Thursday 25 April 2019

Beauty follows ‘Beast’: Temperatures poles apart as Ireland basks in 17C, 12 months after big freeze

Keeping cool: One year ago a brave Liam Mulcahy took a dip at the Forty Foot, Sandycove, Dublin. Photo: Collins
Keeping cool: One year ago a brave Liam Mulcahy took a dip at the Forty Foot, Sandycove, Dublin. Photo: Collins
It was a warmer experience for another bather yesterday. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

What a difference a year makes.

As the country basks in the hottest February in nearly 60 years, today marks the first anniversary of the arrival of the infamous 'Beast from the East'.

One year to this day, supermarket shelves had been cleared of bread and milk as we braced ourselves for the Arctic blast that brought snow up to a metre deep and a cold snap of -10C.

"It is very exceptional. It's not normal," Met Éireann's Evelyn Cusack said at the time as a mass of black clouds made their way across the Irish Sea.

There was an unusual calm in the hours before the freak storm hit, but the Government made no attempts to downplay the seriousness of its potential destruction.

"Our message is very clear - this storm is coming. Do not be out there," they warned.

Weather change: It was freezing at the Forty Foot, Dublin this time last year. Photo: Collins
Weather change: It was freezing at the Forty Foot, Dublin this time last year. Photo: Collins
It was a good deal balmier yesterday. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Not since 1982 has the country been struck with such force.

Met Éireann's Status Red warning brought Ireland to a standstill, schools were closed, electricity lines were downed, aircraft were grounded and there was a spike in injuries and illnesses.

But while the country impatiently waited for the 'Beast from the East' to release its sub-zero grip and for bread deliveries to resume, few people could imagine that a year later we would be sharing similar temperatures to Athens and Rome.

According to Met Éireann, this week's mercury levels hit an almost record high of 17.4C in the Midlands.

It's the hottest February since 1960 - the only time it was warmer was over 100 years ago when 18.1C was recorded in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

And on Valentia Island in Co Kerry, highs of 17.2C were recorded, which is a new record for the 151-year-old weather station.

"It really is amazing," forecaster John Eagleton told the Irish Independent.

"Next week we'll be back to normal temperatures, but it's truly remarkable how warm it is compared to last year.

"The reason for this unseasonable weather is due to a high pressure over the continent and warm air coming up from the south.

"Temperatures won't be as high [today] and there will be a bit more cloud, but it'll still be very pleasant out," he added.

Sunseekers are now being urged to make the most of this unseasonable heat as the forecaster said it will gradually become more unsettled and cooler as the week progresses.

It will be business as usual for early March with Saturday expected to see gale-force winds, squally showers and hail. The early days of next week will see unsettled weather and night frosts.

Irish Independent

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