Thursday, 27 August 2015

Forecasting Sunshine

There is a saying in some parts of Cumbria that it only rains twice a year: once from September through to April and again from May until August.

Having endured nearly three inches of rain in the past week, it’s felt a little like that at times, although it seems that a change is in the air for the Bank Holiday weekend. Fortunately, we benefit from a special micro-climate on the Cartmel Peninsula, where the sunshine in our hearts ensures that we always have a bright smile and a warm welcome for visitors.

The BBC recently announced that their contract with the Met Office would be terminated next year and I am thinking of applying for the vacancy. Having studied a variety of forecasts over the last few months, I have come to the conclusion that it is a fairly straight forward business: in the long term we can expect drier and more settled weather in the south-east of the country, while the north-west will be changeable. 
When it comes to local forecasting, the standard procedure seems to involve the application of both the sunshine symbol and the rain-cloud at the same time. A cynic might suggest that the forecasters are hedging their bets, but more often than not this pattern of opposites is quite accurate. First we’ll get sunshine, then a burst of rain, followed by sunshine and perhaps a bit of drizzle (or heavy-downward-dew as we prefer to call it in the office).
I don’t intend to invest in a super computer; I think you’ll find that when the cows’ tails are facing west, there will be rain on the way (not that the weather will be at its best, as the old adage indicates)… And that we should expect a storm if we see seagulls perched on the ground… Unless it’s in the centre of the racecourse, which probably just means that somebody has spilt their popcorn.
So, what will the weather be like over the Bank Holiday weekend? According to the Met Office we could have some sunshine or possibly some showers. My favourite forecaster (for now) is the Norwegian based YRNO, who predict a predominately dry day on Saturday (sunny spells during the races) with a completely dry and sunny Bank Holiday Monday. There is one forecast that says it won’t rain for the next 360 days, although it turns out that this is for a place called Ica, in Peru, where they receive a total of 2.3mm of rain per annum. If they have a racecourse there, I expect the going is very firm indeed.
Back at Cartmel we get a lot of calls about the going. Notably from Jimmy Moffatt, who lives little more than half a mile from the track and who has probably walked it more times than I have in the last three days. I’m forecasting that he will have at least one winner over the weekend; maybe Altruism who showed a bit of class when taking the Maiden Hurdle at the Cartmel July meeting.
There are no seagulls here today, but the sheep in the field opposite are running towards the gate. I think that means we’re going to have a sunny weekend; it might be that their owner has just arrived with some food, or perhaps they’re heading for the bookies to back one of Jimmy’s…

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