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December was the coldest in 28 years

LAST month was the coldest December in three decades.

However, it was also the sunniest December recorded for some time, while some weather stations also measured record rainfall levels.

Anyone reading last month's weather summary from Met Eireann would have to be forgiven for believing that we are simply getting more weather than we ever did before.

But above all, December 2009 will be remembered for its enduring spell of freezing cold days, treacherously frosty nights and enduring patches of ice and melting snow which continue to keep many of us indoors.

Met Eireann last night confirmed that last month was the coldest month for 28 years for most of the country.

Many stations only escaped ground frost on four to nine days, compared with the normal range for December of between 13 and 17 such frosts.

The severe frosts were reflected in the temperatures recorded in late December, with Mullingar's air and ground temperatures dropping to -10.0°C and -13.0°C respectively on December 25, the lowest recorded level for the month since 1950.

Yet just over two weeks earlier, the mercury at Dublin Airport had been measured some 26°C higher at 13.1°C.


Sunshine totals were above normal throughout the month, with most stations having their sunniest December since 2001.

Cork Airport recorded 81 hours of sunshine last month, compared to 45 hours at Malin Head.

But while some areas enjoyed the cold winter sunshine, others were besieged with falls of rain, sleet or snow, from Christmas Day to New Year, resulting in flooding in places.

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Casement Aerodrome recorded its highest daily rainfall during the month of December in 25 years on December 30.

Most stations recorded between 10 and 17 wet days during the month (days with 1mm or more rainfall), but there were more than 20 wet days in the west and southwest. Annual rainfall totals were well above normal for the second successive year. Exceptionally heavy rainfall brought extensive flooding during late summer.

Despite very cold weather at the end of the year, mean annual air temperatures were just half a degree off normal and close to those of 2008, but Valentia Observatory had its coolest year since 2002, while it was the coolest since 1996 at Cork Airport.

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