A February of two halves as rain gave way to sun
FEBRUARY may have felt like the sodden country was awash with water but surprisingly the latest figures reveal rainfall was below average.
It proved a month of two halves – with nearly all wet days falling in the first part of the month, according to weather forecasters.
An in-depth monthly analysis from Met Eireann found rainfall was below average everywhere, while stations in the west and south only recorded around 50pc of their long-term average rainfall.
"Nearly all wet days occurred during the first half of the month, with few wet days thereafter," a forecaster explained.
The highest level of rainfall descended on February 10 – with Finner, close to the border of Donegal, recording the highest daily rainfall of 22.5mm.
The east and midlands escaped the worst of the early February rainfall, where they recorded between six and 16 wet days. There was a definite chill in the air, with temperatures below average.
The highest maximum temperature of 11.1C at Sherkin Island, off the Cork coast, on February 13 was still its lowest for the month in 22 years.
In Mayo, Belmullet reported its sunniest February since records began 56 years ago, with 118 hours of sunshine. Award-winning landscape gardener Gary Hanaphy said the last two weeks had proved "good gardening weather".
However, he cautioned the spell of overnight frost and some sleet last weekend might set growth back by "a week or 10 days".
"We are coming into the season more now. The buds are coming on the trees," the gardener, who is in the midst of opening up his third landscape centre with Zoom Gardens in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, said. "It seems to be heating up. The grass is beginning to grow again and there is new green lush growth coming on.
"The dry weather for the last few weeks allows the ground to harden up and gives everything a change to grow."