Clouds and cold dominate March weather


IT was the wettest of months. It was the driest of months. Malin Head, in Co Donegal, had its lowest rainfall level in March since records began in 1955, while Cork had its highest rainfall in the past 15 years, according to Met Eireann.

The settled weather of late February continued into the start of March, which was generally dry with light, northerly winds.

Winds from the South east in the second week brought wintry showers to southern and eastern counties. These turned to heavy rain and snow around mid month, accompanied by strong to gale force south easterly winds.

The amount of rainfall ranged from 27 per cent at Malin Head to 196 per cent at Cork Airport. During a five day period in mid month in Cork, 143mm of rain fell - over 1 1/2 times what the area normally receives for the whole month. On the wettest day on record at Cork Airport, 52.5mm of rain fell. Malin Heads rainfall for the month was 19mm.

The month was also the coldest March for years, with temperatures half a degree below normal throughout the country. The cold, south-easterly winds which prevailed for most of the month kept maximum temperatures below 10.

The high level of cloud during the month kept night temperatures higher than normal, with several stations recording no air frost. The highest temperature of 14.5C was recorded at Valentia Observatory, Co Kerry, while Casement Aerodrome measured the lowest air temperature of -4C.

March was also the dullest on record at half the stations, with sunshine totals much lower than the previous month. Dublin had 39 hours of sunshine, compared to 102 hours in February. The start and middle of the month were generally dull, with sunny skies emerging in the last few days.

Rosslare, Co Wexford, had the sunniest day of the month, with over 10 hours of sunshine on March 30th. The amount of normal sunshine ranged from 35 per cent at Dublin Airport, to 64 per cent at Malin Head.