Unseasonably mild weather sees David Mayhew’s daffodils bloom in December
- Credit: Gregg Brown
You would be forgiven for thinking it feels a bit like spring – even nature has become confused by the unseasonably mild weather.
With less than 20 days to Christmas it is increasingly unlikely we will see any snow over the festive period with temperatures predicted to stay between 7C and 12C over the coming weeks.
And the lack of a chilly spell has actually seen nature getting ahead of itself, persuading flowers to open up months earlier than expected.
Keen gardener David Mayhew knew his daffodils were an early-flowering variety, but was still surprised when they started to open up earlier this month.
Mr Mayhew has a spring-like showing of the bright yellow flowers outside his Bramford home.
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He would normally expect to see them flower towards the end of January but the mild weather has prompted them to jump ahead of schedule.
“They have had no special treatment,” he said. “There are quite a lot of bulbs coming up that are a month to six weeks early.
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“The veg side is very strange this year too. I would say we’re about a month ahead of where we should be.”
Explaining why things have stayed warmer than expected, Weatherquest forecaster Steve Western said: “The reason we currently do have such exceptionally mild weather well into the middle of December is the jet stream is very strong and is growing across the colder North Atlantic.
“When it crosses the British Isles it’s to the north of us and as a consequence in the south of England we have remained on the south side of the jet stream.
“The air blowing down over southern Britain is coming from the Azores. With this currently formed of warm air coming in there is no chance of a frost.”
Mr Western said long range forecasts suggest the temperature will drop from the low teens into single figures as we get closer to Christmas, but it is still unlikely to fall below a positively balmy 6C.
Martyn Davey, curriculum manager for the land based area at Easton and Otley College, said there could be a knock-on effect from nature’s confusion.
“Obviously if daffodils have come up and flowered they won’t flower again in the spring and it will have an effect on their flowering in future years,” he said.
“Also the lawns keep growing and it’s quite hard to find a dry day to cut your grass, but the really big thing is pests and diseases.
“We rely on the really cold winters to kill off these pests like the Asian box moth. We have seen some of these in Suffolk and Norfolk already.”
Mr Davey added lack of a cold snap means trees have kept their leaves longer, meaning seasonal pruning is having to wait.
And any birds which start nesting early might be at risk of experiencing a cold snap at the start of next year, risking the lives of their newborn young.
Farmers could also feel the effects of the mild December, according to the National Farmers’ Union’s county chairman for Suffolk, George Gittus.
He said: “The crops grow, stop growing, grow, stop growing and it puts disease pressure on.
“Nobody knows whether we’re coming or going. It would be nice if it did either one or the other.”
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