Sunshine masks coldest day of the year as seasons change
YESTERDAY may have been the first day of spring but it was also the coldest day of the year so far.
The day produced the lowest daytime highs so far this year, hovering at between 3C to 5C, according to Met Eireann meteorologist John Eagleton.
The cold snap ended one of the warmest Januarys in a decade. Last night was also expected to be the coldest night of the year to date, dipping down to -5C or even -6C.
But thanks to dry air, plenty of sunshine and the absence of wind, it didn't feel as cold as it actually was, Mr Eagleton said.
"It's not a bad day at all. It's very cold, but dry," he said.
Meanwhile, with sub-zero temperatures overnight and single-digit figures forecast for today, Age Action is urging the public to keep an eye on their older neighbours.
"Winter is a challenging time for some older people and it is important that everyone plays their part to ensure that those who are frail or house-bound remain safe and well," Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said.
Severe frost and possible sleet and icy road conditions today will make roads treacherous for motorists and pedestrians.
"We are reminding people to call in on their older neighbours to ensure they have enough fuel and basics such as milk and bread," Mr Timmins said.
"Older people can play their part by keeping in telephone contact with each other and with their family and neighbours."
He added that older people should ensure that the main rooms they were occupying should be kept at 21C, and 18C for other rooms.
They should also ensure that they dress in layers, remain active, have at least one hot meal a day and sip hot drinks regularly.
Meanwhile, Met Eireann reported one of the warmest yet dullest Januarys in recent memory.
Weather stations in the southwest enjoyed the biggest above-average temperatures since 2002, while others in the midlands and west were the warmest since 2007.
January was also relatively frost-free, with most weather stations recording just four frosty mornings.
The highest temperature of 13.1C was recorded at Shannon Airport on January 3.
But while we enjoyed relatively balmy temperatures, rain was never far away. Rainfall was above average almost everywhere, except for stations in the south, where Roche's Point in Co Cork and Johnstown Castle in Co Wexford got about two-thirds of their average.
The amount of sunshine was below normal almost everywhere, while Valentia in Co Kerry reported the least amount of sunshine there in 29 years with just 21.9 hours of sunshine the entire month.