October's snow hit Rothamsted crop experiments

PUBLISHED: 18:57 05 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:43 06 May 2010

OCTOBER swung from mild and dry to typically wintry conditions, according to weather expert Chris Hall at Rothamsted in Harpenden. His weather summary for October shows a varied month which was almost summery early on and then ended with early snowfall. M

OCTOBER swung from mild and dry to typically wintry conditions, according to weather expert Chris Hall at Rothamsted in Harpenden.

His weather summary for October shows a varied month which was almost summery early on and then ended with early snowfall.

Mr Hall said that the cutting of hay on the long-term classical experiment Park Grass at Rothamsted was interrupted by snowfall - the first time he believed that had happened.

He added: "This early snow also caused considerable damage to the Rothamsted biomass crops with 2.5m tall miscanthus being completely bent over and buried under the snow."

In the end October turned out to be slightly cooler than average and relatively sunny.

Rainfall was very close to the average at 74.3mm which is 0.4mm above the mean. There were 24 days with 0.2mm or more of rain and five days with more than 5mm. The greatest amount was 18.8mm on October 28 which fell mostly as snow.

Sunshine was above average at 139.6 hours - the October average is 112.1 - with the sunniest day being October 9 with 8.8 hours. There were only three days without any sun at all.

Temperatures during October were slightly below average. The mean maximum and minimums were13.6 degrees C and 5.3 degrees C respectively. The highest temperature was 20.7 degrees C on October 12 and the lowest was -2.9 degrees C on October 25.

Fourteen ground frosts were recorded during the month.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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