast where his long-term forecast suggested hard frosts at the end of November, rain and frosts in December but nothing too substantial in the way of snow until mid February with frosts continuing until May – all in all, a typical Irish winter.

I then turned to Weather Online where nothing exciting is expected this week in terms of snow, but it will be chilly with night-time temperatures down to 0°C and daytime at 8°C.

The Met Éireann website isn’t offering much more in terms of exciting weather news, with maximum temperatures expected to reach 7°C in County Carlow and although their qualified meteorologists may be the experts, on the whole I don’t find their on-line information very easy to fathom.

Snow 2013

A snowy surprise was in store for us this week in the Greenside Up garden

Finally I came across the Irish Weather Network which is my favourite so far. Not only did it give me detailed information about the weather forecast this week, with wintry showers and sharp frosts expected, there’s also a page explaining how to predict snow, which might be handy next time I’m worried about making that dreaded school run down the slippery hills! I found their help invaluable a couple of years ago when we experienced the severe snow, as well as correct to within hours on their snowfall predictions.

So, back to the question about whether we’ll be experiencing a white Christmas, a harsh winter or long cold spring, I’m thinking I should have stuck with RTE’s Evelyn Cusack for advice, who shared a brilliant quote over the weekend during her evening weather forecast.

Do you rely on the postman or nature’s cues to gauge the weather or do you just take it as it comes?

Post script: the video linked is open to interpretation so it seems – mine might be different from yours! Check out the comments for clarification.

17 Comments

  • Reply unahalpin November 20, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Some of the long range forecasts can be pretty accurate. As we know, there are so many things in nature that we are only beginning to understand, but one thing is certain, plants and animals are pretty amazing. To say that nature has no way of predicitng and preparing for extreme weather and dismiss the study of it as “pseudo science” is naive in the extreme. Just another example of a scientist trying to suggest that over 4 billion years of evolution can’t compare to human ingenuity. That’s the same kind of thinking that led to the destruction of our planet’s resources and the poisoning of our food and water with a range of dangerpous chemicals.

    • Reply greensideupveg November 20, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      That’s a good point Una and I’m really glad you took the time to leave it as I don’t think I made myself clear in my post. It wasn’t Evelyn’s science I was agreeing with as in actual fact, Ken Ring has been pretty accurate to date and I’m quite a fan. I think the moon and the tides have a much greater affect on our planet than we give them credit for. What I liked was Evelyn’s use of the quote by Carl Sagan at the end “it is far better to accept the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion however satisfying and reassuring..”

      Perhaps I was incorrect in my interpretation but I heard that quote in quite a different context… “It is far better to accept the universe as it is” in my mind meant not worrying about forecasts and the future, more that we should learn to accept nature as she is and go with the flow. There’s an enormous amount that science has yet, if ever, to unearth and even scientists can be accused of delusion depending upon the way they interpret their results – GMOs are a case in point.

      • Reply unahalpin November 20, 2013 at 10:50 pm

        Yes Dee I like your interpretation of the quote and I agree with it but I’m not sure Evelyn was using it in that context. I’ve heard her on the subject before and I think the “delusion” bit referred to the long range forecasters. I’ve been annoyed about the clip ever since I saw it a few days ago.

        When it comes to the weather, it is good just to relax and take what comes but I do like to have a little foreknowledge as some times are more convenient than others for bad weather to hit.

        • Reply greensideupveg November 21, 2013 at 6:48 am

          I think you’re right Una! I watched the clip again and it certainly seems as if she was mocking those with alternative methods and beliefs. Interesting that I didn’t see that the first time of viewing. It must be very frustrating for Evelyn and her colleagues, as qualified, professional scientists who’ve been doing their jobs for years. To have their own methods criticised and debunked and to constantly hear that people would rather believe the postman, or that radio stations and TV are now looking for advice from a New Zealander rather than themselves, must be very unsettling but hey, that’s life.

          I agree, especially as a gardener, that a much longer term forecast would be useful, however, much like not wanting to know whether I was carrying a boy or a girl when pregnant, I kind of like the idea of taking life as it comes, going along with earths flow and not worrying about the future. What will be will be 🙂

    • Reply Mike February 23, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      Long range weather forecasts can be accurate, really. They got this one fairly wrong which doesn’t surprise me as it’s just the papers writing rubbish to fools who believe it.

  • Reply irishmansdiary January 2, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Ken Ring accurate? Eh, that’d be a no. He really isn’t.

    http://irishmansdiary.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/keep-predicting-and-youll-be-right-eventually/

    • Reply greensideupveg January 2, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Fair play on all your research and for sharing your blog post. We should know by now just to take each day/week as it comes and prepare for all eventualities 😉

      • Reply irishmansdiary January 2, 2014 at 10:19 am

        Certainly true for an Irish summer! Wellies and sunscreen!

