January was the coldest in Dublin for more than 45 years


LAST MONTH was the coldest January for more than 45 years in Dublin and for at least 25 years across the State, Met Éireann’s monthly weather report has revealed.

The first 10 days of January were the chilliest of the month and with the second half of December formed part of “the most extreme cold spell over Ireland since early 1963”.

Maximum and minimum air temperatures during this 10 days was on average 6 degrees below normal with daytime sub-zero temperatures in many areas.

The lowest air temperature was -12.4 degrees at Casement Aerodrome, Dublin.

This was the lowest temperature recorded there in any month for over three decades.

Ground frosts, which is when the ground temperature falls below zero, were double the normal range with between 22 and 28 frosts in most places.

There was snowfall every day for the first two weeks of the year but it was most widespread between January 9th and 12th. Snow depths reached 20cm at Knock airport in mid-January and the airport had to close a number of times due to the weather.

The Arctic weather caused significant disruption to transport with extremely hazardous conditions for motorists and pedestrians, a shortage of rock salt and the closure of airports. It also resulted in the closure of all schools and severe water shortages.

A large area of high pressure was behind the unusually cold conditions. This high pressure moved easterly from the northwest and directed a bitterly cold northeasterly airflow across the country, Met Éireann said. At the end of the month, relatively high pressure brought mostly dry weather with light winds.

The freezing first 10 days was followed by heavy falls of sleet and rain. When combined with melting snow, this caused flooding in southern parts of the country.

Valentia Observatory in Co Kerry recorded the highest January rainfall on record with 58.5mm on January 12th.

Temperatures for the rest of the month were close to normal and were some 2 to 3 degrees below average.

The highest air temperature of 12.1 degrees was recorded at Valentia on the 15th. However, Valentia also recorded its coldest January since 1985 with an average temperature of 4.9 degrees.

Despite the extreme weather conditions early in the month it was overall dry and sunny with higher than normal sunshine hours and below normal rainfall.

Several stations recorded rainfall at less than half of the normal January level.

Shannon airport had its driest January since 1963 with an average fall of 31mm.

Sunshine in the south and west was well above average. Cork airport had 117 hours of sunshine, which is the highest January total on record in the State.

January 30th was the sunniest January day in more than 20 years with eight hours of sun at Dublin airport.