The year of 2020 was warmer and wetter than usual with a dry spring that coincided with the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Met Éireann’s annual review reveals that, after an exceptionally wet and windy February, high pressure began to dominate in mid-March and stayed until the beginning of June.
April and May were very dry, sunny and warm months with drought conditions in many places.
June began similarly and the highest temperature of the year, 27.1 degrees, was recorded at Newport, Co Mayo on June 1st.
Unfortunately, the start of summer coincided with a change in the weather patterns. June and July were wetter and cooler than normal. August was also wet, but warm. An active jet stream in the final third of the month brought two named storms, Storm Ellen on August 19th and 20th, and Storm Francis on August 24th and 25th.
The first two-thirds of September were warm with high pressure to the south in control.
The rest of the year saw average weather patterns, although December was wetter than normal.
With the exception of the weather stations at Dublin Airport and the Phoenix Park, all weather stations had a wetter year than normal. Clairemorris in Co Mayo recorded 1,638mm of rain (136 per cent of the long-term average), its highest on record, albeit records go back only 15 years.
Annual rainfall totals were as much as 2,051.7mm (128 per cent of the long-term average) at Newport, Co Mayo. The number of very wet days ranged from 17 days at Phoenix Park in Dublin to 68 days at Newport, Co Mayo.
It was the wettest year since 2009 at both Valentia Observatory, Co Kerry and Sherkin Island, Co Cork. It was the wettest year of the past five years at 18 other stations.
Nearly all mean air temperatures were above their long-term average (LTA). Deviations from mean air temperature for the year ranged from -0.1 degrees at Markree, Co Sligo and Dublin Airport respectively to 0.7 degrees at Phoenix Park, Co Dublin.
The year's lowest temperatures were recorded on January 19th. The lowest air minimum was reported at Mullingar, Co Westmeath with a temperature of -6.1 degrees and the lowest grass minimum was reported at Oak Park, Co Carlow with -10.7 degrees. Neither were exceptional for annual minimum temperatures.