Wednesday 13 November 2019

January blues no myth with dullest month for 50 years

Grainne Cunningham

CRACK open the bottles of vitamin D and turn on the lamps because the entire population needs a dose of sunlight.

No, you did not imagine it, the month of January was miserable, wet and dull, with more rain and less sunshine than usual, the Met Office has confirmed.

Some parts of the country endured the bleakest January in almost half a century, with below-average levels of sunshine recorded at weather stations nationwide.

And all that sunshine deprivation and cloud is not good for us – we need the rays to maintain our vitamin count and to ward off the form of depression known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

But sightings of that fiercely burning star have been few and far between since Christmas.

Dublin was particularly drab, according to Met Eireann's station at Casement Aerodrome, with less than 25 hours of sunshine during the entire month – making it the capital's dullest January since 1964.

In the west of Ireland, Knock braved its dullest January for 16 years.

Most parts of the country also experienced more rainfall than normal for the time of year, with the exception of pockets of the north-west and the midlands.

Dublin was again among the worst-hit areas, with incessant downpours making it the capital's rainiest January – based on the number of days it rained – since 1980 and its wettest in five years, based on the amount of rainfall.

It rained 26 out of the 31 days in Kerry while Claremorris in Mayo had to put up with nearly double its average rainfall for January.

Weather stations in the midlands and the west also reported the wettest January in five years.

Severe

But at least we escaped the heavy falls of snow and floods that afflicted our nearest neighbour.

Seamus Walsh of Met Eireann said there were a "few very cold days" in the middle of the month but while severe weather threatened, it didn't materialise.

Forecaster Deirdre Lowe promised a cold and frosty start to the weekend, with the possibility of some rare sunshine in places.

She warned drivers to be vigilant this morning as there is a risk of ice on roads, particularly in high-lying areas.

Today is expected to be cold, but will probably not feel too icy, as winds are expected to drop.

Irish Independent

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