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Saturday 25 March 2017

Icy winds of March coldest in 23 years

Shane Hickey

IT was indeed a March of many weathers.

New figures show last month was the coldest March in years in some areas -- but it also had the highest levels of sunshine since the 1950s in others.

After the weather over the past week when icy Atlantic winds swept across a number of counties, it will come as little surprise to many that it was the bitterest March since 1987, according to data gathered at two observatories.

Met Eireann's monthly summary shows a dry and clear start gave way to milder but more unsettled conditions over the second half of the month.

Earlier this week, 25,000 households around the border and midlands were without power; while motorists in Derry had to be dug from their cars by members of the PSNI after heavy snowstorms hit.

Overall, temperatures struggled to reach double figures in many areas while there were a number of days of frost when ground temperatures fell below -10 degrees Celsius.

There was also little rainfall at the start of the month -- with none in parts of the east until March 16 -- but heavy downpours came at the end.

The results analysed by Met Eireann are from 13 weather stations around the country.

Misery

While there was misery in parts of the country at the end of the month, there were rays of light during March as well.

Sunshine totals were above normal everywhere, especially in the south and west. Measurements from Valentia observatory show 159 hours of sunshine -- the highest for March since 1955. "By far the sunniest period of the month was between the seventh and the tenth, when daily values of more than 10 hours were widely recorded," the report said.

Irish Independent

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