January 'coldest month in decades'
Temperatures in Ireland were an average of 6 degrees below normal in the first 10 days of last month, Met Éireann said today.
In a monthly weather summary, Met Éireann said it was the coldest January generally since 1985 and the coldest in the Dublin area since 1963.
Last month's lowest temperature of -12.4 degrees was recorded at Casement Aerodrome on January 8th.
Forecasters recorded average temperatures 3 degrees below normal, while both maximum and minimum values were 6 degrees below normal in the first 10 days.
The number of ground frosts were double what they usually are, between 22 and 28 in most places, while rainfall was below normal in most places with less than half the usual amount recorded in some areas.
However, Valentia observatory in Co Kerry was hit with its biggest-ever downpour on January 12th, when 58.5 mm of rain fell. This amount was almost twice Shannon Airport’s monthly total of just 30mm, which was its lowest for January since 1963.
Despite the snow and freezing temperatures, Ireland received more sunshine than normal for January, particularly in the south and west. There were record levels of more than 100 hours recorded at both Valentia and Cork Airport.
Met Éireann said the unusually cold conditions last month were due to a large area of high pressure centred off the northwest, which later moved eastward, directing a bitterly cold northeasterly airflow across the country.
The cold snap eased in the middle of the month but was replaced by rising temperatures and an Atlantic airflow bringing heavy rain, which combined with melting snow, caused flooding in southern areas.
The end of the month saw a calm, cold spell centre over the country.
Met Éireann said the beginning of February will see showers in the south west and north, with temperatures of up to 8 degrees.