    • Reply Joe Whyte January 3, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Yes, I’m glad to see someone else has done research.

      The “accuracy” claim tend to be repeated by the media but only from the horse’s mouth himself!

      Ken Ring, James Madden (Exactaweather) and jonathan Powell (Vantage Weather), Piers Corbyn(Weatheraction) all claim accuracy. If you ever saw the weather headlines in the Daily Express in UK, and the catastrophes and armageddon forecasts they quote from some of these sources, you’ll see how “accurate” they’re NOT! Madden is probably the worst but he’s been found out of late and less likely to be quoted in the national presses.

      As they say, a stopped clock is right twice a day. Somewhere, sometime, the likes of Ring, Madden, Powell will get a hit but not out of any skill or insight, more random luck. Sadly there is little interest in media, or the reading public, to see verification of such forecasts. Well done to Irishmansdiary for pulling that news snippet out!

      If you’re interested in what Mr. Ring was saying for Nov/Dec and into 2014 here are some of the notes i took from a radio interview he did (not one of the bigger stations). I don’t see much in the way of accuracy so far!!

      Nov:
      Double digit temp until last week of Nov.
      Frosts last week.
      Lots of rain at beginning of month.
      NO rain 5/11 – 20/11
      21-24 Rain & Mild
      25/11 onward Max below 10c
      Sub-zero last 4 days
      First snow end Nov.

      Dec: Snow last couple of days.
      Jan: First 9 days cold, dry. Snow c. 8th/9th
      Feb: 4-19 Cold; Snow 2nd half Feb ,heaviest14-21. Dry 22-27.
      Mar: Cold; 1-7th precipitation; 7-15th dry.
      April: Dry, Frosty. 9-19(dry, frosty)
      May: 18-25 (dry); 4 to 5 frost days up to end 1st half May.
      June: Last wk & 1st wk July = Dry (20c); 4-14th showers
      July: Wet to last week then dry/hot
      Aug: Dry, warm. 20-21c
      Sept: 9-30th. Dry, warm.

      Enjoy…

      Joe

      • Reply greensideupveg January 4, 2014 at 11:26 am

        Thanks for leaving the comment Joe, will be interesting to see how his predictions fair over the coming months.

      • Reply irishmansdiary January 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm

        That’s very interesting, Joe. He did another interview yesterday on The Last Word, and although some of what he said matches what you have, he directly contradicts some others – e.g., on The Last Word he said August would be dry and wet days, interspersed (the typical Irish “unsettled” 😛 ).

        Easier to get 80%-85% accuracy (as he claims) if you bet both horses in a two-horse race…

        Do you have a link to a podcast or website where that’d be available?

        I’ve taken notes from The Last Word (and there’s a podcast available, too), so I think I may do a month by month analysis of his bull…

        • Reply Joe Whyte January 4, 2014 at 1:24 pm

          Here’s one podcast I found although not from the station I recall….I’ll keep looking…

          http://www.radiokerry.ie/news/new-zealand-weather-forecaster-predicts-a-typical-irish-winter/

          It’s easy to be successful when all you tout are your successes and hide the failures! Ken, et al, are masters of that….

        • Reply Joe Whyte January 4, 2014 at 1:31 pm

          Another nugget I found from Ken himself….

          Ken Ring says:
          October 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm
          Winter should not be severe across the UK and Ireland. Of winter months of December, January and February, then my dates for coldest Ireland winter weather would be the first week in January and first and third weeks in February, with heavy country-wide snowfalls unlikely. The third week in January should see most precipitation for that month, but it may be too mild for snow. Perigees are significantly closer in January and a fairly dry January, cold only for the first half may result. February should be the most wintry month of the three.
          Edinburgh, Birmingham and London should not receive snow until at least the second half of December. As for January, only the first ten days should be cold enough for snow in all three cities. February will be the coldest and snowiest winter month for all, but March also brings snow events. Scotland may continue to see snow well into the first week of April.
          It will not be a severe winter for snow, and certainly not a winter that will break records in the UK. Nevertheless there may be many cold dry intervals.
          It will be a different story in Scandinavia, which may experience records broken for cold.
          More details in the Weather Almanac for Ireland for 2014.

          • irishmansdiary January 5, 2014 at 7:54 pm

            Thanks Joe, much appreciated! I’ve decided to do a #kenringwatch experiment for 2014 – see http://wp.me/p2pxcv-4V

          • greensideupveg January 5, 2014 at 7:59 pm

            Well done, looking forward to seeing how it all pans out 🙂

  • Reply Announcing Ken Ring Watch 2014 – #kenringwatch | Another Irishman's Diary January 5, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    […] (thanks to Joe Whyte for the links to Radio Kerry, which Joe posted  in the comments on this Greenside Up post).  So – let’s measure Ring’s predictions, month by […]

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