Almost three years ago I wrote an article for this Blog on the subject of the Jet Stream. (See link below.) In fact there are several jet streams. For an explanation as to their nature, read the Wikipedia description.
Suffice to say, they are powerful, fast-moving, relatively narrow bands of wind that hurtle around the earth between 23,000 and 52,000 feet above the surface, varying in height, according to where they are. The jet stream that most influences weather in the UK is the Polar Jet, and this year, as in 2009, it has settled into a more southerly rotation than is normal; this allows and encourages a series of depressions to pass over the UK. In so doing they shed loads of rainwater, causing havoc with flooding. Strong winds and rain devastate crops, even uprooting trees.
These conditions are not conducive to encouraging cruising sailors to be out on the water, especially those who have tiny boats like my 14’ ‘C’ Type West Wight Potter. I have been making plans for trialling her over a period of two to three days, but the latest forecast gives little prospect of settled weather. I am not a masochist, and therefore I would not choose to venture forth, even on the semi-protected water of the River Crouch.
As I wait for the weather to improve, I take solace in the fact that there is no pressing need to get out on the water. I am retired and I can bide my time. I can be patient while enjoying what my garden has to offer - not that I am a gardener, but my wife tends it. She has transformed the space over a period of many years from being a sterile, functional play area for our children who are now grownup and have their own offspring, into a mini Paradise where the most wonderful flowers, shrubs and trees thrive. Although the garden is no longer geared to football, cricket or tennis, our grandchildren are not denied access, nor are they restricted from playing ball games. If they inadvertently damage plants, shrubs or trees during play, so what? - Far better to hear cheerful voices. There will be no chastisement for innocent play, only joy and fun.
Jet Stream Forecast