Sunday, 2 October 2011

Beautiful late summer

A shame I haven’t illustrated this post with some photos. An egregious error…

The summer of 2011 did not pamper Poland with beautiful weather. It wasn’t actually cold, as average temperature of July was around long-term average and August was slightly warmer than average, but both months gave a rough ride to holidaymakers as both were much wetter than normally. For me, as I didn’t go on holiday, it was great – I was exempted from duty of watering the garden, plus the water bill was lower.

But September did a good job and made up for wet and moderately warm summer months. It was much drier and sunnier and even the typical September’s nuisance – big daily temperature amplitudes weren’t as bothersome as usually. In a word – weather was perfect.

Average temperature: +15.1C – 3 degrees warmer than last year, 0.4 degrees cooler than in 2009 and some 1.5 above long-term average.

Month-time high: 5 September, +26.5C

Month-time low: 17 September, +2.7C (I don’t recall it…)

The warmest day: 12 September – average temperature of +19.4C (typical for July)

The coolest day: 17 September – average temperature of +11.1C.

Two more facts bear out that this September was pleasantly warm: firstly on no single day I had to wear more than two layers of clothing in the morning, I always could do with a shirt and a jacket and quite often got sweat on my way to work (too hot in the underground trains) and this year until today we haven’t turned the heating on. In 2008, 2009 and 2010 we were forced to do it respectively on 16 September, 1 October and 29 September.

Two first days of October also brought a whiff of warm air, yet it wasn’t as warm as forecasters had predicted – yesterday day-time high hit +21C, in line with meteorologists’ forecasts, today it was no warmer than +16C, two degrees colder than what weather forecasts had said. Over the whole weekend the gloss of the sunshine was taken off by northerly winds and one had to find shelter to bask in the sun. Actually despite some chill the weather’s been up to the mark. I mown my lawn today in the afternoon and then cycled in a T-shirt only and during both activities I broke sweat it means it wasn’t cool. The bike ride was perfect, but again, shame on me, I didn’t take the camera and couldn’t take pictures of all the stuff I was taking delight in. But comes another warm and sunny Saturday or Sunday, shall I go there again and snap, snap, snap…

Such warmth is not really unusual for this time of year. On 8 October 2009 temperature in Poland’s capital hit +24C and Poland’s October heat record of +28.6C was set on 14 October 1966. The coming two days should be warmer, with temperatures in Warsaw up to +22C and sunshine (how lovely), then Wednesday is going to be cooler, Thursday again warmer, and true Autumn is predicted to hit on Friday and stay over the election weekend. Weather in the second decade of October is rather unforeseeable, I saw forecasts of both dull days with temperatures between +10C and +15C, as well as return of gold autumn with temperatures up to +20C. Hope the latter proves true. The later gloomy autumn comes, the longer will people be able to save on heating (how practical).

I hope the coming winter will be milder than two previous ones. Long-term forecasts, hardly ever reliable, say winter will come early and go early as well. The current predictions for the coming months are as follows:

October: chilly and windy, what anyway means is will be warmer than in 2010, the worst will be the last decade, when temperatures will be often dropping below +5C.

November: cold and wet, the author of the forecasts adds “just like last year”. Doesn’t she / he remember the beautiful warm and sunny long weekend in mid-November 2010?

December: frosty and dry, with white Christmas. This to some extent resembles December 2010. I’m alright with white Christmas. Afterwards the winter may go to Russia.

January: frosty, dry, with changeable weather.

February: should bring above-average temperatures and early spring.

March: spring in overdrive.

I personally hope the forecast proves true for February and March, the rest doesn’t fill me with optimism. I would prefer a warm winter for three reasons:
1. the aforementioned heating bill,
2. I’ll keeping the car outside the warm garage for the first time. I have to replace the battery, and with a new one I shouldn’t be afraid of temperatures above –20C as long as the car will be used every day and the battery will be charged up, but heavy snowfalls accompanied by low temperatures can play havoc with the battery and other sensitive elements of the car. But wait, so many people keep their cars in open air, so maybe I’m seeking out problems. But on the other hand I saw so many people having troubles with their cars kept in open air in winter…
3. I wish the builders of roads for Euro 2012: Niech im zima lekką będzie. If the weather allows them to press on with works, then there will be a chance that roads will be completed by the end of 2012 (the odds that they’ll be passable in June 2012 are negligibly low).

When trying to predict weather for the winter on my own, I tried to find correlation between politics, economy and weather. Take a look:

2005/2006 – winter is harsh and snowy. Polish economy enters the period of boom, power is wielded by Kaczynski brothers (some say it is a punishment for voting for PiS).

2006/2007 – until 24 January there is no snow, heat records are beaten in mid-January, then ensues a short, yet typical winter that ends for good in the last week of February. Polish economy still grows rapidly, Poles are sick of twin brothers wielding power.

2007/2008 – the warmest winter of the last decade. Snow lingers for less than ten days, on the coldest day the temperature drops to mere –14C. Polish economy is still doing well, but the power is taken over by PO.

2008/2009 – typical Polish winter, with frosts hitting –22C in Warsaw, periods of thaw and snowstorms. Nothing new in politics, but Poland is hit by world-wide economic crisis. Funnily enough, Warsaw is paralysed by a snowstorm exactly the day bear market on Warsaw stock exchange and zloty against other currencies hit their troughs.

2009/2010 – harsh and snowy winter. PO still wields power, economy is rebounding. When stock markets go up in the second half of January, Poland suffers in the fetters of winter. When in first week of February winter eases off, bringing sunshine and temperatures slightly above zero, stock market in Warsaw plummets by 4% for two days in a row.

2010/2011 – cold and snowy December, normal January, cold, but dry February. PO is still ruling, yet the party is falling into pieces, economy still grows, albeit the peak of the business cycle is near.

To recap, I couldn’t observe any significant correlation. If you see any linkages, feel free to share them with other readers and me.

And regardless of what future holds, expect another Winter timeline in March 2012.

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