Daffodils are blooming all over the country in the unseasonally warm weather this December. Weather forecasters say it’s the warmest December in nearly 70 years, with temperatures widely in the mid-teens – about 10°C above the seasonal average and more like what we’re used to in May.
Tropical air from the Azores blowing in from the south-west is behind the warm air, along with the El Nino weather phenomenon which happens when the waters of the Pacific become exceptionally warm, distort weather patterns around the world.
The warmth has confused plants and made them bloom months early. Daffodils have been in full flower from Cornwall to Chester, strawberries have been producing a second flush of blossom and camellia and holly trees are flowering months ahead of schedule.
The warmth could be bad news, though, for animals trying to hibernate and also for blackcurrant, garlic and apple growers: along with strawberries and rhubarb they need a long spell of chilling to produce good crops next year, ideally below 7°C day and night for three weeks.
Forecasters believe the weather is likely to stay stormy but mild well into January – though with air pressure rising from the middle of the month temperatures could still plunge us into a long overdue winter.