I’m sitting here looking out at blustery autumn winds, in advance of the first of the season’s storms – the remnant of ex-Hurricane Katia, which is due to sweep by north-western Ireland on Sunday night and into Monday. Current indications are that it won’t impact all that much for people further south, but Donegal and Mayo are in for something fairly impressive. That could all change over the next 36 hours, though.
In the meantime, looking forward to winter, there are several predictions about, and all of them seem to be for a cold winter and possibly an early onset. There are news stories being circulated about snow as early as October, although I’ll believe that when I see it.
The forecasts from the people I’d consider more reliable are not out yet, and won’t be until October. However, if you’re a believer in old-fashioned weather signs, here are two: the crops of berries this year (particularly on hawthorns) have been very, very heavy, and migratory birds have started to move earlier than usual. Both of these are traditionally held to be signs of a tough winter to follow. Now, I’m not convinced – I think that this behaviour has a lot more to do with weather during the spring and summer of this year than anything coming down the line. But the last two hard winters have also been preceded by lots of berries, haws, and so on.
It’s certainly worth getting hold of winter tyres, making sure you have access to a snow shovel, and checking out what kind of situation your water pipes are in. We’ve discovered that ours are considerably closer to the surface than we expected, so that’s going to have to be dug up and reburied deeper before winter sets in properly.
My next point of interest, really, is the first frost, because that’ll be the point at which I need to start changing the garden over to a winter mode. I’m guessing, now, that that will be in mid-October, and we’ll see how accurate my prediction is.