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Here comes the rain again: it's wetter and warmer than ever


A motorist stranded in flood water near Ennereilly, Co Wicklow, this time last year as the country dealt with extensive flooding Photo: Garry O'Neill

A motorist stranded in flood water near Ennereilly, Co Wicklow, this time last year as the country dealt with extensive flooding Photo: Garry O'Neill

A motorist stranded in flood water near Ennereilly, Co Wicklow, this time last year as the country dealt with extensive flooding Photo: Garry O'Neill

Record rainfall and milder temperatures defined 2016's weather, with events ranging from dramatic storms to a nondescript summer.

Between December 2015 and February 2016, more than half of Ireland's weather stations reported their wettest winter on record.

It was the wettest winter on record for 74 years at both Dublin Airport and Johnstown Castle in Co Wexford (with rainfall totals of 371.6mm and 514.6mm respectively).

Meanwhile, Malin Head in Co Donegal reported its wettest winter since 1885 with a seasonal accumulation of 567.3mm. Early 2016 also had its fair share of storms, with the arrival of Gertrude on January 29, Henry on February 1 and Imogen on February 7.

Storm Imogen brought the season's highest gusts to Sherkin Island in Co Cork, where wind speeds reached 135km per hour on February 8.

But there was some brief respite from bad weather at Cork Airport, which reported its sunniest winter day in 12 years on February 24, with 9.7 hours of sunshine.

After a mild winter, temperatures were much cooler than in the springs of 2013 and 2015.

Belmullet in Co Mayo felt the warmest spring temperatures, with a peak of 25.4C on May 9.

Meanwhile, the lowest spring air temperature of -5.1C was recorded in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, on March 18.

Stations in the Dublin area had their driest spring in five years, with seasonal totals of around 150 to 170mm.

Spring's wettest day was recorded on April 10 at Cork Airport with 44.1mm, its wettest spring day at the station since 1996.

Spring's sunniest day was on May 29, when Malin Head recorded 15.6 hours. A couple of days later, Dublin Airport experienced its sunniest day in 31 years.

But wind still proved fierce as Storm Jake hit Ireland on March 2.

The storm recorded the season's highest gust of 133km per hour and the highest 10-minute sustained mean wind speed of 98km per hour at Mace Head Co Galway.

The gusts were the highest at the station for the time of year since 2007.

Warm conditions continued into the summer, with most areas warmer than their long-term average (LTA).

Mount Dillon in Co Roscommon recorded 30.4C on July 19, the highest temperature of the season. It was also the station's warmest summer temperature in six years.

Meanwhile, highest summer maxima in 10 and 11 years were also reported at this time at Dublin Airport and Claremorris in Co Mayo respectively, with temperatures of 26.3C and 28.9C.

The lowest air minimum last summer was at Dublin Airport on July 3 with 2.5C, while the lowest grass minimum was reported at Mount Dillon on the same date with -1.9C, its lowest since 2010.

There was also ground frost recorded on the days of June 1 and June 3.

But the rain continued to fall heavily between June and August, with Sherkin Island recording its wettest summer day in 18 years with 57mm falling on August 1.

However, Oak Park in Carlow also recorded its driest summer in nine years, with a rainfall total of 137.7mm.

But summer 2016's sunshine levels were far lower than those reported in spring.

Knock Airport in Co Mayo had its dullest summer since the station opened, with just 285.3 hours of sunshine recorded over the summer months.

Meanwhile, Dublin Airport reported a seasonal total of 408.5 hours - its dullest summer since 1987.

Summer's highest number of sunshine hours in a day was at Malin Head on June 2, with 15.8 hours.

Rain eased throughout autumn, with around half of the country's weather stations seeing their driest autumn conditions in eight to 13 years.

Nearly a quarter of Valentia Observatory's seasonal total fell on just one day, when heavy rainfall afflicted the south-west on October 3. The station recorded 105.5mm. It was the station's wettest October day in 77 years. The highest temperatures at stations for autumn were all reported during September 5, 14 and 27.

Dublin's Phoenix Park had an autumn high of 26C on September 5, its warmest temperature for both September and autumn since 1961.

Dublin Airport's highest maximum of 25.1C on the same date was the highest for autumn in 74 years.

The season's lowest air and grass minimum were both reported at Markree in Co Sligo on November 25 with -7.3C and -9.6C respectively.

Autumn's highest daily sunshine was at Malin Head with 10.5 hours on September 13.

Lowest temperatures were all reported during the last few days of November.

Irish Independent