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Sunday 17 December 2017

Autumn a walk in the park as we enjoy driest November in years

The garda mounted unit in the Phoenix Park, Dublin
The garda mounted unit in the Phoenix Park, Dublin

Alan O'Keeffe

IRELAND enjoyed its driest autumn in years while some parts of Dublin had the driest November in almost 70 years.

Met Eireann's report for the three months of autumn – which ended on Saturday night – showed that rainfall was lower than average almost everywhere in Ireland.

Most weather stations reported their driest autumn in the past six years, while in Belmullet it was the driest in 20 years.

Also, the wettest days of the season in 2013 were not as bad as the wettest in other recent years. In fact, the wettest day in Belmullet – on September 4 – saw just 13.8 mm of rainfall. This was the lowest autumn figure for the wettest day in the area in 57 years.

It was also a comparatively warm season with air temperatures on, or above, their long-term averages everywhere. The south-east and west had mean temperatures as much as 0.7C above average.

The warmest autumn days were recorded between September 21 and 23. The warmest place was at Oak Park in Co Carlow where the temperature soared to 23.9C on September 21.

However, the coldest place this autumn was Gurteen in Tipperary where temperatures fell to -5.7C on November 22.

While autumn sunshine was below average, some places enjoyed exceptionally sunny individual days, with Cork Airport enjoying its sunniest autumn day in 37 years on September 3 with more than 12 hours of sunshine.

Horticulturists said tree lovers enjoyed a particularly colourful autumn this year as the leaves on many trees were redder in colour than in several previous years. Prolonged periods of sunshine and cool nights meant that there was enough sugar produced in the leaves that could then be converted into a red pigment, known as anthocyanin.

And the lack of stormy weather or strong winds meant yellow and reddish leaves remained on trees for longer this year.

November was also a comparatively dry month with rainfall below average in most places. The Phoenix Park in Dublin had its driest November since 1945 with only 27pc of its average November rainfall.

Irish Independent

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