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Dublin: 16 °C Sunday 22 September, 2019
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Met Éireann has been crunching the numbers on our 'highly abnormal' December

Gerald Fleming called it “unprecedented in terms of our memory and records”. And here are the stats to prove it…

MET ÉIREANN’S GERALD Fleming told us yesterday how December’s weather was “highly abnormal” – and today, the weather service released the stats to prove it.

“Many of our stations got more rainfall in December than we would expect to get in the whole winter,” Fleming said.

It’s unprecedented in terms of our memory and records – which in some cases go as far back as 100 years.

9/12/2015. Flooding Athlone. A Red Cross team arri Flooding in Athlone in the wake of Storm Desmond. Source: Eamonn Farrell

Double or Triple Rainfall

December rainfall was double or triple the normal amount in nearly all areas.

According to Met Éireann’s December summary, wettest conditions – compared to the long-term average (LTA) – were in Co Cork, where nearly all stations recorded rainfall over 300% above their normal monthly amount. 

Roche’s Point, to the southeast of Cork City, reported the highest percentage of LTA rainfall at 342%. At 340.6mm of rain, the weather station reported its highest rainfall for December since 1955.

rp Source: Google Maps

The majority of stations reported their wettest December on record with the exception of some stations mainly in the East and West which reported wetter conditions in 1978 and 1999, respectively.

Malin Head in Donegal reported its wettest December since 1885 with 273mm (235% of LTA) while Valentia Observatory in Kerry reported its wettest December since 1934 with 339mm (206% of LTA).

The wettest days were mainly the 3rd, 5th and 12th. Stations in the West reported daily rainfall totals of around 50mm or more on 5 December as Storm Desmond hit.

11/12/2015 Air corps pictures over the shannon are The Shannon areas in the wake of Storm Desmond. Source: Rollingnews.ie

Warmest Temperatures in 160 years in Dublin

All mean temperatures for December were well above their long-term average – with differences above average ranging from 1.4 degrees at Markree in Sligo (where a monthly average of 7.1 degrees was recorded) to 3.6 degrees in Dublin’s Phoenix Park (where the weather station recorded a monthly mean of 9 degrees).

The Phoenix Park station in Dublin reported its warmest December since records began at the site in 1855.

Valentia Observatory in Kerry equalled its highest temperature since 1893 with 10 degrees (2.3 degrees above the LTA).

The majority of stations reported it as their warmest on record with the exception of a few isolated stations located in the North, Midlands, West and South.

Temperatures dropped towards the end of the month, but even so the lowest minimums reported at Valentia and at Shannon Airport – 3.7 degrees and 2.2 degrees respectively – were the highest for December in over 70 years.

The three winter storms: Desmond, Eva and Frank

Over half of weather stations reported their highest monthly wind speeds in six to 28 years. Valentia Observatory and Shannon Airport both reporting their windiest December in 41 years with monthly mean wind speeds of 14.8 knots (27.4 km/h) and 13.3 knots (24.6 km/h), respectively.

Storm force winds were reported on four days in December – during Storm Desmond (4th and 5th), Storm Eva (23rd), and Storm Frank (29th and 30th).

The month’s highest gust was 73 knots (135 km/h) at Belmullet on the 23rd, its highest December gust since 2002.

The highest 10-minute wind speed was 55 knots (102 km/h) at Sherkin Island, Co Cork on the 30th.

Cork’s Dullest December in a Quarter of a Century

Monthly sunshine totals ranged from 19.7 hours at Belmullet, Co Mayo to 48.4 hours at Dublin Airport – its dullest December in 10 years.

The highest daily sunshine was 5.5 hours, reported at Shannon Airport on the 21st.

Cork Airport reported a monthly total of 24.3 hours, its dullest December since 1991 and its fourth dullest in over 50 years. The number of dull days (days with less than 30 minutes of sun) ranged from 15 at Dublin and Shannon Airports to 23 at Cork Airport.

shutterstock_302000777 Source: Shutterstock/Kurmyshov

More: EU to Ireland: We’re not stopping you from dredging

Also: There’s even more rain on the way as crisis meeting held on flooding

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