| 12.3°C Dublin

More Iceland than Ireland during coldest March

MUCH of the country shivered through the coldest March on record, with temperatures on a par with those in Russia and Iceland.

Dublin Airport reported the coldest mean temperatures since 1942. At a mere 3.1C, it was the same maximum daytime average as Reykjavik, Iceland.

Most other weather stations were an average of 3C below normal, according to Met Eireann.

Claremorris in Co Mayo and Mullingar, Co Westmeath also broke records for the coldest March since 1950, while other stations in the south and southwest had the coldest March temperatures in more than 50 years.

Markree in Co Sligo recorded a frigid -7.6C on March 12, which was even colder than Russia's average daily temperature of -5C over the same period.

Athenry in Co Galway was the only notable exception, basking in a balmy 14.3C on March 8, before the cold easterly wind pattern was established.

Not only were the temperatures bitterly cold both day and night, March also broke records for the highest winds in five years at many stations.

Worst affected was Malin Head, off Co Donegal, which endured gale-force winds for 12 days, with winds reaching 113kmh on March 22.

Many areas also reported their wettest March in up to seven years.

Dublin's Phoenix Park had close to double its normal rainfall, the most since March 2008. Cork Airport also recorded its wettest March since 1996.

However, some areas in the West, including Shannon Airport in Co Clare and Newport in Co Mayo, experienced their driest March in more than 50 years. It was also duller than normal, with Dublin, especially, getting just 60pc of its average sunshine – the lowest in 17 years.

Met Eireann meteorologist Jim O'Brien said the bitter cold – especially in the second half of the month – was largely due to easterly winds trapping cold air from the Arctic and Scandinavia over the country.

Rainfall

"The upper-air weather patterns maintained an easterly air flow over much of northern Europe and sea temperatures were also way below normal," he told the Irish Independent.

The bad news is that the same biting easterly winds will prevail over the next few days, bringing even more below-average temperatures for the remainder of the week.

Today will be mostly dry and sunny everywhere, but the mercury will only rise to between 6C and 10C. And it will drop down to sub-zero or near zero overnight.

Temperatures will slowly climb by a degree or so tomorrow, with daytime highs of 7C to 10C and it will be generally dry and bright, with sunny spells that will persist on Friday in most areas.

However, there is a risk of showers near coastal areas on Friday and some of the showers could turn wintry again overnight on higher ground, where snow still persists in some areas.

We should return to more seasonal conditions by the end of the week, added Mr O'Brien. The normal daytime highs for early April range between 9C and 12C.

Irish Independent