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Wednesday 1 March 2017

Bucketing trend with wettest July in 60 years

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

IT all seemed promising enough when we got a bit of sunshine in May and June. But the recent glut of rain has ensured it was the wettest July in 60 years in some parts of the country.

In a depressingly familiar trend, the sun proved elusive, the rain rolled in with abandon and continental heatwaves stubbornly refused to head our way.

According to Met Eireann's monthly weather summary for July, the only saving grace was that it was preceded by a run of dry months, thereby sparing us the devastating floods seen in previous years.

Soggiest

Rainfall totals for July were above normal everywhere and were more than twice the average at some weather stations.

Meterologists said it was the fourth successive July when rainfall totals were far in excess of normal over most of Ireland.

Claremorris in Co Mayo earned the unenviable title of the wettest place in the country, recording 199mm -- or over half a foot of rain -- making it the soggiest July the area has seen since records began 60 years ago.

And almost a quarter of the total rainfall for Claremorris for the month fell on just one day, July 10, the highest daily fall on record for July.

To add insult to injury, the Co Mayo town also recorded the coldest air temperature of the month at just over six degrees on July 23.

Continuing Mayo's string of bad luck, Belmullet recorded 140mm of rain for the month equalling the previous rainfall record which was set in 1988.

This was largely thanks to a series of thunderstorms during the middle of the month.

Around the country, most stations recorded between 15 and 21 "wet days" -- days with more than 1mm of rainfall. The normal monthly average is between nine and 13.

Thunderstorms led to the formation of several funnel clouds -- tornados that don't reach ground level -- at Adare in Co Limerick on July 12 and at Bettystown in Co Meath on July 21.

With rain clouds clogging the skies, sunshine was in short supply and July proved to be the first relatively dull month.

Valentia Observatory in Co Kerry recorded only 85 hours of sunshine for the month making it one of the dullest Julys the area has seen since records began over a century ago.

Sunshine

Meanwhile Dublin Airport saw the highest monthly total of sunshine with 143 hours, but even this was a poor showing and was its dullest July for seven years.

Cloudy conditions and a lack of sun conspired to ensure the country didn't get to bask in the scorching heat seen on the Continent. Mean maximum temperatures were close to normal for July while mean minimum values were slightly higher than average.

The hottest place in the country was Oak Park in Co Carlow where the thermometer peaked at 24.2 degrees on July 26, while Shannon Airport saw the highest mean monthly temperature of 16.1 degrees.

Irish Independent

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