March 10 2014 Latest news:
Monday, February 24, 2014
The region has passed through winter without significant snowfall.
Despite the torrential rain that most of the area has seen, it has been warmer than previous years.. And there’s no sign of it cooling down.
Steve Western, forecaster at Norwich-based Weatherquest, said: “Winter is over.”
Mr Western also said that there may be snow showers, but no risk of the significant snowfall the East of England would normally expect.
Dan Holley, another forecaster for Weatherquest, said: “It’s going to stay fairly mild for the next few days.”
Mr Holley had been speaking with his colleagues, who believe that in terms of the weather, the country is three or four weeks ahead of schedule.
Mr Holley said: “Basically a lot of cold air has moved into North America and Canada.”
This is because of the jet streams that flow around the earth.
Mr Holley said: “The jet stream is about 30,000 feet above the earth. It’s a corridor of fast-flowing air and it’s driven by the temperature either side of it.”
The jet stream, and the positioning of it over the region, has brought westerly winds from the Atlantic that get warmed up on their way to Britain, and there was no chance of getting weather as cold as America did over winter.
And even if there are northern and easterly winds needed for cooler temperatures, the region will not see any snow.
The weather has also been good to farmers.
Brian Finnerty, National Farmers Union regional communications spokesman, said: “We have had some reasonable growing conditions. Crops are growing quite well.”
But he added that the conditions this year show the versatility of farmers. He said: “The main point is it is such a real contrast with a year ago.
“It shows the challenges they face. The last few years have been particularly challenging and farmers have done well to battle the conditions and have done a really good job.”
There are also effects on wildlife too, with animals sometimes struggling with the warmer conditions.
Audrey Boyle, communications manager at Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said: “There have been some wildlife winners and losers. As always though it is about patterns – it is a trend of continuously bad winters that take a toll on wildlife, not the occasional one.
“Mild temperatures can be better for birds like kingfishers and wrens which suffer during cold winters. But mild winters have perhaps the greatest impact on hibernating mammals.
“If the temperatures are high then animals may wake up several times from hibernation and in doing so burn precious fat supplies. It also takes more energy for an animal to keep in a state of hibernation when it’s mild outside.
“Ultimately they finally emerge in springtime in a poor body condition which doesn’t bode well for successful breeding.
“If they have surfaced several times during the winter then they may actually lose so much fat that they die in hibernation, especially if there’s a sudden cold snap towards the end of winter.”
Ms Boyle said: “Wet weather can have a big impact on water voles who are flooded out their burrows and forced to forage in wet conditions which can increase their susceptibility to the cold.”
And with a tawny owl being born prematurely, she added: “At this time of year, tawny owl chicks can often be seen alone on the ground.
“Suffolk Wildlife Trust are asking people to resist the temptation of picking them up and moving them; a parent is busy hunting and will soon join the chick with its prey.”